Before I set out to write this article, I found another that spoke of this issue. However, my reason for getting upset over this seemingly harmless, if not helpful, phrase is not one of the reasons listed in the other article.
Before I begin, let's talk about my religious background for a moment. I was born and raised as a conservative Jew. I even had a brief stint where I became more religious. The fact that I wear a hat almost everywhere now is a testament to that part of my life. Things seem pretty normal so far right? Will stick with me a bit longer.
The more I read the Torah, the less comforting it became to me. I began wondering whether God was lying when it said it was good. After all, my experience with kindhearted people has been that they are usually if not always tricking you. Why should God, the being that made us be any different? What really got me was the idea of God being all-powerful alongside the philosophical dilemma of the problem of evil.
However, the final straw for me was the election of Donald Trump. I noticed how striking it was that the more religious an individual was, the more likely they voted for this man. And as I looked around at what types were supporting him, that was what finally ended my faith in God.
I no longer see God as this all loving being. Instead, he or it is a creature of hate that sees us as either food or playthings. I do not feel safe praying to such a being. Instead of knowing God, it makes me look over my shoulder wondering if that dark shadow is following me.
The problem of evil is very easily solved when one becomes a Maltheist. For those unfamiliar with this religious belief, it is the sum of what I just described. The idea that God is out to get us. That this powerful cosmic entity can torment whenever it wants is how I see it. The reason that bad things happen to good people is that God itself is evil. The more I looked into this idea, the fact that Christians, Jews, and Muslims pray to the same God and yet cannot get along makes a lot more sense. A Maltheist would say that the Torah, Quran, and Christian Bible are contradictory with the express purpose of causing chaos and destruction.
Now that what I believe is out in the open, I want to bring up the other article again. Written from the point of view of an atheist, the other article talks about how some people don't believe in God at all. Thus the point of that piece was pointing out that to a person who does not have religious faith, the gesture is empty.
However, to a Maltheist such as myself, thoughts and prayers take on a much darker meaning. While the article written by the Atheist tries its best to be all-encompassing, it fails to address the fact that there are three not two categories of people. The arguments that there are many religions that have many Gods is valid. Equally viable is the argument that Atheists and their like do not worship God at all. However, the third group includes those who scorn God.
To put it in another perspective, imagine you go up to a Christian, and tell them that you hope misfortune comes to them soon. That you hope they are harmed soon. That your thoughts will be focused on it. Before you get on my case and accuse me of wanting these things, let me clarify that this is an analogy. Telling a Maltheist such as myself that we have "thoughts and prayers" is like telling us to be cursed. When one views God as the ultimate enemy such as how I do, it is not a positive thing to say.
All in all this whole thoughts and prayers deal disturbs me. Not only on the gun issues but on many things. To me, prayer is synonymous with a drug addiction. To me, religion is a deadly brew that is capable of great tragedy. Yes, I understand that there are genuinely good people who practice every faith. But those people are not the God they pray to. My beef is with that entity these people pray to.
I do not find comfort in prayer. I do not feel safe around fundamentalists and see no peace by following those doctrines. This idea seems to be so foreign to so many people in the world. According to the average person, there are two types of humans in relation to religion. Little detail is paid to the third. Those who believe in God but refuse to pray to it.
There are many theories about the truths of the universe. Equal numbers of debate involve what happens after death. People are able to believe in a wonderful heaven in the afterlife, or a vast and wonderful universe. Why is it not also possible that the universe is cold and uncaring. The human race exists to be nothing more than food.
I ask those who seek to be more inclusive: Please think before you toss thoughts and prayers. One cannot assume the religious beliefs or lack thereof. I ask those reading this to realize that there are people who pray to God. That there are also those who do not believe in God. Lastly, I want to ensure that those reading this realize that there are those like myself, who spit in God's face.
Those thoughts and prayers do less than help, in my case. They are an actual attack on me. Please keep them to yourself.