Before on this blog I have spoken about religious sayings and generally how it does not bother me. In that post, I said the one thing that irritates me is when people say "I will pray for you", however in light of recent events I thought I should highlight that it is not always necessary to be a dick in these situations.
Recently, my father was diagnosed with Renal Cancer, at the time of publication of this post the operation to remove it will be over and we will know what the next step is. However, over the last few weeks I have had religious friends and colleagues say to me "I will pray for your father". Now does this irritate me internally? Yes, it does. But, I realize these people are saying this because they do not actually know what to say. Its as if we have a lack of words to express sympathy and concern, and so we go for the easy answer. In fact even as an atheist, who grew up using the Christians words of sympathy, when confronted with these situations I find it difficult to express my sympathy. Not because I am a heartless baby eater, but its not easy to express sympathy when you have been indoctrinated to say certain things. That is why I now take my time and clearly express my sympathy and concern in a realistic way. While my words may not be all magical and hopeful, they are real and sincere.
So just in case you are wondering, I will not be joining prayer circles although some family members will. But I also do not intend to be a dick and discredit someone who says they will pray for my father. After all, I believe their intentions are sincere and that indoctrination makes it easier to say this than something else when faced with troubling times.