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Author Topic: Praying for people of other religions  (Read 4508 times)

sea-salt

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Praying for people of other religions
« on: December 28, 2014, 05:34:22 pm »
Hopefully this is the right place for this sort of question.

Should I have any ethical concerns about praying for someone of another religion? Is it, for example, disrespectful to pray for someone to a god they most certainly don't believe in?

The reason I'm asking is because I'd like to pray for - of all people - a Catholic nun. She was one of my teachers in elementary school and she is one of the kindest, most caring people I've ever met. She was one of the best teachers I've ever had, too.

I bumped into her today for the first time in almost 10 years, in what was either an unbelievable coincidence or a meeting that somebody's god wanted to happen. ("Yay God!" to quote her.) I found out that she's been going through a very difficult time, and she asked me to keep her in my prayers.

I'd be more than happy to say some prayers for her to help her get through this tough time, but I've never really said a prayer "for" anyone else - least of all a Catholic nun - for any specific reason, other than "keep my family safe" and general things like that. Are there any "do's" or "don'ts" I should be aware of?

Valeria Crowe

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Re: Praying for people of other religions
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2014, 05:50:37 pm »
Quote from: sea-salt;168235
Hopefully this is the right place for this sort of question.

 
Well, she DID ask. Be careful what you wish for, mwahahaha...

Seriously, your profile says your worship a many faced goddess. Why not address your prayers to the virgin mary, as a face of said goddess? An acceptable compromise.
"This is a sorrow-spider. Which end do you hold it by? TRICK QUESTION!"

sea-salt

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Re: Praying for people of other religions
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2014, 06:21:32 pm »
Quote from: Cuthwin Crowe;168239
Well, she DID ask. Be careful what you wish for, mwahahaha...

Seriously, your profile says your worship a many faced goddess. Why not address your prayers to the virgin mary, as a face of said goddess? An acceptable compromise.

 
You say that like you think I'm not really trying to help her.

I personally wouldn't consider praying to Mary because she isn't a goddess, but I see what you're getting at. I recently started working with Brighid, so maybe praying to her as St. Brigit would be appropriate?

NiDara

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Re: Praying for people of other religions
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2014, 09:45:14 pm »
Quote from: sea-salt;168242
You say that like you think I'm not really trying to help her.

I personally wouldn't consider praying to Mary because she isn't a goddess, but I see what you're getting at. I recently started working with Brighid, so maybe praying to her as St. Brigit would be appropriate?

I think so. Brighid is a goddess of healing, and there's some evidence that St. Brigit might be an avatar of Her or is otherwise related to Brighid. St. Brigit was considered to be "Mary of the Gaels", so it works.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 09:46:46 pm by Nic an Dair »

Valeria Crowe

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Re: Praying for people of other religions
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2014, 10:57:12 pm »
Quote from: sea-salt;168242
You say that like you think I'm not really trying to help her.

 
I'm not sure where you got that impression from. My suggestion was serious.

I may have derived humor from the idea of a nun discovering a pagan is praying to her goddess for her, but that's all. I don't doubt your sincerity.
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Sobekemiti

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Re: Praying for people of other religions
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2014, 02:27:05 am »
Quote from: sea-salt;168235
Hopefully this is the right place for this sort of question.

Should I have any ethical concerns about praying for someone of another religion? Is it, for example, disrespectful to pray for someone to a god they most certainly don't believe in?

The reason I'm asking is because I'd like to pray for - of all people - a Catholic nun. She was one of my teachers in elementary school and she is one of the kindest, most caring people I've ever met. She was one of the best teachers I've ever had, too.

I bumped into her today for the first time in almost 10 years, in what was either an unbelievable coincidence or a meeting that somebody's god wanted to happen. ("Yay God!" to quote her.) I found out that she's been going through a very difficult time, and she asked me to keep her in my prayers.

I'd be more than happy to say some prayers for her to help her get through this tough time, but I've never really said a prayer "for" anyone else - least of all a Catholic nun - for any specific reason, other than "keep my family safe" and general things like that. Are there any "do's" or "don'ts" I should be aware of?

 
I don't know if I'd call it unethical; to me, it feels more disrespectful, like I'm not accepting their valid religious choices the same way I'd want them to respect mine. For me, as a general rule, if I'm praying for others, and they're religious, I pray to their gods, not my own. I've prayed to Allah for my Muslim friends. I've prayed to Mary, as a saint, for my Christian friends and family. If I was asked to pray for a Pagan friend, I'd certainly address those prayers to their particular god or goddess, if applicable.

For me, it just feels more respectful to do so than to ask my gods to look after people that don't belong to them. I feel like it's a natural extension of my polytheism, to be able to adapt my practice around other people's gods. If it's a god I'm unfamiliar with, I'll usually do a bit of research so I can address them properly, and when I'm making my prayers, particularly for the first time, I usually state who I am, which gods I belong to, and why I'm praying to them, like, I know this person, they belong to you, and they're having a rough time atm, so could you maybe take care of them plz? And I leave it with them.

If I was in your situation, I'd find it entirely appropriate to pray to Mary, addressing Her as a Saint, because that's how I've come to work with Her. Since she's a nun, and presumably belongs to a particular order, you might consider addressing your prayers to whatever saint is associated with that order, or one she's particularly close to. If you're uncomfortable praying to Mary, even as a saint, St Brigid might might be a good alternative, particularly if you've just started working with Brigid. As long as you're respectful, you should be fine, whoever you choose to pray to.
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Re: Praying for people of other religions
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2014, 07:53:26 am »
Quote from: sea-salt;168235
Should I have any ethical concerns about praying for someone of another religion? Is it, for example, disrespectful to pray for someone to a god they most certainly don't believe in?

I'm a polytheist who has no trouble with the idea that other deities than the ones I worship exist, so I generally just pray to the person's own deity asking them to help their follower.
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sea-salt

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Re: Praying for people of other religions
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2014, 10:04:21 am »
Quote from: Cuthwin Crowe;168275
I'm not sure where you got that impression from. My suggestion was serious.

I may have derived humor from the idea of a nun discovering a pagan is praying to her goddess for her, but that's all. I don't doubt your sincerity.

 
"Be careful what you wish for, mwahahaha..." usually isn't something you'd say in response to a request for prayer. If you were being sarcastic, then I apologize because I didn't pick that up.

sea-salt

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Re: Praying for people of other religions
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2014, 10:18:51 am »
Quote from: Sobekemiti;168289
I don't know if I'd call it unethical; to me, it feels more disrespectful, like I'm not accepting their valid religious choices the same way I'd want them to respect mine. For me, as a general rule, if I'm praying for others, and they're religious, I pray to their gods, not my own. I've prayed to Allah for my Muslim friends. I've prayed to Mary, as a saint, for my Christian friends and family. If I was asked to pray for a Pagan friend, I'd certainly address those prayers to their particular god or goddess, if applicable.

For me, it just feels more respectful to do so than to ask my gods to look after people that don't belong to them. I feel like it's a natural extension of my polytheism, to be able to adapt my practice around other people's gods. If it's a god I'm unfamiliar with, I'll usually do a bit of research so I can address them properly, and when I'm making my prayers, particularly for the first time, I usually state who I am, which gods I belong to, and why I'm praying to them, like, I know this person, they belong to you, and they're having a rough time atm, so could you maybe take care of them plz? And I leave it with them.

If I was in your situation, I'd find it entirely appropriate to pray to Mary, addressing Her as a Saint, because that's how I've come to work with Her. Since she's a nun, and presumably belongs to a particular order, you might consider addressing your prayers to whatever saint is associated with that order, or one she's particularly close to. If you're uncomfortable praying to Mary, even as a saint, St Brigid might might be a good alternative, particularly if you've just started working with Brigid. As long as you're respectful, you should be fine, whoever you choose to pray to.

 
That all makes perfect sense to me. Being disrespectful was my main concern, especially because I don't work with the Christian god nor any saints - and I would prefer to keep it that way - but I'm willing to make St. Brigit an exception because I consider her an avatar of the goddess Brighid, so that works for me. She's a Franciscan nun so I might consider calling on St. Francis too; the patron saint of animals and the environment seems like a good choice for a pagan to pray to.

Thanks to everyone for your advice!

Valeria Crowe

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Re: Praying for people of other religions
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2014, 11:07:27 am »
Quote from: sea-salt;168298
"Be careful what you wish for, mwahahaha..." usually isn't something you'd say in response to a request for prayer. If you were being sarcastic, then I apologize because I didn't pick that up.

 
... You took that comment seriously? Sheesh, we really do need to bring back the irony mark.
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veggiewolf

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Re: Praying for people of other religions
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2014, 12:09:53 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;168293
I'm a polytheist who has no trouble with the idea that other deities than the ones I worship exist, so I generally just pray to the person's own deity asking them to help their follower.

 
This is what I do as well.
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Pix

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Re: Praying for people of other religions
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2014, 01:38:24 am »
Quote from: sea-salt;168235
Hopefully this is the right place for this sort of question.

Should I have any ethical concerns about praying for someone of another religion? Is it, for example, disrespectful to pray for someone to a god they most certainly don't believe in?

The reason I'm asking is because I'd like to pray for - of all people - a Catholic nun. She was one of my teachers in elementary school and she is one of the kindest, most caring people I've ever met. She was one of the best teachers I've ever had, too.

I bumped into her today for the first time in almost 10 years, in what was either an unbelievable coincidence or a meeting that somebody's god wanted to happen. ("Yay God!" to quote her.) I found out that she's been going through a very difficult time, and she asked me to keep her in my prayers.

I'd be more than happy to say some prayers for her to help her get through this tough time, but I've never really said a prayer "for" anyone else - least of all a Catholic nun - for any specific reason, other than "keep my family safe" and general things like that. Are there any "do's" or "don'ts" I should be aware of?

I suppose it depends on the person.  I personally wouldn't be bothered by it, but I suppose if someone sees other gods as demons then they might very well be.

Interesting bit, I had an epic vision of Freya and I do believe a contributing factor on why I did is that my grandmother, just having had a psychic dream letting her know I was in terrible danger, prayed to Jesus for me.

This got me into the Scandinavian gods and when I asked her if she'd visit me in my heaven (since I figured hers was more exclusive--but hey, if there's one heaven then why not several?) and she said she'd see her trappings and I'd see mine but we'd still be together and love each other. That is to say she saw no real difference between her Jesus and my Freya.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2014, 01:39:56 am by Pix »
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habbalah

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Re: Praying for people of other religions
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2014, 01:18:43 pm »
Quote from: Pix;168326


When people say they'll pray for my for my health or whatnot, I accept it as a gesture of kindness. If someone is having a hard time, I'll usually ask first if I can pray for them. Since she asked you to, I think you're in the clear, as long as you don't disrespect her faith by doing so.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2014, 02:35:07 am by SunflowerP »
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veggiewolf

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Re: Praying for people of other religions
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2014, 01:41:17 pm »
Quote from: habbalah;168365
When people say they'll pray for my for my health or whatnot, I accept it as a gesture of kindness. If someone is having a hard time, I'll usually ask first if I can pray for them. Since she asked you to, I think you're in the clear, as long as you don't disrespect her faith by doing so.

 
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Re: Praying for people of other religions
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2014, 02:56:45 pm »
Quote from: sea-salt;168242
You say that like you think I'm not really trying to help her.

I personally wouldn't consider praying to Mary because she isn't a goddess, but I see what you're getting at. I recently started working with Brighid, so maybe praying to her as St. Brigit would be appropriate?

 
How do you view Mary?
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