A new battle started on Twitter after The Church of England tweeted to Richard Dawkins they would pray for him and his family.
Dawkins, a 74-year-old evolutionary biologist and famous atheist, is a popular advocate of evolution and atheism. He suffered a minor stroke in the UK and was forced to cancel his tour in Australia and New Zealand on Saturday, Feb. 6.
The Church tweeted “Prayers for Prof Dawkins and his family.” After this tweet, some users offered prayers through the platform. However, controversy rose among non-believers and Dawkins’ fans who accused the Church of mocking Dawkins, according to CNN.
In response to the attacks, Rev. Arun Arora, the Communications Director for the Archbishop Council, explained that the tweet was a sincere action and was not intended to mock Dawkins, as some users stated.
“This situation shows that the Church will always be under attack by the world because they don’t understand us,” Noah Brown, freshman biblical and theological studies major, said about the situation.
Arora also added that this situation showed the misunderstanding people have about what a prayer is.
“It’s a plea that you make to God to either ask for something you need or someone you care needs,” Marilyn Olla, international business major, said of prayer. “There are no bad intentions in a prayer.”
Zoë Shafer, junior biblical and theological studies major, said that this situation affirms what Jesus taught in his famous Sermon on the Mount.
“We are told to pray for our enemies. While I don’t know what Dawkins has done to possibly set people against Christianity, he is in that zone of being an ‘enemy’,” Shafer said. “We should also keep in mind that the people who need the most prayer are often the ones who have yet to come to Christ.”
People have been arguing if it was right or wrong to tweet the commentary. Shafer explained that sending messages through social media is not the best idea because people cannot fully express themselves.
“You can’t convey your emotions through text very well. Some people can hear the sadness in the tweet, but other people hear sarcasm or cynicism,” she said. “You have to be careful with what you put out in public or else people will go around misinterpreting it causing controversy.”
Brown expressed that people should not make this situation a big problem. He said that this tweet would have no affect on atheistic Dawkins.