Don't Pray For Me

If I had a nickel for every time a Christian asked me, rather pointedly, “What do your parents think of what you do?” Sometimes it’s even a sarcastic, “I bet your parents are so proud of you!”

Perhaps this email exchange will answer the question of how my parents feel about my chosen lot in life. My father participates in the forum of our local newspaper back in Smalltownville, Arkansas. One of the people he frequently locks horns with sent him the following email.

John,

FYI (I’m afraid I’ll forget to tell you later on!), “An Evening of Shakespeare” will be April 20-21, 2012 at Harding. Was there this weekend for their fabulous Homecoming Musical, “Annie”. All through the years their drama and music departments have presented Broadway quality productions and they didn’t disappoint this time either! One of my college classmates has been the Dept. Head for Drama for decades.

I’m praying that you’ll be safe tonight. Our Father cares about you, whether you ignore or spurn Him or not. I care too.

Here is my father’s response:

Glad to hear the show was good and will keep Shakespeare in mind.

Please do not pray for me. I have no interest in help from a god that is too busy to help the the millions of starving, poor, and suffering people in much worse shape than I. Also, there is no “our father” and I’ll not pretend that there is. If you think you have an invisible father, work out….but there is no invisible “our” father. The only father I have died several years ago.

I suspect that was clear enough. If he had told her he would rub his lucky rabbit’s foot for her, she would have been insulted. She knows damned good and well he’s an atheist, but would be shocked that he would be equally insulted.

I hope this adequately spells out how my parents feel about my activism and vocation. My parents are damn proud of me and I’m damn proud of myself. There is no shame in rooting out bullshit and challenging it without remorse, nor should there be. I regret tearing down religion as much as I regret volunteering at a soup kitchen, i.e. zero. I enjoy making the world a better place.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Carol Eberhard

    I have the greatest men in my life…:)

    • Tara

      True story!

      Granted, I am jealous of JT for having super awesomely supportive non-religious parents like you both :)

      Thank you so loving and supporting your son 100% (and feel free to adopt the rest of us :D )

  • http://twitter.com/mowgli3 Sarah

    Speaking of which, we should go volunteer at a soup kitchen sometime soon!

  • http://mid-west-atheist.blogspot.com/ Volizden

    SO how do your parents REALLY feel about you being an Atheist activist… Your post was vague

    ROFLMAO

    See you at Skepticon Bro… Kris and the girls as always say hello

  • Drakk

    What was the last part even for? It sounds like it was just some preachy little extra added on to an actually useful message. Any context?

    • Brownian

      What was the last part even for? It sounds like it was just some preachy little extra added on to an actually useful message. Any context?

      Have you met publicly pious people? The preachy extra is the message. It reads, “I think I’m better than you.”

      I worked with a Mormon girl. Every anecdote she told had the same theme: “You sinners wish you could withstand temptation as well as I can, with to my superior belief system and upbringing.” Once you understood that (and stopped worrying whether or not any particular story was 100% true), she could be quite entertaining. And buried deep down inside was an almost kind person.

      • Drakk

        No I haven’t met those kinds of people outside of an actual religious setting (I’m not from/living in the US, might be part of the reason why).

        Mostly I was wondering if JT’s dad was actually doing something with an element of risk on that particular day.

  • Ariel

    If he had told her he would rub his lucky rabbit’s foot for her, she would have been insulted. She knows damned good and well he’s an atheist, but would be shocked that he would be equally insulted.

    Personally I don’t mind other people rubbing their lucky rabitt’s foot for me. I mean – I find it stupid, but not insulting. And if they tell me about this too often, I may find them boring or irritating, but not insulting either. My impression is that there are people in the world who just tend to get offended very easily. Perhaps being offended feels nice? I won’t dare to speculate on this :-) Anyway, some atheists could really shake hands with believers here: it’s extremely easy to hurt their feelings. A very (over?)sensitive bunch, indeed!

  • H.D.Lynn

    You have an awesome dad. Everyone with religious parents (me!) are a bit jealous.

    • http://willisweb.com CoderHead

      Me too!

  • Irreverend Bastard

    Whatever body parts people rub when they think of me, I don’t really want to know.

    • Brownian

      Try suggesting some, using pantomime to demonstrate proper technique. Sure it feels silly at first, but in the long run it’s better than gritting your teeth over being rubbed the wrong way.

  • Mark

    Parents will have a huge influence on what you believe.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X