Exactly. And that is why believers should never - ever - tell an atheist that they will be praying for them. If it is in any way "wrong" to tell the believer "your belief that prayers work is wrong", then it is exactly as wrong for the believer to be saying to the atheist "your belief that prayers do not work is wrong".
Remember the situation: the atheist is ill, in hospital, needing treatment. They are likely to be scared, vulnerable, uncertain. The absolute last thing they need is someone coming along and saying - in effect: "Your views are wrong. Mine are right. And you will die if I can't convince my god to help you, you unbeliever."
I can agree to the extent that the person making the remark is aware of the views of the person they are speaking to. If they were to do that, then it would be like they invited someone to eat and served something they knew the person the invited hated, and that would be rude and not cool at all. I get that saying, "I know you don't like it, but it's good for you, so I'm gonna force you to partake of it" is not right.
It cuts both ways, TOT. If hospitals are no place to open discussion on religion, then believers should keep THEIR traps shut about it. If THEY open the debate with an unwelcome comment, then they have nobody to blame but themselves when they get an unwelcome comment in return.
Or - as Velkyn has asked several times now - "Why should someone have a free pass to say things to me tht I don’t like when you seem to think that I shouldn’t have the same free pass?"
Saying "I'll be praying for you" is hardly opening a debate and it is a big stress to say that someone saying those 5 words is opening a discussion on religion. All it is is an expression employed to convey one's concern. It's typically genuine and it is intended as a means to encourage both the speaker as well as the person to whom they address that sentiment. When you break it down and consider the message being given by that expression, here's likely what you will find the believer to be saying:"Friend or person I care for, recognizing that you are in need of something I can do nothing to provide, I will do the one thing I can do that I believe and have been convinced has the '"power to move mountains,"' and that is pray for the best outcome to your situation."
When you hear a person express this sentiment, does it not click that they are very likely well-meaning? If so, what is there to be bothered about other than the fact that they may be mistaken and misinformed? That being the case, how does a potentially abrasive and condescending response benefit anyone?
If the person saying they will be praying is so intolerably bothersome to you, first, GTFU, and secondly, why not respond by saying, "Thanks for the concern and BTW, when the doctors fix the problem/the professionals rectify the situation, I'd like to discuss prayer with you."
By responding that way, you act like an adult with self control and an appreciation for your fellow man while at the same time setting the stage for having a conversation/discussion on the foolishness of prayer. When that discussion has started, then the gloves are off as no one is blindsided by a rebuttle they had no idea was potentially possible.
To answer the question of: Why should someone have a free pass to say things to me that I don’t like when you seem to think that I shouldn’t have the same free pass?
- you have the same "free pass"
- using that "free pass" is not always a good thing to do
- you as well as the rest of us should be compelled to be kind when addressing others
- there's a time and place for every discussion, and every comment does not open the door for discussion