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to not know how to respond when someone says

(24 Posts)
ShowMeYourTARDIS Fri 21-Feb-14 03:59:45

"God bless you"


I'm an atheist and I feel very strange when someone says that to me. I usually just respond with an awkward thank you. Should I be saying something else?

PenguinBear Fri 21-Feb-14 04:01:48

I think thank you is fine smile

coralanne Fri 21-Feb-14 04:08:32

How do you respond when people say Merry Christmas? It's the same thing.

Being an atheist is the same as being a Muslim or any other non Christian religion.

Just say graciously "Thank you"or if you can't manage that just smile politely

FlockOfTwats Fri 21-Feb-14 04:13:02


The proper way to respond is to hit them over the head (preferably with a frying pan if you happen to have one on your person) and run away screaming.

Not many people are aware of it but its totally ok.

The other popular response is to smile and thank them for their pleasantries.

ShowMeYourTARDIS Fri 21-Feb-14 04:13:22

I celebrate Christmas, as do all of my non-Christian friends, so I don't feel the same sense of awkwardness. I guess it catches me off guard because it's not something I'd ever say.

I had a lovely chat with an old lady on the bus today. When I got off at my she said "God bless you" and I just sort of mumbled "thank you" and rushed off the bus. I really hope she doesn't think I was rude. blush

CorusKate Fri 21-Feb-14 04:13:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ShowMeYourTARDIS Fri 21-Feb-14 04:14:58

*got off at my stop

meditrina Fri 21-Feb-14 04:15:42

You don't thank for a blessing. Just smile.

It might not be within your belief system, but in a diverse society it's generally better to accept good wishes even when expressed in terms of a different belief.

fivefourtime Fri 21-Feb-14 04:20:28

Depends what context really... sneezing, it's just something people say. As an earnest expression of thanks, it can feel a bit like you're being god-bothered.

Chottie Fri 21-Feb-14 04:31:15

Just smile and say thank you. I'm sure it's well meant and really not intended to be offensive in anyway. People around here say 'God bless' as a form of good bye greeting. It's a way of wishing you well.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 21-Feb-14 04:45:10

Atheist here <does secret handshake>. Sneezing fine. Nice people being nice (like your bus lady) fine. Christian friends winding me up fine but they have to put up with some ribbing back. People evangelizing or preaching not fine but a simple 'no thanks' or 'not my bag, thanks' is OK if you don't have a frying pan.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 21-Feb-14 04:47:32

BTW I spent all my time when I was in Morocco Al-salam aleikum-ing my way around not worrying one jot that I was doing it then. Hypocrite? I think probably.

LettertoHermioneGranger Fri 21-Feb-14 04:49:36

Smile, say, "Thank you."

It isn't harming you. It's meant well. Be polite.

HairyGrotter Fri 21-Feb-14 07:49:39

I don't like it, it makes me wince but I tend to just grimace and nod. My family are Christian, I'm the only atheist, it makes for interesting family gatherings wink

If it's just someone being polite, I say very little, but if it's deeper than that, I get my fact and reason hat on

CailinDana Fri 21-Feb-14 08:30:01

Do you feel strange about people saying "goodbye"?

SomethingkindaOod Fri 21-Feb-14 09:21:36

I expect that if you do some digging many words we use in every day conversation have a Christian origin, it may well be hard to avoid them all! I'll have to do some reading up on it.
It's just a pleasantly these days really, how many people who say it actually know of it's origins I wonder?
I'm Pagan, I say it when someone sneezes, it doesn't bother me in the slightest.

HairyGrotter Fri 21-Feb-14 09:21:59

Language evolves, 'Goodbye' evolved from 'God be with you' way back in the 17th century. 'God Bless' has the obvious connection to religion, which all of us are not part of.

Religious folk, well some of them, take offence to blasphemy, I take offence to the word 'God' being used to wish me well. Just wish me well, fuck all to do with a deity!

Joysmum Fri 21-Feb-14 09:26:25

I respond with a warm and genuine smile.

I'm not religious so I'm not responding to the blessing, just the warm sentiment behind it.

SomethingkindaOod Fri 21-Feb-14 09:28:12

Well I wish I hadn't started looking at this one, I'm going to get nothing done all day! Have just come across the origins of the term nest of vipers...

Pigeonhouse Fri 21-Feb-14 09:28:19

As someone up the thread said, god-related expressions have sunk into many languages and cultures to the extent that they're essentially secular. My native language's normal way of saying hello is 'God be with you' - it's not a religious expression. I don't even notice that, as with 'Gruss Gott' or 'Salaam Alaikum' or 'Inshallah', or 'bless you' for a sneeze.

God-bothering does drive me crazy, though.

Abbierhodes Fri 21-Feb-14 09:32:01

Surely any well meant wishes should be accepted graciously? I'm a christian, but if someone offered me a greeting/blessings in a way that represents their own religion, then I'd accept that they mean to wish nice things on me. And that can't be bad, can it?

MoominIsWaitingToMeetHerMiniMe Fri 21-Feb-14 09:40:32

I used to get confused by this, asked someone who said it to me a lot why they did it when they knew I was an atheist, and they explained that they did it because it was a sign of caring about someone - her God is so important to her that she doesn't say 'God bless you' to many people, and that regardless of our religions, if there is a God, I deserve his blessing, and if there isn't, she cares about me anyway.

I just can't take offence at someone saying 'God bless you' to me, because I think about her, and how much significance she placed behind that phrase smile

Abbierhodes Fri 21-Feb-14 09:44:37

I think that's a nice way to put it, moomin.

I think that what some atheists forget is that a person with faith genuinely believes that there is a God, and that they can pray for blessings for their loved ones. It isn't done to wind you up, it comes from a heartfelt belief that it 'works'.

I don't have time for people who choose to be offended by that.

SomethingkindaOod Fri 21-Feb-14 09:50:06

I remember when the General Synod rejected the idea of women bishops last time my vicar friend posted a very upset status on FB about it. He was genuinely gutted. Many of us posted supportive messages to him and he came back to all of us individually to thank us (he does know I don't share his faith).
His message to me started "God bless you Ood.. And went on from there. 10 minutes later I got another message apologising for using a Christian blessing. Had to tell him it doesn't bother me because it's his faith, he believes, practices and lives a deeply Christian lifestyle and above all is a lovely man who wouldn't purposely offend a fly. His blessing to me came from the heart and I have no wish to reject that.

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