Sharing a common approach to life, humanists face some common situations. In this series, we invite humanists to offer their suggestions for handling those situations.
Question: What do you say when someone says, “bless you” or “have a blessed day”? How do you respond to “I’ll pray for you”?
To “I’ll pray for you,” I respond “thank you, I’m sure you are.” With “bless you,” this phrase in my opinion is harmless, so I simply say, “thanks.”
I just let it pass. At least they are not saying “kiss my behind.”
Responding to “bless you,” you could say, “I don’t need to be blessed” if you wanted to be rude, or if someone says, “have a blessed day,” you could say, “you have a good day too.” You could also say, “I don’t believe in any religion, so I’m just going to say thank you.” If someone says, “I’ll pray for you, I might say ‘thank you,’ but I’m not religious.”
To “bless you” or “have a blessed day,” I say nothing really. I interpret it as “have a nice day.” To “I’ll pray for you,” I say, “Thank you, I’ll think for you.”
I usually just smile and say “thanks.” It’s an honest intention. But if I sneeze more than once and people continue to say, “bless you,” I mention that I’m an atheist and they could respond with “gesundheit” which means “good health.”
It doesn’t mean anything to me. I notice, but ignore it.
I say “thanks.” They mean well. While praying for me may not help, I do not think it will cause me harm.
What Would Your Answer Be?
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