In the "Dear Abby" column today Abby answers a question that is similar to one posted here about how to respond to those who say they will pray for you when they know you are dealing with illness or a serious problem.  She states as part of her advice "And most people battling a serious illness welcome a "blast of positivity," whether it is couched in religious terms or not." I strongly disagree as it's just so frustrating to have to deal with that remark on top of other things. 

Just wanted to point this out in case others have better things to do with their time than to read the comics and advice column which I seem to find time for most days.

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Interesting discussion on 'The Friendly Atheist' regarding same topic. One of the posters suggested that a person in this situation should ask "What's your prayer batting average?". Another response was "Oh no! You think I am not going to survive!"

I find the 'I'll pray for you' comment extremely annoying, even rude, and I strongly suspect that they don't actually pray for you, it's just a 'thing' they say, so that we will all know how 'godly' they are.

Michael- can you post a link to that discussion.  I have tried that site but have trouble getting around in it and can't find out how to "follow".  Thanks.

Hi Ceil, I am trying to find it, I am a bit of a Luddite, I'll post link when (if?) I can find it again.


embarrassed, not a Luddite, merely confused, saw it on another thread on this site....D'oh

I saw the Dear Abby article as well.  I think what "Abby" ignores in her response is the tendency toward condescension too prevalent in believers when they are dealing with atheists.  To say, "I'll pray for you" is to say that that person will do Nothing Of Consequence, which is why in another discussion one of my responses was the suggestion of giving blood, as that would actually DO SOMETHING POSITIVE.

The other thing Abby isn't allowing for is the fact that our numbers are increasing, that we're no longer an insignificant minority to be tolerated but a growing bloc whose point of view deserves consideration and respect.  Abby may not know that now.  She IS liable to learn it soon.

I don't think so. We are an insignificant minority. Even Obama's campaign adviser said that the Dems do not view us as a constituency. Of atheists, agnostics, and don't cares that amounts to about 20%, or a little less than half the people Mitt Romney didn't care about.

My petition is about to drop dead January 10. It has sixty signatures, mostly from high IQ groups and friends, but very few people I don't know by name (such as folk here).

If atheists won't even stand up and demand to be treated fairly, why should anyone else? Atheists do not deserve to be treated equally if they only bitch to each other in little closed circles like this and Atheist Forums and never publicly speak. Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are good speakers, but they are only two. The rest of us have to stand up too.

If the wording of the petition is what the problem was, others could start a new one. No cost. Yet no one signs. I am guessing it is still "the atheists should stay out of politics" thing. That's why we get what we get. Defense bills that demand we accommodate the religious bigotry of others in the military. Snubs and tales of how we are evil. If we will not stand up, we deserve it. "First they came for the communists, and I did not speak up because I wasn't a communist . . ." This is even worse. "First they came for the atheists, and I did not speak up because I am an atheist."

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Okay, so I just discovered this site a little while ago (few months maybe) and am not yet a frequent visitor but I have no idea what you're talking about when you say you have a petition.  Where is it located?  Is there some way you can email all the membership to ask them to join?

It is located on the White House petition Website. It cannot even become visible for searching until it reaches 150 signatures, and President Obama says he will address any petition that reaches 25,000.

The petition is located at:

Found it.  I guess your problem with getting signatures is that people have to sign up on the site and give the GOV their email addresses and zip codes in order to have their voices heard.  I can see why many (but not so many) might object to this.  However, if we don't say who we are...

On the other hand, once I signed up at the site and went through the list of open petitions, there are some really odd ones there and I think some of the worst ones, in my opinion, are the ones with a lot of signatures.  Going through the list of "open" petitions, I did not find yours, however. But I did find it at the place where you link it above. 

A petition will not show up in the search feature of the site until it gets 150 signatures. Thus you have to either have lots of friends in person or social media to get it to show up.

There aren't even 150 people in town here. And I am not on social media besides this and another atheist site, and a couple mail lists.

One can create a throw-away E-mail account, or use a false Zip code. This is not the same as a formal petition (which requires your actual name and physical address) to be counted.

When my mom was dying, people at work repeatedly told me they were praying for her and for me.  I felt this was intrusive, aggressive, and insensitive.  It's hard maintaining a mutually supportive work environment while going through the stress and effort of caring for a dying parent, plus the anticipatory and ongoing grief, plus trying to meet work standards and performance goals.  The "I'm praying for you" was another burden - I sucked it up, said thank you, and did my best to change the subject.  Some christians were very aggressive trying to get me to pray with them.  It made me feel isolated and added to the burden.  Some Christians feel like their sanctimonious meddling is a form of nurturing.  It's not, it's proselytization.  All I really wanted was for them to leave me alone and let me escape into my work.  Instead, I had to politely listen to their delusional busy body mumbo jumbo.

I don't have much use for advice columns, I thought Abby was dead.  Maybe I should pray for her.  

Had the same problem when my mom was dying.  Didn't have the strength to deal with it then.  Now, as I age, I find myself less and less understanding of those who want to pray for me, for good weather for the church carnival, etc.

I read the advice columns for the same reason that I watch both MSNBC and FOX news.  I like to know what's "out there" in terms of what others are thinking.  The advice columns can sometimes be informative and bring up provocative issues, not usually however.  Mostly they're just amusing.




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