Bow Your Head? Close Your Eyes? How to act when saying grace 101.

My guess is that this has been covered in another forum but I wanted to throw it out there;


So who among us has been the following situation: You are sitting at a friends or even a family's dinner table and everyone gets ready to say grace. Everyone bows their heads and or closes their eyes.  What do you do?  Do you close your eyes and or bow your head out of respect and think to yourself "omg this is such bs", or do you hold your atheist head up high with a kind of "suck-it" mentality I am not going to coddle you just because you expect me to, I'm an atheist dammit and proud of it!!! 


Would love to hear your thoughts and stories!!

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I usually say if asked that I am already grateful for the food I am about to receive and don't need to ask anyone to make me so, especially as I bought it and cooked it myself.

I bow my head.

I think it was IEatDinosaurMeat that mentioned choosing your battles. To me, if you make a mountain out of a molehill, you're sabotaging any attempt to de-convert them (as slim as that chance may be). From the get-go, you're putting them on the defensive by not simply bowing your head even if you don't believe it. You might as well walk into the room with an "I am an atheist" shirt on. They'll just see you as arrogant and disrespectful.

It's kind of like debating with a christian and you let out a swear word. Many fundamentals will be more concerned with the swearing than your actual debate. Or, in the case of the denomination I came out of, if you refer to one of their pastors without putting the title "pastor" in front of their name (eg PASTOR Smith), they'll get offended and won't listen to the actual meat of your argument. Yes, that's their problem if they can't hear your actual argument, but as No Religion said, "When in Rome...".

You don't want to plant a massive tree in front of them when you're trying to get them to see the forest from the trees.

I refuse to bow my head and pretend. I feel it would be hypocritical.  I wish that ALL atheists would do it at big gatherings, where whole rooms full of people are asked to pray. You would then know whom to approach for intelligent conversation! I often wonder at these things, how many people are just pretending, and wish they wouldn't.

Here is where I make a distinction.  If I am in their house, at their table, I would be respectful, especially if they are particularly good cooks and I want to get invited back.  I'm not going to pray or chime in on the amen, but their house, their rules.  Rarely do people get respect unless they give it.

We don't say grace at my house.  But - I have to add it has never come up so I don't really know how I would react.  I like the idea of keeping it simple and secular.  Thank you for coming and enjoying this meal.

I'll hold hands, but I usually just keep my head up and my eyes open. Since everybody else's eyes are closed, I usually end up rolling mine because grace is usually just so cheesy. Like god really had something to do with the big salad in front of us. I've always thought that saying grace is rude to farmers. You know, the people who actually plant, grow, and harvest the food (or breed it, raise it, and slaughter it if its meat). At large dinners, I like to look around to see if anyone else has their head up and eyes open, could be a potential ally.

I'm really amazed at the spectrum of responses. 

I can really 'get' almost all of them, too. 

When asked to lead any type of prayer/grace/chat/voodoo, I either respond by doing so in a secular fashion with something non-aggressive but steady like "...and I'm really appreciative for the opportunity to give thanks in the way I feel most comfortable.. by mentioning the hard working farmers who grew this food, the truckers that spent long hours away from their families to bring it to us, the scientists at the FDA that made sure it was safe for us to eat...the wonderful country I have that helps make abundance like this possible..but most of all I appreciate my friends and family gathered here today. I encourage us all to give the way we see fit. After all, it's not about how you give thanks, only that you are thankful." 

Or, depending on the situation, I just keep quiet. 


I won't lie. Sometimes I have to bow my head and close my eyes. 

Seeing adults hold hands and chant.. it is so hilarious to me. I can't help it. Sometimes I literally have to close my eyes and think of dead kittens to keep from laughing or giggling. 


I sit quietly with my head up and eyes open. I too enjoy when there are kids at the table as well. They always look around all confused and I make sure to flash them a smile or even a funny face sometimes. It always seems to cheer them up too.  :)
This is exactly how I handle the situation.  I once got a stern talking to from one of my aunts for making her kid laugh during grace before a Christmas meal.  I always thought that Christmas was the time to be jolly?  Just another part of the club that I don't get.
I sit still and wait for them to finish. I do like to look around and see who else is doing the same.
I usually ask them if they wouldn't mind me stepping out for a moment to buy condoms and liquor. The in-laws are fair skinned and I simply adore the hues.
I haven't had to deal with things like this since I left the home, thankfully. But I would not bow my head, close my eyes, nor let anyone touch me if I ever did.


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