Saturday, September 5, 2015

People Who Exhibit False Christian Charity Should be Boiled in Oil

We've all seen it. You're having an argument with a Christian, probably on the internet, and they play the "I'm going to pray for you" card. Here's a reconstruction:
I'm going to pray for you, Oakes. May you, through God's grace gain the humility and sense of peace that you so obviously need. Yours in Christ and God bless you.
So, let's deconstruct this, as they say. What is really being said in the above?

  1. You're a jerky-jerk face, Oakes.
  2. I'm going to pray for you.
  3. I'm publicly implying that you're a jerky-jerk face AND publicly announcing that I'm going to pray for you.
  4. That makes me a really great Christian (since I'm praying for you even though you're a jerky-jerk face and I'm meeting your jerky-jerk faced behavior not with tit-for-tat jerky-jerk facedness but with a big fluffy ball of Christianness).
  5. This is how real Christians (like me) behave, you jerky-jerk face.

Now, as might be obvious, I find this annoying, mainly because to me it seems so false. I am aware that there's always a tension in Christianity between doing things in secret (as Jesus once recommended that we pray the Our Father) and doing things publicly to set a good example. But still. Among other things, if they really are going to pray for you (which in and of itself is fine--we could all use as much of that as possible) why are they announcing that to your 1,259 other Facebook friends? Why don't they just do it?

Is what I'm saying uncharitable? Probably.

Am I bitter? I wouldn't put it that way. More just irritated.

Do I have a chip on my shoulder? No. But if you think so and want to knock it off, go ahead and try.

I'll pray for you.


  1. I'll pray for you. ;-)

    Well said. Just do it, don't be a Pharisee and announce it.

  2. Yes, that constitutes the Christian version of a concern troll.

  3. Mentioning an intention to pray it isn't a problem of course if prior experience with the person suggests they really do welcome prayers as a supportive activity.
    But don't announce it in such a way as to suggest you're the more rightous for it, or simply because you know it will perterb the hearer.

  4. Actually, it's usually employed by people who want to avoid talking about the substance of your comments. Either they're scared to face up to what you're saying, or they feel out of their depth with regards to the facts. It's mostly a deflection tactic. Dishonest and annoying, but mostly not really about you.

  5. Exactly, it's condescending when people do this. What they're really saying (in pride) is that they think that they're better than you are and will pray to their god to make you more in their image and thereby magnify themselves. Just be thankful that you aren't praying to the same thing!