Today at counselling I mentioned some nerves about my upcoming holiday. The counsellor said she would pray for me and my sister to be safe while away and therefore God would make it be ok. I am an atheist so I gave her a doubtful look and she was like, yes, truly, God will look after you. She said she knew I didn't believe and so she wasn't going to get into it with me. Partly because of that but mainly because it was almost the end of session I bit back my strong desire to ask in that case why God had given me and my sister cancer. I have never been bothered by the question of "why me" about why I got I cancer. There is no answer and there's no use worrying about it. But now I feel bothered. I don't believe in God so obviously it is illogical to say "why did God give me cancer". Maybe what bothers me is that she believes in God and thinks he cares about us so what does she think about why I got cancer? How can she say God will protect me from harm when he obviously won't? Does she think he was punishing me but now he's forgiven me so will look after me now? She obviously did not mean to upset me but sometimes she accidentally does. Maybe I should not go to a counselling service that is attached to a church. But in some funny way I trust the church. Or, at the least female non-clergy members of it.
5 Comments
Super Contributor
I think it was highly unprofessional of your counsellor to talk about God when she knows you don't believe in him. I think you probably trust the church members because you know that their intentions are good and to the counsellor it is probably more than just a job or a career . Maybe she will convert you in time . On other sites I use I am constantly amazed at people saying they are sure God will cure them or they praise Him in the midst of their terrible pain and suffering . Most who mention God only talk of praying for help . That's different . Imagine if your doctor said not to worry because God is looking after you . It's ok if he /she thinks that but, in my opinion ,not ok to say it ,unless he knows you believe in God and knows you well enough . Still, if you are happy with your counsellor stay . If not ,try another .
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Frequent Contributor
It is an interesting situation that you relate Allicat. I understand your feeling that some part of you wasn't respected. I have felt like that too. I had an interesting situation a few years ago when my wife told me that her mum had her church group in New Zealand all praying for me. I felt slightly strange being the subject of such concentrated behaviour, but I wasn't upset about it. I just thought "that's nice" and forgot about it. A few days later an old friend whom I hadn't seen for many years emailed me out of the blue. I chatted back and mentioned the cancer, treatment, remission, etc. Her reply: "I wish I had known, I would have done some remote healing." I was furious! I thought: "How dare you to presume to have a role in this! Who the hell do you think you are! Remote healing? Bugger off!" Then I realised that my reaction to the suggestion of remote healing was quite different to my reaction to hearing that a church group in another country had set about praying for me. I have got as far as thinking that the reactions were different because I respect the tradition of prayer (regardless of my own place in it as a behaviour) but I do not respect any tradition of remote healing (regardless of my experience of it, or lack thereof). Recently I have been reading a lot of Carl Jung's writing on the psyche and its essentially spiritual nature. It helps me see particular traditions of behaviour in an overall context of purpose. It feels pretty comfortable to be doing that. H
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Contributor
Silly, it does seem unprofessional. That's a good way of putting it. It makes me quite annoyed. She needs to respect my right to my beliefs or lack-of beliefs the same way I respect her right to her beliefs. I don't want to be converted. I have never understood how religious people reconcile the sometimes crappiness of life with the idea of a God that cares for us. Obviously they do reconcile it somehow so maybe she didn't realise the problem she presented me with by suggesting there's a God who cares about me. I think when I'm at the counsellor I am a bit vulnerable and I want to believe in what she says so it messes me up more than if just a regular person said something. Because really I don't believe in God so it doesn't matter what she believes about him. But it does matter because how does it make sense inside her head that I got cancer? I'm going around in circles here. The only other time my counsellor had mentioned any religious ideas was when she asked if was ok if she and the other staff prayed for me when I was having my mastectomy. I said that was fine and it was. I quite liked the idea just because they meant it kindly and were basically sending me goodwill. Harker, your different reactions to prayer and remote healing were interesting. I think I would have felt the same.
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Super Contributor
I forgot to say that I hope you and your sister enjoy your holiday .
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Contributor
Thanks Silly. We got back today - we had a great time! But it is also good to home with my cat and my own bed.
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