"Can you do me a favor? I just want you to pray about it."

The conversation takes place between me and someone I've been friends with for the past 5 years. We were discussing some issues that I've been dealing with that have been difficult. She's a Christian, (like the majority of my friends). I know she loves me and cares about me, and she's always been there for me when I needed her but things got a bit unnerving for me when she wrote " Can you do me a favor?" I knew it was coming. "I just want you to pray about it" Here's how the conversation went from there:

Friend

can you do me a favor?

Me

depending on what it is lol

Friend

I just want you to pray about it

Me

I don't believe in prayer anymore Tabby

sorry

Friend

thats why i said can you do me a favor

Friend

Can you please just pray about it?

it wont hurt you will it?

Me

but I don't see the point

It would feel to me like talking to myself

Friend

just try it

Me

I've tried to since deconverting

and it didn't feel the same

Me

I'm starting to feel bad

I know you just want what's the best for me

but that's just not where I am anymore

Friend

you're starting to feel bad about what?

Me

Because I have a hard time being honest with my friends about hard times without them trying to convert me lol

and it makes me feel like no one

understands

like no one understands that I'm not a believer anymore

and that's not the way I look to solve my problems

Friend

so do u think im trying to convert u

???

Me

not convert me...lol...maybe that was too strong of a word

just trying to get me to do things I did as a believer

like pray, or read the bible or go to church

that's some of the advice I've been getting

Friend

I understand everything you're saying all i asked was for you to pray about it im not saying "girl you better get back in that word like you use to........"

Me

lol

I understand

Friend

To me praying is the easiest thing b/c whether or not u feel like your just talking out loud to yourself God hears you, that's y i said just prayer about it b/c if u feel like your talking to yourself then its no harm no foul and that therapy talking out loud about your problems

but i ask as a favor to just try it

Friend

its probably hard for your friends to understand b/c you were this bible toting holyghost filled on fire for God person and then one day you said i dont do that anymore

it's just odd

Me

I understand

but it was a year long process before I said, "I don't do that anymore"

and it wasn't easy for me at first either

Friend

okay but u know i love you and am here if u need me anytime, and i will definitely keep you guys in my prayers

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We ended the conversation with her saying that she doesn't look at me differently, that I'm still her "sister" and that she still loves me. I appreciated that, but it's obvious that she does look at me somewhat differently. I'm finding it hard to be open and honest with people I truly love because of the religious "backlash" so to speak, that I get from them. I've always been the kind of person who is willing to show my flaws not just my strengths. It's what makes us human! But suddenly, I feel the need to be "superwoman" before my Christian friends in order to prove somehow that I'm doing just fine without their beliefs.

And I am! But that doesn't mean I don't have problems like everyone else. That doesn't mean I don't have weak moments, moments when I'm not sure if I'm strong enough, moments when I cry or feel anxious about the future. I find a way to cope without praying. I find a way to be encouraged without listening to a sermon. How should I deal with people like my friend who seem genuine but sometimes offer advise that I don't find useful? I don't want to riducle them, call their ideas stupid (or call them stupid) and make them out to be my enemies; nor do I want to try to get them to be freethinkers (they can believe whatever they want to believe!)...I encourage it, but only by asking them questions so that they get to the answers on their own like I did. I just want to find a way to still be open without being hurt in this way.

Views: 19

Tags: friend, pray, prayer

Comment by Gaytor on April 19, 2010 at 1:47pm
I found that I had to create a boundary, but one with small perforations. So if a friend were to ask me to do them a favor and pray to their god, I might say, "Sure, let's go do it at a Jehovah's Witness Church, or a Mosque..." or what have you to illustrate to them, what they are asking of you. The perforations for me come in the form of allowing others to be themselves. If my friends want to pray for me, have at it. Don't expect a thank you. If a stranger were to say it, I'd say, "No need, I don't even want your god."
Recently we had a family death. The person whom died was a non-believer. I did an Atheist service, but one person whom was a friend and a pastor got up and said that he believed through blinks that the person whom passed accepted Jesus. Many Atheists would be upset by this disrespect. But why let it bother you? Virtually every person in the room knew that it was BS, so at the end he only discredited himself and I came out looking like a bigger person for it. There is a pitfall in defending with great vigor what you believe. Picture how you view a Young Earth Creationist telling you about a 6000 year old Earth and remember that there are those whom would view you the same way, right or wrong. So pick your battle points with your friends and feel comfortable in letting a point go. That's one of the flaws that we have as a group, too many of us are battle ready at any given point. Being right doesn't have to be the long term goal, and you'll keep friends that way. But know the location of a Mormon Church next time so that you can invite her there to pray with you. You won't hear that from her again. Good luck!
Comment by Skycomet the Fallen Angel on April 19, 2010 at 1:59pm
Sorry Shanika, but I don't think there is a way to be an open atheist without being hurt... that is if you have theist friends and family. I understand what you're going through... I'm going through it myself. An old friend recently "showed her concern" about me. Apparently she thinks I'm unhappy because I post a little atheist stuff on facebook. My parents think this too... which is why they think I need some more "therapy" or something. Understand that your friends and family are doing this out of love. Yet, also understand that theists are impervious to logic so that they will NEVER understand your atheism, unless they WANT to. I have one friend - an "agnostic" [I think... she's confusing about what she says she believes in] - who is understanding. But everyone else is falling for the usual stereotypes about atheism.

Just hang in there.
Comment by Shanika on April 19, 2010 at 2:23pm
Yeah I agree. I pick my battles. Some things I just ignore, but it does hurt sometimes. I don't know if it's that I want them to understand my atheism or to just to understand that there are other ways to find strength than to do so through religion. But as Meghan said, theists are impervious to logic when it comes to religion. I'm sure if I had converted to another religion, they'd find a way of being more understanding or more "tolerant". I'm sure that then my Christian friends would certainly refrain from telling me to do them a favor by praying to their god, just as they would find it odd for a Muslim to tell them to pray to Allah.
Comment by Daley on April 19, 2010 at 2:28pm
Any conversation like this is some attempt for a 'believer' to reiterate their beliefs to you and find a chink in your armor to pull you back into it, start something or use you for some kind of "good deed of the day". If you said to your friend, "Do me a favor and don't pray this month. It's just a favor. I still love you" your friend would not agree to it and probably take offense of some sort. You might as well beg a vegetarian to eat a pork sandwich. It's disrespectful and manipulative.

I've had someone ask me to pray for them or their situation and what I say is something like, "I hope things get better for you, but I don't believe in things like that, thanks". If anyone tries to pressure you, they are trying to control you. Any respectable person would thank you for your kind thoughts and not try to get you to do some kind of ritualistic time waster like praying.
Comment by Shanika on April 19, 2010 at 2:49pm
Yes! It is manipulative! You hit the nail on the head Daley. That's what I think was upsetting to me. The manipulation. It's like being preyed upon in your weakest moment...or should I say "prayed" upon...lol
Comment by Beautiful Black Atheist... on April 19, 2010 at 2:55pm
Shanika, u aleeady know how entrenched and entangled the black comm is in regards to church and any other superstition. I think perhaps bcuz I'm naturally a no-nonsense type of person people tread carefully when speaking to me. Lol. I'm fortunate, that those whom I considered my bffs in church are still my friends lol every 1 of them said SO, I still love u lol My fam r a diff story. I told my 18y/o son my position and his eyes watered...bcuz he believes I'm going to hell lol. Then he said..well ma it was nice knowing-so I guess we better spend as much time together as possible...and we laughed. I didn't go n2 a long winded speech about my decision 2b free, but whatever ???s he had/has, I answer. My bro called me yesterday and I told him I'm a secularist aka Atheist and he went n2 denial-which is what he does with any uncomfortable topic/issue. Moments later he said he was disappointed but he understands-he doesn't. The positive thing is-he's going 2 tell the fam so I don't have to...the caveat: my fam will not talk about it w/me. With every1 else...yes. Me...no.

Be yourself Shanika, and don't believe u have to act as other Atheists around you. Be urself as this is your journey. I'm not here to recruit or convince, but simply to enlighten. We are not devil worshipping, amoral people. We simply ask to be respected just as Xtians ask of others. Don't resort to name-calling or condeming us to hell out of frustration. Its OK to say ' I don't know mr/ms/mrs xtian'
We have a network of Atheists on Twitter...even other BLACK atheists...a rare find indeed ;)

Look me up and I'll provide you with the List of Atheists on Twitter...over 3k strong!
Add me: @briabria

Love u sis,
Bria ;)
Comment by caleb daniel on April 19, 2010 at 2:58pm
I think everyone on here can relate to this. The part that struck me was "I feel the need to be "superwoman" before my Christian friends in order to prove somehow that I'm doing just fine without their beliefs."

I have found myself sealing my mouth on many occasions. The Church is constantly preaching about how the "lost" are sad, miserable and depressed without christ. So, when I share my troubles all it does is reinforce what they have been taught.

The uplifting side to this is that you can live a more productive life from a secular viewpoint. When a loved on dies it can be more painful because we have no delusion of seeing them again. We truly say goodbye. A believer will never say goodbye. They cling to the dead. Concordantly they cling to all good and bad events in life as proof of gods existence.

The greatest thing you can do is to kindly remind them of the times they were in a similar position. It will slowly become obvious that god doesn't grant leniency for the believers. Nor, does he punish the unbelieving. Tragic and wondrous events will happen through out ones life. It doesn't matter what you believe. You're not held to a cosmic destiny that you have no control over.

This was a major turning point in my loss of faith. It was very difficult to reconcile the blessed lives of the wicked and the cursed lives of the just. Then I realized that there was no guiding hand. And in a lot of cases the faith the "just" held on to so strongly was the in reality the anchor that held them under a cursed thumb. And the "wicked" used religion to bless there own lives on the backs of the faithful.

I hope that you can find some solace on this site when you have problems. But there is nothing like the kind words of a friend even if it is tainted with evangelical self-worthiness.
Comment by Shanika on April 19, 2010 at 3:00pm
Aww..thanks so much Bria!
Comment by Shanika on April 19, 2010 at 3:04pm
Thanks Caleb. You're right. I told one of my friends once that suicide amongst God-believers is higher than it is among atheists. Obviously belief in God is not a cure-all.
Comment by Beautiful Black Atheist... on April 19, 2010 at 3:05pm
Ur very welcome...and PLEASE go to Utube and watch Thinking Atheist vids and subscribe...they are thoughtful, informative without being antagonistic! Make sure u subscribe...and no I am not being paid to say that lol

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