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salad
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16 Apr 2021, 3:29 pm

There was a shooting in Indianapolis today, and like every other mass shooting there's always a veritable assortment of responses, ranging from calls for gun control, calls for more guns to counter the shooters, etc. Whichever opinion is correct I'm not going to say since the gun control debate is a massive can of worms I dont want to open up right now. What I will say though is there is one response, one simple yet cliche response that never ceases to piss me off, and it is when people try to act like thoughts and prayers are enough to fix a problem.

Look I understand that thoughts and prayers as a spiritual booster, morale rejuvenator, and shared communion of spiritual healing and solidarity is a great thing. That isn't the problem. What is the problem is during crises and problems when people act as if thoughts and prayers are actually doing anything more, and that acting like sitting down praying will solve anything. It doesnt. never has. never will.

Maybe im overreacting to a seemingly innocent phrase. For me I hate that phrase so much because during the hardest times in my life when I asked certain people to help me they thought giving me thoughts and prayers was help. It really isn't. its the lazy way of saying "I dont feel like helping, but let me pretend like im helping by doing nothing and giving off the pretense of help". which I find stupid

Thoughts?


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HeroOfHyrule
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16 Apr 2021, 3:37 pm

salad wrote:
Maybe im overreacting to a seemingly innocent phrase. For me I hate that phrase so much because during the hardest times in my life when I asked certain people to help me they thought giving me thoughts and prayers was help. It really isn't. its the lazy way of saying "I dont feel like helping, but let me pretend like im helping by doing nothing and giving off the pretense of help". which I find stupid

I don't like being given just "thoughts and prayers" if I am asking for advice, either. It is perfectly fine if someone doesn't know what advice to give, but I rather them say nothing at all or leave it at their condolences, than proceeding to insist I "pray on it" or insisting that them praying will actually make a change. I am not religious at all and prayers are nice to a hard limit. No amount of attempts to convince me I should be satisfied with prayer is helpful or will work on me if I don't even believe in a God. :|

I think it mainly irks me because the types who insist you have to settle with prayer are often the types that think people are wrong for not being religious, and are more than happy to tell people their problems are because they are "Godless".


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shlaifu
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16 Apr 2021, 7:51 pm

Thoughts and prayers is a phrase used when the problem is too complicated and you know whatever you say is going to piss of someone and you can't really take action because there's different interest groups and it's complicated and so on.

But especially the "prayers" bit is not innocent at all. Regarding victims of gun violence, this absolves the person from taking responsibility in any way, because of course, it's god's plan. They're in heaven now. Pray for them.

That allows you to stay passive while admitting that for no good reason other than gun advocates insisting guns are beneficial, a bunch of people are dead now and there's nothing you or anyone can do and the universe is empty and cold.
Prayers imply there's someone to hear them and take action.
Because it can't possibly be just absolutely meaningless, can ot?


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IsabellaLinton
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16 Apr 2021, 8:16 pm

When I offer thoughts and prayers to someone, I mean it. It's not a hollow sentiment. It means I'm actively thinking of the person and investing my emotional energy, which doesn't come easily for me with burnout, trauma, and alexithymia. Whether or not the other person believes in religion, I'm being honest to say that I'll pray for them. Whether it helps or doesn't help is irrelevant to me. I want the person to know that their situation matters to me, and I take it seriously.

When I say something like "Thoughts and prayers are with you" regarding a mass shooting in another country, I know that my thoughts and prayers won't ease their suffering. I don't even know the people. But I don't live in their country, I can't vote to change the laws, and I can't visit them in person to care for them. My "thoughts" might involve hundreds of hours reading the story, caring about the individual victims, or even donating to a charity or cause which could lend support. I talk about the issue with friends / family as well, as needed, to increase awareness of whatever the problem is. I also use my "thoughts" to inform my choices throughout life, so that I won't perpetuate any of the evil we see in the news.

I know it's frustrating that sometimes "thoughts" are all people can offer, but please realise it's often sincere and heartfelt from the people expressing such sentiments.



HeroOfHyrule
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16 Apr 2021, 8:35 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
When I offer thoughts and prayers to someone, I mean it. It's not a hollow sentiment. It means I'm actively thinking of the person and investing my emotional energy, which doesn't come easily for me with burnout, trauma, and alexithymia. Whether or not the other person believes in religion, I'm being honest to say that I'll pray for them. Whether it helps or doesn't help is irrelevant to me. I want the person to know that their situation matters to me, and I take it seriously.

When I say something like "Thoughts and prayers are with you" regarding a mass shooting in another country, I know that my thoughts and prayers won't ease their suffering. I don't even know the people. But I don't live in their country, I can't vote to change the laws, and I can't visit them in person to care for them. My "thoughts" might involve hundreds of hours reading the story, caring about the individual victims, or even donating to a charity or cause which could lend support. I talk about the issue with friends / family as well, as needed, to increase awareness of whatever the problem is. I also use my "thoughts" to inform my choices throughout life, so that I won't perpetuate any of the evil we see in the news.

I know it's frustrating that sometimes "thoughts" are all people can offer, but please realise it's often sincere and heartfelt from the people expressing such sentiments.

Even though I'm not religious I do appreciate when I see people offer "thoughts and prayers", just as long as they don't push the efficacy of those onto nonreligious people or turn it into trying to guilt other people into praying (I know you don't do that, but I've met people who do...)

I wanted to clarify that since I realized my response to this thread looks like I'm overall upset over getting "thoughts and prayers", even though genuine sentiments like that without an underlying agenda are nice.


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salad
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16 Apr 2021, 8:56 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
When I offer thoughts and prayers to someone, I mean it. It's not a hollow sentiment. It means I'm actively thinking of the person and investing my emotional energy, which doesn't come easily for me with burnout, trauma, and alexithymia. Whether or not the other person believes in religion, I'm being honest to say that I'll pray for them. Whether it helps or doesn't help is irrelevant to me. I want the person to know that their situation matters to me, and I take it seriously.

When I say something like "Thoughts and prayers are with you" regarding a mass shooting in another country, I know that my thoughts and prayers won't ease their suffering. I don't even know the people. But I don't live in their country, I can't vote to change the laws, and I can't visit them in person to care for them. My "thoughts" might involve hundreds of hours reading the story, caring about the individual victims, or even donating to a charity or cause which could lend support. I talk about the issue with friends / family as well, as needed, to increase awareness of whatever the problem is. I also use my "thoughts" to inform my choices throughout life, so that I won't perpetuate any of the evil we see in the news.

I know it's frustrating that sometimes "thoughts" are all people can offer, but please realise it's often sincere and heartfelt from the people expressing such sentiments.


Isabella, you're the total antithesis of what I spent my time ranting against because you're a sincere and genuinely great human being who I know has a heart that is wide and empathetic, and who genuinely has love and compassion for mankind. You're the last person this thread was addressed to.

The people I address this to are the virtue signalers and lazy politicians, as well as those who dont actually want meaningful reform to come because they're afraid of how it will affect them selfishly, who work hard to impede progress or are content with complacency in the place of meaningful and productive activity because they'd rather signal their fake care rather than put their money where their mouth is.

Your thoughts and prayers are always meaningful and valid because it comes straight from the heart. Others though offer it as a way to deflect from actual measures and sometimes even to virtue signal, which I know you'd never do


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IsabellaLinton
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16 Apr 2021, 9:06 pm

Wow - thanks, salad. That's incredibly sweet of you to say.

If you're referring to politicians and pundits, I wholeheartedly agree that most of them are paying lip service to systemic issues in exchange for their job or reputation. It does seem to be virtue signalling at best, or a sign of incompetence at worst. That's one reason I avoid the media and try to focus on my own little world.

Thanks again, and hugs. :heart: I know you were speaking from a place of goodness, and not to anyone here.