On many of the "mommy" blogs that I read there have been posts about two fairly well known bloggers that have recently gone through the loss of their babies. In many of these posts there have been calls for prayers and comments filled with I'm-praying-for-yous. I find this simultaneously touching and very foreign.
I think the label that best describes me is secular humanist, though if you pressed me as to whether I believed in a deity, at this point I'd say no. While my heart goes out to people, my first instinct when these things happen is not to impose my presence if it's not needed or wanted, and then to see if there's anything I can help with (either directly or by making a donation, etc). Praying seems irrelevant to me, though I would not want to get into any kind of religious discussion with someone during a trying time - especially if their faith is helping them through.
Mothergoosemoose posted about this as well and it sums up a lot of my feelings.
I see her point. I remember really liking that the pilot who landed the jet in the Hudson river in New York was praised in the media and there was an absence of attributing it all to God or some miracle. It bothers me when human beings and their accomplishments - doctors who save cancer patients, emergency crews in disaster zone rescues and so on - get forgotten when "miracles" and God's "divine will" or prayer answers are trumpeted. I think if we acknowledged human beings more, people would have a greater faith in humanity and the ability of people to come together and do wonderful things. Too often it seems like the focus is all about how good God is and the good things God makes happen, with the other side being all the horrible things humans do. God saves people who have medical ailments or are in peril. God doesn't contribute to the deaths of people who don't survive or isn't cited where people are harmed in the name of religion - those things are all attributed to the mistakes or evils that human beings can commit.
I don't mean to slam religion or say it isn't helpful for people who have faith in times of need. I understand that those who are religious look to God for meaning in things that happen. All that I really want is for all people to have the chance to see and hear about the good normal everyday individuals can do too. That the actions of people are lauded so that people can see the good in their fellow human beings and be able to trust, rely or be inspired by each other.
I'd like to be able to show my daughter all the wonderful things people can do, and that she could do, and not have her drowned in the negative media that focuses on all the horrible things people have done.