No, they're not. Not mine at least.
That's what goes through my mind whenever I hear someone say, "Our thoughts and prayers are with you." Which has happened a lot after the bombing attack at the Boston Marathon.
I can understand why people say this. But it grates on me.
For one thing, that "our" seems to imply that anyone within reach of the speaker's voice, such as those listening to President Obama on radio or TV, share those sentiments. And if you don't...
Well, you must not care about the dead and injured. Not true. Actually, I do.
Yet I haven't prayed at all for the victims, because I don't pray in the way "Our thoughts and prayers are with you" implies. I don't ask God for favors, blessings, help, or whatever, because I don't believe God exists.
Now, if "prayers" mean something else than an entreaty to God, I guess that's another thing. Yet then we're in the realm of thoughts.
Of course, a prayer is a special kind of thought.
So saying "Our thoughts are with you" strikes my atheist/agnostic self as more appealing. That would include prayers by the prayerful, and other thoughts by non-praying people like me.
Yet if a public figure like Obama started using that language, there would be a massive outcry from the hyper-religious citizenry in these overly God-fearing United States. Not nearly so much if this happened in Europe, from what I understand.
I've also got a problem with the "are with you" language. What does that mean? It implies some sort of magical telepathy between one human mind and another. I'm in Oregon. The victims of the Boston bombing are in Massachusetts.
My thoughts aren't with them. They're with me. So it would be more accurate to say, "Our thoughts are about you." Which probably is what people mean when they say "with you." If so, let's say what we mean.
i realize that many people feel comforted by the idea that someone is thinking about them, or praying for them. Me, not so much. If at all.
Really, I only care if someone I know well is thinking about me.
Why? Because there's an excellent chance I'll see them in person one day soon. Then their thoughts about me likely will translate into actions directed toward me. Hopefully, kind words, behavior, whatever.
I respect the need people have to pray. But that prayer is meaningless unless you get off your knees and do something.
To which I Twitter-replied, "Amen." Later someone else commented on scriptdave's tweet. He told them:
I hear you. People need to reflect, meditate, process tragedy. But prayer being the end all is ludicrous. Do something real.
A double Amen to that.