Topic: Is anyone else an atheist with BC besides me?

Forum: Life After Breast Cancer — Managing life after a breast cancer diagnosis, including rediscovering intimacy, coping with fear of recurrence, reconnecting relationships, sharing hobbies and interests, and finding inspiration in daily life.

Posted on: Jan 18, 2008 06:39PM

Posted on: Jan 18, 2008 06:39PM

thedudess wrote:

Hi I am newly diagnosed and I know alot of people rely on their faith for support and find great peace with that, however I am a atheist and was wondering if anyone else here was also.

thanks

Dx 1/7/2008, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/11 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 02:25PM anneshirley wrote:

In the past I subscribed to another breast cancer form.  A woman who had just learned her mets were advancing and she had a short time to live, wrote a post literally begging members for information on new chemo treatments, new combinations, new trials.  At the end, and very politely, she asked if only those who could provide medical assistance would reply to her post.  She added that she appreciated posts that say "I can't help but I'm praying for you," but she preferred just to get medical information.

The first reply to her post said almost exactly that:  "I can't help on chemo treatments, but I'm praying for you."  And quite a number of similar "praying" posts arrived after that and one or two that actually tried to help with chemo information.  I left the site shortly after that, as I use these forums mainly for medical information and occasionally for emotional support, and hope that I can give back the same.  The praying and new age stuff is unproductive for me and I stay away from such threads. Let me emphasize, "unproductive for me!" 

I am no longer a believer and I find it peculiar, and offensive, when people impose their views on me when they already know my views. I don't impose mine on them.  If you want to pray for someone that doesn't want your prayers, can't you do it quietly?  If God is all knowing, then surely he can read your thoughts. If you impose your beliefs on a person when you know they are not wanted, you are being provocative and unkind.  Why would anyone want to be unkind to someone who is suffering? I had sixteen years of a rigorous Christian education, and I know that to cause suffering to another is not part of the Christian ethic!  If Christ suffered in silence, why can't you offer up your prayers in silence.     

Anneshirley Picture of Mary & Sophie, my nieces Dx 6/10/2006, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 22, 2008 02:26PM Little-G wrote:

This is a very interesting thread.  I am not a Christian and do not believe in the big god in the sky either.  However, I have many friends that are.  When I was first dx with bc, it use to bother me when they said "I am praying for you."  I'm not sure why it bothered me.  I guess I must have taken some offense to it.  But now, I understand that it is their way of connecting.  If I feel they are in need of help, I have my own "ceremony" to pass along to them.  I don't tell them that, but I still consider them when doing rituals.  I do not go for people forcing their religion or beliefs on anyone.  But..I do understand that we all have different thoughts on life, and spirituality.  And if someone gives you good thoughts, and they are truly good thoughts and not something meant as sarcasm, I think we should accept those and return the favor, in what ever manor works for you.  It has been said that prayer can be powerful, my thoughts are more scientific for it, as it is a mass of positive energy being passed along.  But whatever you think, if given in a positive way, it can be a good thing.  Whatever your belief, I wish us all well!!!

g

Dx 2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 02:29PM Little-G wrote:

This is a very interesting thread.  I am not a Christian and do not believe in the big god in the sky either.  However, I have many friends that are.  When I was first dx with bc, it use to bother me when they said "I am praying for you."  I'm not sure why it bothered me.  I guess I must have taken some offense to it.  But now, I understand that it is their way of connecting.  If I feel they are in need of help, I have my own "ceremony" to pass along to them.  I don't tell them that, but I still consider them when doing rituals.  I do not go for people forcing their religion or beliefs on anyone.  But..I do understand that we all have different thoughts on life, and spirituality.  And if someone gives you good thoughts, and they are truly good thoughts and not something meant as sarcasm, I think we should accept those and return the favor, in what ever manor works for you.  It has been said that prayer can be powerful, my thoughts are more scientific for it, as it is a mass of positive energy being passed along.  But whatever you think, if given in a positive way, it can be a good thing.  Whatever your belief, I wish us all well!!!

g

Dx 2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 02:41PM anneshirley wrote:

But if someone has informed you in no uncertain terms that saying "you are praying for her," is offensive, why would you continue to do so, if not to annoy, or hurt, or offend that person.  I suggest that if someone really believes in God and the power of prayer, then doing it quietly would have the same effect, while not offending the other person.  My mother was a fully committed Christian and knew I no longer believed.  I know she prayed for me but she didn't push it on me, and I knew my non-beliefs were uncomfortable for her, and I didn't push them on her.  And when she had difficulty walking I would take her to church.  You need to have a huge ego to think that whatever you believe is good for the rest of the world, and I have a horror of folks with huge egos. 

Anneshirley Picture of Mary & Sophie, my nieces Dx 6/10/2006, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 22, 2008 03:09PM Little-G wrote:

Anne,

I wouldn't do that.  And that's what I meant by sarcasm.  Then I think that person is forcing it, and I don't go for that either.  I understand where you're coming from.  There are really very far and few people in between that are really sincere in their beliefs.  Some use it as a tool.  And huge egos, I agree.  Its one of the reasons I stopped believing.  Most seem very hypocritical.  But that's another topic.  I guess my point is, if someone is sincere in their belief and they say that they are praying for you, I think it comes from their heart.  If you tell them to stop saying it and they still do, then it seems like they are pushing it on you.  So..just my thoughts. 

g

Dx 2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 03:25PM anneshirley wrote:

I agree, with both:  G and Madalyn.  It would be nice to have a place where we can discuss our problems, medical and otherwise, without having folks praying over us.  Makes me think of "Elmer Gantry."

Anneshirley Picture of Mary & Sophie, my nieces Dx 6/10/2006, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jan 22, 2008 03:26PM Analemma wrote:

This is a great conversation, and I'm so glad to see so many women finally "come out" in a forum where it seems ok to talk about faith and prayer, and taboo to mention a lack of faith or non-belief.  I am an atheist, also, and I am uncomfortable with too much "god-speak" but I know that many folks find great comfort from their belief.

I have a little funny story.  My dil was raised Catholic, and her mother is devout.  My son, like me, is atheist, and they did not marry in the Church, but had a civil ceremony with handfasting.  So, my DIL told mea couple of weeks ago, laughingly, that her mom had put me on the prayer list at church, but told DIL not to tell me because I'd be mad.  DIL knows that it wouldn't make me mad!  So her mother sent me flowers with a card "thinking of you" or something non-religious.  I wrote her a thank you and told her I appreciated her good wishes, whether or not they were in the form of prayer.  Yesterday I got a get well card, with a note "We are praying and/or thinking of you."  Everybody can laugh, kind sentiments and healing thoughts are expressed, and I'm grateful to know that people care about me.

Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see. --John W. Whitehead Dx 12/10/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 5/12 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 03:27PM Little-G wrote:

Madalyn,

Good enough for me!  Then I will share mine.  I like to go outside and be among the trees.  Listen to the wind.  I live on acreage in the middle of no where.  Its very quiet.  It gives me a sense of peace and lets me re-charge.  Being inside dosn't do it.  And being around people dosn't do it.  I need to be by myself and in a natural element.  Last night the moon was huge, and the sky was so clear I had a shadow!  It was awesome.  I strolled around for a while, and then sat quietly.  All bundled up.  It was beatiful and gave me a chance to re-charge.

g

Dx 2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 03:34PM Analemma wrote:

Wow, this is active.  I started my comment, then took a phone call and two other posts were up.

I also wanted to mention that I had started attending the loca Unitarian Church (atheists welcome!) a couple of months before my mets dx, and was going to a women's group that meets twice a month.  I have had wonderful, kind emotional support from those great ladies, and no one has mentioned prayer even once!  Instead, I get emails saying "just thinking of you" or sometimes someone will send a sweet or funny poem, lunch invitations, just all the things you'd want and no talk of anything religious at all.  Just normal stuff, enough to know that I have a support group.

Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see. --John W. Whitehead Dx 12/10/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 5/12 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jan 22, 2008 03:54PM anneshirley wrote:

G--I get the same feeling when sitting on a beach looking at the sea or even when sitting in front of a fire just looking at the flames.  I lose awareness of myself at those times and become part of a larger whole. This is why I'm an atheist.  I know that I am no more important than a seashell on the beach or, with my cat sitting near the fire, that I am no more important than he is, or less important for that matter, just part of the whole. Like the seashell or my cat I will die and recycle.

I have moments of recidivism though.  When I was setting in the examing room waiting for the results of my FNB (they gave me the result almost immediately), I found myself praying that it wasn't cancer.  Old habits die hard, but in the end I stop praying and actually laughed at myself. It's tough being an atheist in a foxhole but there are lots of us out there.

Anneshirley Picture of Mary & Sophie, my nieces Dx 6/10/2006, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+

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