I wonder what my family thinks when I say “You’re in my prayers” or “I’ll pray for you”. Normally that wouldn’t be something to wonder about. Normally people would take it for what it is – someone who cares requesting a favor from the God they believe in. But I’ve had quite a few of my relatives who (through some conversations and comments) made it clear they don’t think I believe in any God.
I do believe in a divine being, a creator. But I don’t believe the Bible is his work and this confuses a lot of my family. They think belief in God and belief in the Bible HAVE to go hand in hand. That really isn’t the case. I have a cousin whose son is very sick and has been since he was born. They have been working on getting him well enough to go home and on her latest update post she asked for even more prayer as they prepare to do more intense therapy. I told her I’d be praying extra hard.
I placed that on a post she put on social media and then it got me thinking. Many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins see those update posts. What do they think when they see my name attached to those words? Do they think I’m a hypocrite? Do they think I’m a liar (that I won’t really be praying)? Do they think my prayers won’t count because I’m not praying to “their” God?
Even my own brother-in-law can’t separate me (a person who believes there is a divine being who created all) from an atheist. I have a friend who is an atheist and I don’t give him a hard time about his belief in science and only that. I can still appreciate his point of view and talk with him openly about our differences of opinion. Why is it so hard for my Bible believing relatives to do the same with me? We’re not even on opposite sides.