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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hi jean, i will share something that only my priest and wife know. because ifeel it pertanent. after decades of being severely bi-polar and having three kids and a wife i could not do it any longer. i knew there was a god, just look around, the rainforests for petes sake! but i did not buy into Christ or organized religion. with the blade pushed threw my skin into the tendons isaid help me for no conscious reason. Christ came to me and said " lay it down i will take it". i am here today talking to you.saying that felt really good! my point is that there is so little time here on earth. we must strive to understand our fellow travellers. if i were to devote my life to prayer (which i do alot) i would miss the diversity of life that walks past me everyday. i truly do want to understand. iam 60 lbs overweight and do love cheese sticks! YUUUUUM
I must say,honestly, that the "recovering catholic" comment is a bit offensive. sorry!
You choose who you like and dislike... do you really? I think not. Like belief, we don't choose who we like or dislike at all. When we meet a new person, we either like them or dislike them. It's a natural response in us and not a choice we conciously make. Of course, if we initially dislike a person, it is possible for us to choose to work on ourselves and deliberately look for the positives, the things that we do like. Vice versa, we can try to find things to dislike and sneer about if we choose to but, in my view, this would be a very sad choice to make.

I'm not hugely impressed by your posts so far but, like Jean Marie, I do feel that you deserve credit for being able to debate and for coming back.
What a patronising response! Just take a minute to think about your own post. You ascribe self appointed superiority to another contributor in the most 'superior' tones imaginable, incredible hypocrisy if you ask me; but hey, you are a part of a religion the specialises in that particular field so I suppose I shouldn't be suprised.

You might want to consider that young people are our future; they have the zeal, the ideas and the freedom of imagination to create a better world and should be encouraged and respected for it.

Try as I might I cannot stop myself from forming an opinion of people I meet. I am also more likely to be more tolerant and go easier on those I like. I don't see how superiority comes to play in whether I like a person or not. It seems to me quite a normal thing to like or dislike someone and go easier or harder on them if your so inclined. 

Why would I not declare my atheism if a theist chooses to put their beliefs front and center by offering unsolicited prayers or blessings?  I am tired of it myself and think they should keep it to themselves especially since anyone offering such to me would have to be a stranger or be deliberately trying to irritate me. How Cool is that? Are theist's not held to the same standard? How often is my peace inturrupted by someone pounding on my door to share unsolicited rubbish with me? Too often. How often do I go around bashing on peoples doors to inflict my beliefs on them? Never.

Answer them as you see them Jessica

Hi Denis,

I think that I have caused some confusion here because I am strugglng with the structure of this forum.  I posted two reply's but somehow they did not appear in their right places.  The first one says basically what you say but not as clearly, the second was directed at Jason's tone and attitude in his post and they should not have become mudded.  As i said, it's my techno ineptitude that caused the confusion.  I agree with every word you have written.

first off...
i think it may be the difference in language that made what i said and what i want to point out different from what you think and how you say it, so i apologize.
what i mean by "if i like the person" is if the person that tells me "God bless" and "I'll pray for you" is someone close to me or is my friend or even a person that understand and respect what i chose to believe. and they say it out of love and sincerity then i'll just accept it.
on the other hand, if the person that tells me that, as jason have said, acts all superior and thinks that having to choose rationality over mythology is a crime and is just saying it to me to mock me. then that's the time i return the favor... i hope in some way this made the misinterpretation clear.

I am a proud atheist, but i do not go around, like a preacher, announcing what i do or do not believe. I teach in a catholic school so i know the consequence when people find out that i think of their gods as fairy tale creatures. and also, i live in a place that have a very firm belief in god, so life would be hard for me once people knew im atheist. and like what jean had said, people like us gets our share of cruelty from... well almost everyone who is not like us.

that is all... God bless us all!

I just say 'talking to yourself again eh?'
Bye for now is easy to say.
Dave Allen would say ;may your god go with you' I would add 'which ever one you choose.
Proud theist: "God bless you."
Humble atheist: "Who?"

Proud theist: "I'll pray for you."
Humble atheist: "To whom?"
i never let it bother me. most of the time people say these things out of habit and are generally meaningless.
Perhaps I wasn't totally clear about what I meant... I was specifically talking about at the end of an Atheist v Theist debate. This generally happens to me when I am approached by someone who wishes to tell me the "good news" or someone knocks on my front door with the same intention (usually Jehovas witnesses) or if there are particularly loud and obnoxious preachers working a public space and shouting offensive things about hell, homosexuality or the obligation of women to obey their husbands. Under any of these circumstances I like to come out fighting and make my position clear. As you so rightly say James, uninvited commentary provokes animosity and I never invite their commentary; I merely respond to it when it is foisted on me!

There is a fairly predictable pattern to all this, they approach and ask something like, "Have you thought about why we are all here? What's the point of your life?" I then say, "Yes thankyou, I've thought about it quite a lot." But generally, they are not satisfied with this and want to know if I have reached any conclusion. I explain that, strictly speaking, I don't think there is a 'point' to it all but, seeing as I am here I will try to live my life in such a way that, at it's end I feel satisfied with my acheivements and that when I am gone people will remember me with love. The conversation generally deteriorates at this point because, when they realise that I am not 'saved' they become very eager to offer my soul an opportunity to avoid the fires of hell. At this point my patience runs out and I explain that I was happily about my day when they chose to invade my space with an uninvited and unwanted fairy story. They then say, "God bless you, I'll pray that Jesus opens your eyes" in an infuriatingly smug 'I got the last word' kind of way and I think, "Hang on, you had the first word here, I think I will have the last one" but until recently all I could think of to say was "Whatever" which always felt deeply unsatisfying. So I worked on something better.

So you see, I'm not talking about just a quick "God bless" at the end of a normal conversation, to which I would probably use my first response as this is heartfelt but non-confrontational. But in a situation where I have been accosted with an uninvited sermon, I think a slightly more barbed response is entirely in order. I don't know about you all but, I am no longer content to remain a passive Atheist. It just makes it to easy for the theists to convince themselves that I'm only Atheist because I haven't thought it through properly. I most certainly have!
I've never used this response, but I have it at the ready - "Go ahead, if you're comfortable thinking you know better than your god"


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