It’s all very peculiar. A 74 year old had a stroke and Christians prayed for him, mostly for his recovery. That happens every week in churches and with many individuals. Some have rightly commented that praying is something Christians simply do. With a recent tragedy near us, I have prayed arrow prayers and have not asked permission. Be warned I have prayed for others without permission!!
What is important is HOW you pray. Some Christians are very offensive indeed, – like a house group in one of the parishes I worked in praying for my conversion. (The vicar approved.)
Today in church I used the Good Friday intercessions from Times and Seasons for the Church of England. (I know it is not Good Friday but the particular intercessions are so good, they are worth using frequently.)
One intercession begins;
Let us pray for those who do not believe in the gospel of Christ
And another ;
Let us pray for all who suffer
Now one could pray for Dawkins under both heads, but publically naming him in the former is offensive. I would hope that Dawkins is being prayed for in New College, Oxford chapel. It is a matter of compassion and respect. Sadly some headstrong Christians lack both. I think the blog included below says much the same thing.
The blog is also right to say some atheists are simply offensive to anyone of faith, as I once found when I re-blogged an excellent article by one of the more extreme of atheist intellectuals. After two days of abuse because of my faith I simply deleted it. Like fundamentalists they forget that more bees are caught with honey. (Maybe they ARE fundamentalists and have the same mind-set.)
I know some atheists and atheist friends will read this, and some of the latter often disagree with me – at times robustly – but there is mutual respect and acceptance. That is necessary in a diverse, but not divisive, society.
I will be interested to see the comeback, but meanwhile please read the blog below.
Following reports of Richard Dawkins’ minor stoke this past Friday, the Church of England promptly tweeted a call for church goers to pray for Dawkins:
According to an article in The Guardian, several of Dawkins’ followers promptly accused the church of “trolling”. (“Trolling” involves making online posts that are intentionally offensive in order to anger and alienate others.)
Ironically, the only trolls in this story are the very individuals who are levelling the charge. The Church of England regularly tweets requests for prayers for people in need. (Note to militant secularists: asking for prayer is one of the many ways that Christians express care and concern for others, just in case you didn’t know.) To suggest that this tweet in particular was in fact a mean spirited jab at Dawkins is perverse in the extreme.
Sadly, I’m not surprised that a well meaning tweet is being twisted. After all, many of Dawkins’ new atheist followers are notoriously hostile toward all folks of religious faith. When you are used to mocking and belittling others, it is natural to interpret the kind well wishes of the very people you mock and belittle as passive-aggressive gestures to respond in kind until even a prayer of concern and well wishes becomes something ugly and nefarious.
One might hope that those very individuals who are so preconditioned to interpret everything pertaining to religious faith in such a negative manner might use this as an occasion to re-examine their own irrational and emotionally driven biases.
Yes, one might hope…