Can I Pray for You?

“Excuse me, can I pray for you?”

“Yeah, do what you like”!

There I was, on my way home earlier this evening, when a random stranger accosted me (and I responded), in the manner set-out above.

Some may interpret my reply as brusque, perhaps even rude. However I am blind and a guide dog user and my gut instinct screamed “this man is a religious zealot who believes that by praying for me he will, with god’s assistance, help me in regaining my eyesight”.

I don’t have a problem with religion. If religious belief gives a person a sense of wellbeing and (hopefully) makes them live a good life, then I am all in favour of religion.

I also believe that if religion helps believers to cope with the death of a loved one (due to their belief that the person who has passed away has gone to a better place), then I have no right to disabuse them of that conception, as to do so would be cruel.

Furthermore, as a child/teenager, I derived tremendous pleasure from the traditions associated with religion, including the singing of hymns and the sense of peace I gained from being in the school chapel.

I would describe myself as an agnostic (rather than an atheist), so have no anti-religion axe to grind.

No, what I object to is people (religious or otherwise) ramming their ideas down the throats of others.

Indeed I have experienced equal annoyance when being brow beaten by atheists who insist in disparaging people of religious belief.

If you don’t like religion you are, of course perfectly entitled to your point of view, but please don’t corner me in the pub and ram your dogma (which is equally as unpleasant as that of the religious zealot) down my throat as, quite frankly I wish to enjoy a quiet pint without being lectured by a saloon bar bore.

The above should not be taken as indicating an unwillingness on my part to engage in friendly debate on religion or, indeed any other subject. I enjoy discussion with open minded individuals.

What I object to is having a particular view rammed down my throat by those who are not prepared to listen to counter arguments.

I defend the right of people to hold inflexible views on religion or any other topic. However I also stand up for my absolute right not to be asailed by zealots, religious or otherwise.

3 thoughts on “Can I Pray for You?

  1. ellem63

    A good well-balanced point of view, Kevin. Yes, I agree, we’re all entitled to our own beliefs, whatever they may be, and if we’re content and happy with them then that is the most important thing. I expect the person who wanted to pray for you had the best of intentions, but it does seem patronising, considering your sight status. It implies that you can not be happy and feel whole unless your sight was fully restored, and I am sure that is not true.

    One thing that irritates me the most is when some Christians assume that someone who is not a Christian cannot possibly be happy. Speaking for myself, the most precious thing I have is my relationship with God, but I do accept that people from other faiths and non-faiths can be happy and feel complete too. Arrogance is an ugly thing and I try to avoid it.

    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      Many thanks for your thoughtful and balanced comment.
      I have no doubt that you are correct, and the person who spoke to me in the street had the best of intentions. However, as you rightly discern, I found his attitude patronising which helps to explain my somewhat irascible response.
      You are the kind of person it would be a pleasure to debate with, as you are open-minded and are prepared to listen to the views of others. A Muslim acquaintance has my admiration as she does inter-faith work with Christians and Jews and is open to genuine debate, which is how it should be.
      Thanks again for your comment. Kevin

  2. ellem63

    Thank you, Kevin. I wasn’t always open-minded. I think it’s come about over time and different experiences, meeting the right people by chance and reading the works of others. I think God is working on me. 😀 I like the sound of your Muslim friend … there’s so much work to be done towards peace and acceptance of each other Good for her.


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