Pay to stop them praying?
Today I received through my letterbox a card from a church in Woodbridge offering to pray for me. That might seem a reasonable offer but as an atheist, I find the whole concept of prayer and worship distasteful and, frankly, ludicrous.
I am very happy for others to believe in what they want to believe in but I am not at all happy for them to force their views or irrational practices and rituals on others without invitation. I consider their card an unwarranted and certainly unwanted intrusion.
However, the extreme irritation it caused pales when compared with the announcement on the card that church members were going to visit my house and interrupt either my working day or our private time at home in the evening on some unspecified date next week.
The card added insult to irritation by asking that if I did not wish anybody to call, I should telephone the church to stop the visit.
In the words of the Catherine Tate character Derek Fay, “How very dare you?” They ask me to telephone them to stop them doing something that they will otherwise do, without my invitation or permission.
No I would not. That is absolutely unacceptable. I do not, ever, want believers to attempt to force their beliefs on me and then ask me to spend money to stop them doing it!
I might consider turning up at their church, uninvited, and explain to the gathered followers why I consider them to be brainwashed, weak-willed, pathetic people. Maybe they would be outraged. Perhaps they would “pray” for my “soul.” Either way, I think it would be an unreasonable way for me to act. And I see a very strong parallel with the way the church acted in sending these cards.