Okay, I’m going to discuss a “hot button topic” that many people kind of freak out about. This is a post from personal experience and my own perspective. Take it as you will, learn from it if you can, or just feel as though it is a personal affront on your character if that is how you feel. That isn’t the intent, it is merely to give others another perspective to see from.
I am an atheist. As an atheist, I’ve experienced both a lot of love and a lot of hate from different sides of many religious spectrums. I even once dated a Mormon who, surprisingly enough was very polite and respectful. Then there are those who are less pleasant and try to instill fear of death, famine, and the utter destruction of my perpetual soul for all eternity in a land of damnation. The thought process by which one believes telling another such things would result in the affirmative, instead of the negative… I never will quite understand. The very absurdity of it is so profound that I would be surprised if I heard anyone truly converting from atheism or being agnostic to becoming a religious follower. Most people will frequently say either quite loudly, or in hushed tones, “I’ll pray for you to see the light, so that your soul may be saved.” I understand it is said with adoration, love, and good intent but it comes off as very patronizing. I know not all atheists are as polite as I am about my lack of belief, but then, not everyone wants to make others see the fault in such beliefs. You see, we as humans have the right and ability to choose whether to believe in God or not, and to what degree and which denomination to follow.
In most cases when someone says they will pray for an atheist, their family, or over a situation they are going through, I tend to try and politely thank them but inside, it is offensive to varying degrees. Considering my openness about my lack of religious or Godly following, I would think one would have the courtesy to not say things along those lines. Yes, it is commonly questioned why something of such good intent would be seen as offensive, and many say that one who does not believe should not be offended by that of which they don’t feel exists. Well just as someone insulting anothers mother with false tales of debauchery would be found insulting, so is promoting ones religious affiliation to one who isn’t aligned with faith. It would be like an atheist telling a person of Jewish or Christian faith that there is no God. Out of respect for those who I am friends with, I don’t tango with the debate of whether or not God exists. They have their experiences that, in their mind, proves God exists for them. Who am I to challenge their belief, their interactions, to call them a liar for what they have been through? It would be wrong, and those who believe have their reasons for believing. I have my own reasons for not.
I know not all people of religious faith are as mentioned above, and for you who are considerate and accepting and quietly pray without saying so, we atheists thank you. We know we can’t stop you from praying, after all it is what Jesus and God asks of his disciples. We do however appreciate the extended courtesy of not having, as has been aptly put many times, “Our eternally damned souls” rubbed with salt.