After almost a lifetime of wrangling with the idea of whether or not there existed some kind of a "magical" being i'm very happy and content in my personal conclusion that there is not! I read other peoples thoughts and arguments about the subject but for me it is all moot. its a personal decision each person makes or doesn't on their own However i'd like to ask anyone who may know, how does an Atheist like me acknowledge someone when they sneeze?

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Welcome to world of atheism! As far as sneezing goes, I was brought up in a conservative Christian environment and I still haven't broken the habit of saying "bless you". I've heard it mentioned before that "Gesundheit" can be used as a replacement phrase. It simply means "health" in German.
Hi Scarlette, thanks for the reply. I was going to write also "besides Gesundheit" LOL I had thought it might mean bless you in German but after you replied i translated it and it actually means "health" so i guess i can still use that. To tell you the truth though i'd like something better that that (no offense to Germans) There should be a universally accepted Atheist word for it!!!
I've had several joking atheistic responses evolve over the years and I still use them on occasion for comedic effect, but usually I just say " Are you ok? Need a drink/tissue?" when someone coughs or sneezes. The knee jerk obligatory response out of "politeness" just doesn't make sense to me.
I'm not sure but i think it has to do from something from the old days. Something about when you sneeze your heart stops briefly or something like that
During the Dark Ages sneezing was an early sign of the plague or you may be coming down with the plague so they would go get the priest to give you the last rites or "bless you". The saying goes back to about 550ad.
Here's an interesting article at Snopes. The version that I had heard was that we say "Bless You!" because when we sneeze our soul leaves our body for a second giving those pesky demons a chance to possess us, oh noes!
Sounds every bit as rational as the other.

Sometimes I like to say "I quite agree" when someone sneezes. 





I haven't given up the habit either. If it makes someone else feel a little better when you say it, what's the harm? No one believes that a blessing is being put upon them. At least, I hope no one really believes that... I don't get offended when someone says "bless you" to me... but I'm a stickler for manners, so I find it nice that they said anything at all. People can be so rude! Haha! Other than saying something in another language, I can't think of anything else to say. I do like Jewelz "Do you need a tissue?"

Maybe a general question about their health would be appropriate?

But what would you say to a total stranger?


I always use 'Gesundheit'.
I typically use Gesundheit as well.


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