I just say, 'Get away from me you infected cretin!'
I stopped saying "bless you" when I took my first real steps into atheism for exactly that reason. I just ignore the sneeze altogether like I would if the person had coughed.
It really makes you think about how odd of a custom it is.
I cannot believe that my first post on TA was coaxed out of me by a slanderous devil woman with the same last name and great dane as I. (me? i aint got time for no grammering)
May the Almighty Lord and Savior, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, bless you each and every time you sneeze, my darling wife.
Be thankful that I am merely toying with the idea of adopting the phrase above as my automatic sneeze reply. XD
But it will take more than a silver tongue to reveal my true identity to the dangerous atheists of the internets.
Samuel B Mrakovich
If they are very religious I sometimes tell them that every time they sneeze an angel dies....lol.
you wicked thing, you! lol
What do you say when someone sneezes?
It depends on who sneezes and where we are. Usually I say nothing. If the need for politeness is high, gesundheit is the secular acknowledgement of a sneeze. (It means 'good health' as Amanda pointed out.) If the sneezer, caught off guard, pitches over and grabs his face, I say 'nice catch'.
Does it bother you that "Bless you" is short for "God bless you"?
It bothers me to sneeze, open my eyes and find a stranger praying over me. Worse is when several people bless me for the same sneeze. Now it's a prayer meeting.
Some issue one blessing for each sneeze. Achoo. God bless you. Achoo. God bless you. Achoo. God bless you. What am I, the wailing wall?
But it gets worse still. Others must deliver the blessing at a volume to surpass the sneeze. ACHOO! GOD BLESS YOU!! With multiple sneezes and blessers it's a Klingon death ritual.
Then suddenly I'm on the spot. Say thank you. If not, I'm being rude. Gosh all you weirdo strangers on the train. Thanks so much.
Does it even matter?
It matters when someone who knows I'm an atheist blesses me. Likewise, when someone says 'I'll pray for you'. They know I don't believe. It's intended as a reminder of what they believe, issued for their own benefit, not mine. It's self-serving to the point of rudeness.
For the theist who disagrees: imagine an atheist says "religion is bullshit" every time you sneeze. Imagine a Christian tells a Jew "Jesus is the Messiah" whenever he sneezes.
I personally prefer "Salud," which is Spanish for "health."
There are myriad explanations, but nobody knows exactly why the sneeze warrants a blessing. We do know the practice dates back to at least 77 AD. It's only clear that it was meant as a magical inoculation against an oncoming malady of the body or soul.
I'd like to see this ridiculous superstitious practice done away with in every language and culture. But 2000 year-old habits die hard.
Well put Gallup. Some of your statements I found very funny. I stopped that nonesensical superstition while I was still a xian, I rather be rude that follow the useless superstition
I usually say "Use a tissue, NOT the back of my neck you peasant !"
You guys are very funny! Thanks Judith!
Ugh. Last week this kid was coughing, sneezing, and sniffing all around me. I wanted to conk him over the head. Alas, I was on the clock.