Do you want to pray for me ???

Answer to Quora: Atheists, what do you think of me when I pray for you?

How nice! To thank you, I also will pray for you, so that you believe that there are little green men on the Moon who will come and invite you to have a party with them in orbit in their flying saucer: because if you do not believe in it, they will not come.
More seriously: do you expect any thanks ??? Aren’t you aware of the unfairness of that strategy by which you might push them to feel ashamed of having any “bad heart” if they keep “resisting you”, so that it would put on their shoulders a sort of moral duty to give up all what they know and believe and just follow you, but all this for no decent reason at all, but your own foolish unilateral decision to give all your life and all your heart to the blind assumption that you are right, not giving any chance for another possibility to ever be “morally admissible” to you, regardless where the truth actually is ?

This attitude is very condescending, and therefore insulting. Among other problems, it assumes that you are saved while others not, just for completely arbitrary, nonsensical reasons : just because you happen to believe something while they happen to believe something else. It is such an awful nonsense to think any decent God would decide people’s salvation on such a ridiculous basis. Such a God would really not be worthy of worship.

Moreover, it is just an excuse for you to give yourself the illusion, the vanity feeling, that you are caring for someone and doing his good, while you are not doing any good in reality. You remain secure in your fantasy world, with the moral satisfaction of thinking you are “trying to help” with absolutely no need of caring to think and understand anything, taking any initiative that you would have any risk of having to regret later by observing harmful consequences. And in doing so you keep hypnotizing yourself on the belief that you are right and that your target is wrong, without any way for you to correct yourself in case you were completely worng, without ever exerting the minimal bit of human respect which would consist in listening to these people you pretend helping, understanding their life, and understanding whatever they may wish to explain to you, their reasons to think what they think.

Some questions on prayer

If God has a plan, what are Christians praying for ?

If you want to pray God to reveal Himself to me, are you interested that I will inform you later whether He did ? And if I will inform you that He still didn't, what will you think about it : will you be upset about having prayed in vain, will you blame God for having not answered your prayer, will you be shocked about this ? And now if I inform you that many other Christians already prayed such things in the past with no result, can you already be shocked and find your faith challenged by this testimony, or will you rather satisfy yourself to hold their past prayers for nothing and still be confident that yours will make a bigger difference ? If it turns out that despite your prayers God still does not save me and I am going to hell, will you care for me enough to come and replace me some time in hell if you can, or would you otherwise be satisfied with the case I go to hell and you to heaven anyway after your prayers ?

Would you like me to pray for you ? All right, for you I can pray God to not send you to hell in case He would be about to send you to hell in lack of my prayer. Can it be good for you ? I mean, do you fear the risk of going to hell if I don't ? If not, why ? Is it because you have a strong faith in Jesus that prevents you from such a risk ? But I also had a strong faith in Jesus myself in the past, and still you think I have a risk of going to hell, don't you ? How do you claim to differ ?

Interesting quotes from other answers in this Quora thread

Cody Reisdorf: "Maybe instead of praying for us atheists you could just pray to god directly and ask him to stop sending people to hell for no good reason? "

Hamish Joy : "there are specific contexts where this offer to pray is actually inappropriate. When we are in the middle of a serious argument on god (mostly initiated by them), and they reach a place where they run out of logic. When they want to be condescending and remind me of the hellfire I so deserve. When they simply want to project how they’re the favored subjects of a supreme being and they think they’re rubbing that in my face.
In those instances - yeah, offering to pray for me is just them being pricks. My standard response is usually “Fine. You pray for me. I’ll scratch my ass for you. We’ll both have affected the other exactly as much, but at least my itch will be gone.”"

Barry Blatt: "I'll firstly tell you not to bother and secondly privately think 'what a condescending twit' and maybe thirdly ask you to try and do something of more practical use instead if appropriate.
I don't regard it as being a sign of genuine concern for the person prayed for. If the prayer was genuinely concerned for the prayee they would do something more practically useful. Merely praying is a get out clause for lazy theists to enable themselves to feel charitable without actually making any effort, some especially benighted ones may even think that such behaviour impresses their deity and improves their own chances of getting into heaven. Actions are what count, not words."

John Williams: "Theist, what do you think of another theist praying for you?
For example, if you are a Christian, a Muslim praying for you not to go to hell.
For example, if you are a Muslim, a Christian praying for you not to go to hell."

Richard Nathan: "I wonder what kind of God you think you are praying to. Is your God so indecisive that your prayer could chance his mind? That would be like my asking my cat for legal advice."


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