Monday, June 9, 2008

A Typical Assumption

Why do religious people assume that all people pray? I myself am offended by this. It is arrogant to think that all people are just like you. One shouldn’t assume anything about another person.

From Dear Prudence: Advice on manners and morals:

Dear Prudie,
I have been an atheist for the last several years, ever since losing my (Christian) faith following a close friend's untimely death. Recently, my boss's mother told me about a serious and risky surgery that her other child would soon have. After I said to her, "I'll keep him in my thoughts," she responded, "Oh, would you please pray for him?" I said yes, and she began talking about her belief in the power of prayer, a belief I once would have shared. At the time, I wanted to comfort her in any way that I could, so I agreed with what she said. Also, it hardly would have been appropriate to launch into a "Why I'm an Atheist" speech. Later, though, I felt very uncomfortable with the fact that I'd lied and acted as if I shared her beliefs. Is this kind of thing a no-win situation?

—Not a Believer

Dear Not,
Maybe when you said you would keep your boss's brother in your thoughts, you were telling a white lie because you didn't intend to really think about him again. I agree, people should not be shanghaied into professing beliefs they don't have, and there are times that if you feel pressured to do so, you simply have to say, "I'm sorry I don't share your point of view." Additionally, when someone says they'll keep an ailing person in their thoughts, instead of their prayers, it should be a tip-off that they don't do prayers. But in this case, by going along you've simply tried to console a woman in distress. You're right: If you had responded to her request with, "I'm sorry, but I don't pray," she would have felt worse, and by causing unnecessary awkwardness, so would you.


0 comments - Post a comment :

Post a Comment