I'm new here and there is a lot of possible reading.  My interest was captured by a topic looking for responses to the famous, "what if you're wrong" question and I have posted there.

 

I am interested to know how people respond to the smug last word that many theists seem to get when they end a discussion/debate with either, "God bless you", "I'll pray for you" or a combination of the two.  I have been working on my response and, depending on how irritated I am as the discussion closes, I generally say either: -

 

"I cannot give you anyone elses blessing but I wish you health, happiness and prosperity"

or (if provoked)

"I cannot give you anyone elses blessing but I wish you health, happiness, prosperity and freedom from delusion"  (The ones that don't become apoplectic generally just blink in speechless amazement ;)

 

What does everyone else say?

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Thankyou for that Jean Marie; I feel that you show great perception and compassion.

I think that the 'coming out' idea only partially applies to me because, in fact, most of my family and close friends are either Atheist themselves of very non dogmatic believers. I have had no fear of any backlash against me for declaring my Atheism. I think, for me, it is more about a crystalising of my own identity and ideology. I have recently taken the time to read Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and Dannet among others and I guess that this has thrown a little fuel onto the angry fire but on the whole, I am only angry if accosted by someone who has an intention of converting me, particularly as, when I say that I'm Atheist, they seem to assume that I haven't thought things through. I think that my desire for a thought out response to "God bless you, I'll pray for you", is because I wish it to be clear that I have thought about my beliefs. I have found the responses to this thread very useful, particularly your own contribution. I think that, in light of the opinions expressed here and if the phraze in question is spoken casually without a barb on their part, I will moderate my response. However, anyone trying to convert me will still get my more barbed response in return.

I completely understand this. I have had the same thing with preachers or missionaries but most commonly i get this from family trying to convince me. I also find it very smug and somewhat annoying.  Because of this my normal response to "ill pray for you" is a rather unkind "and i will continue to ignore it" and to "god bless you" i normally go with a non-committal "indeed".

 

I also get the odd "well who is looking after you if you don't believe", "who do you give thanks to" and "well don't worry god loves you anyway". I hate all of these but the last one especially. There is a sense of riduculous self-importance about it that drives me crazy!!

I don't really have a problem with god bless you. It's meaningless, just like saying 'Jesus Christ' when you hear something remarkably stupid.

But I'll pray for you is a bit more complicated if:

I'm ill - "You'd help me so much more instead if you could get *insert drug* from the pharmacist for me, please, since i'm not fit to leave the house"

I'm sad - "I reckon going for a beer would be a much better idea."

I'm worried - "I'd rather be reassured"

Sometimes just saying I'll pray for you is almost like a 'get out of jail free' card when someone needs their help. I'd never just say "I'll think of you" if one of my friends was going through a rough time. What good is that going to do? Bugger all.
I suppose I shouldn't knock it until I've tried it.

I didn't mean "I'll think of you" in the goodbye sense though. I probably overlooked that because I've never heard people say "I'll pray for you" unless there is something up, not always something major I might add. It might just be the attitude in the city I grew up in, Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Plus I'm usually very hands on and I try to sit people down and talk to them as soon as I can and usually the results are almost immediate. But once again, I reckon that might be due to my upbringing.
It has been over 65 years since i departed Catholicism. I didn't really become active & militant until I retired about 23 years. Protests at State Capitol, DC Cap., The White House, churches. letters to the editor - 100s - MOSTLY published in many papers etc. Through all this I made many friends & a few enemies. I cherish both. It has been FUN !I've had visits from the Morons, Jehovahs Witlesses, etc. I kept Atheist literature at my door for those presenting me with theirs. (FFRF non-tracts ) Now, I find comfort & joy in Atheist sites as I await my own departure from the field of battle. Hang tough - Time is on OUR side.
I have several at the ready as I debate JW and Born again all the time. Here is a recent one.

Theist: I will pray for you.
Me: I would prefer if you would sacrifice a goat as prayer never seems to be answered.

Theist: I pray daily and god answers me. (Stupid pious grin appears).
Me: Oh really? Can you ask him to grow my friends arm back please? He is a good Christian but can’t bless himself properly with one arm so that could be why god does not answer.

Theist: God does not answer everyone.
Me: So I heard but you said he answers you so could you ask him on my friends’ behalf please?

Theist: Hmmmm, ok so. (Stupid grin has gone).
Me: Thanks. Hopefully it will be grown back in a few months.

Also at the goodbye stage the words of Dave Allen comedian - "May your god go with you." They are never sure if you are being polite.
LOL, Loved it. You can pray to a stone & get every bit as good a response as prayers to the late JC.
"I'll pray for you"

Me: "Generally, speaking to yourself is considered a psychological deficiency"
Then I'll offer to refer them to a personal doctor I know.

Then they have this shocked "I can't believe you just said that"

Then I feel all warm inside.
I say nothing, honestly they probably don't even pray for me anyway. It's just a hollow attempt at coming off "Christian" to them, smiling in the face of adversity.

baring false witness against themselves

It's a tricky one. On the one hand, having someone think nice thoughts for you is a positive thing really, so it's genuinely an innocent statement I'll just say thanks or not even acknowledge it. If they are trying to make a point I'll genuinely tell them not to bother, or that the FSM will touch them soon so not to worry.
In fact actually, I think this is the best response I've heard so far!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/sep/06/christopher-hitchens-as...

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