Sending a religious card

I thought about putting this in IMHO, but since the question has to do with religion, it seems more appropriate here.

There are several people in my extended family who are religious. (They pray before meals, have bible meetings, go to church etc. etc.) Recently there was a death and I wanted to send a sympathy card. After looking around, I decided on a religious card with a bible quote: 28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11)

The card also had some nice stuff about a loved one being in heavenly care and the mourning being there as well. (You can see why I would choose a card instead of writing something myself.)

My question: If I’m not religious myself, is it hypocritical to send a card like this?

My thought was to send something that might make themfeel better, so my own feelings aren’t the issue. After it was already in the mail, I started to wonder if it wasn’t a bit disingenuous.

I know there is a lot of atheistic sentiment on the boards, but if someone has a different belief, is it acceptable to put disagreements aside for the duration of a bible verse on a card?

Of course it’s acceptable. The card isn’t for you, after all.

Of course, if you truly feel that even a backhanded acceptance of a(nother) faith is wrong, then don’t do it. But it’s only hypocrisy if you think it is. No one else is going to come after you about it. Well, no one important, anyway.

Absolutely not. It shows you are a compassionate and decent person who can empathize with others. When I was having some problems, a couple of atheist friends of mine wrote words to the effect of “May your God go with you, Lib.” It meant a lot to me.

Your purpose in sending the card is to comfort the bereaved, that means putting aside your own beliefs, it’s the right thing to do. You wouldn’t give a reality check to a terminal cancer patient who was convinced he was going to beat it. You wouldn’t hem and haw if a dying child asked if they would see you again in heaven. When someone is grieving, the right thing to do is offer comfort. Not your idea of comfort but theirs.

Surely we can’t say everybody is going to react the same. No doubt there’s some folks, when receiving a religious card from somebody they know does not actually believe what’s in the card, will think it’s insincere, if not hypocrytical.

That’s true. Some people would complain if you gave them a million dollars because you put it in a paper bag instead of a leather suitcase.

I’ve sent people Christmas cards, and nobody seemed to have a problem with that.

Christmas cards seem as an apt analogy as any.

I know quite a few people who do not send Christmas cards, opting instead for holiday greetings,
Kwanzaa cards, or soltice notices.

There also seems to be a backlash against the secularization of religious holidays. Some people are offended if they get an X-mas card or a P/C holiday greeting.

I am not an atheist, I am not offended by religion or religious conviction. I don’t think of a card as proselytizing, and I don’t mind getting cards that are religious or include bible phrases. (I have even looked up bible phrases from b-day cards to get a context.)

This is my main concern, that the card will seem insincere or worse.

I also don’t think it’s at all inappropriate; if anything, I’d say it’s quite respectful. Of course, I also buy two sets of Christmas cards – one of religious ones for friends I know to be Christian, and one secular one for everyone else, including one of my closest friends, who happens to be a Wiccan.


Well, it wouldn’t be quite as unreasonable as that, IMO. If someone I know is an atheist sends me a card saying “May God bless you” or something like that, I’d know for a fact he or she is insincere about the literal meaning of the card. I’d almost certainly think he or she is sincere about the general meaning that he or she wishes that good things come my way, though.

It might also make me think the person doesn’t spend a lot of time trying to find the most appropriate or best card. But neither do I, so I can’t be too upset over that.