Have A Blessed Day.

     Most times, I can ignore this. I just go my own way, don’t acknowledge it.  Occasionally, I kinda shake my head as I walk away. However, last week at Mickey D’s, the cashier told me to “ Have a blessed day”.  I looked the cashier straight in the eye and said, “ And you have a good day “.

     Like I said, most times I ignore this, as I mostly understand it is kind of generic saying, like saying bless you when someone sneezes. However this time, it irritated me, like sand in my swim trunks or a rock in my shoe. I thought it was kind of innocuous, not acknowledging any dieties or gods, but still hoping the person to have a good day.

     The cashier said “ I will with god”, to which I said “ I will without god”. Got a stunned look, needless to say.  I was with a friend who is a lukewarm christian at best. She knows I’m an atheist, always said she didn’t care. She actually comes to me on occasion to ask about biblical passages. Go figure. Anyway, she accused me of attacking this girl specifically and christianity in general.

     As I tried to explain this to her, I could see her eyes kinda loose focus. Her mind was made up. Nothing I could say or do would change this, so I stopped. Still friends, really hasn’t changed our relationship.

     Still, this got me to thinking. I know I wasn’t out of line, just gave back what I was given. But did I accomplish anything? No. Will it change anything? Again, no.  Am I also closed minded about some things, tune out some things, take umbrage when it is not meant that way? Sometimes, yes. Probably less than the religious people I know,  but it is still within me, this capacity to snark, put down, feel superior just because I find no convincing evidence that I can accept for a divine prescence in the universe, not to mention in my own life.

     So, what to do? Logic and reason seem lacking to most people, hell, to all of us about something. I’ve met a scientist at the balloon facility here, who is thoughtful, logical, rational, doesn’t accept things without good evidence, who believes in UFO’s, as in them having visited and continuing to visit us. I don’t see it.

     I think it’s an emotional thing. As much as most of want to think we are rational, and we probably are moreso than most, we still react emotionally. Which is probably a good thing, mostly. What I mean by that is, anything taken to the extreme, pure logic or pure emotion, would not be optimal for the continued survival of our species, or our own psychological health. We would not be able to function either way, caught like the proverbial deer in the headlights. These two sides of us, when in some semblance of balance, are an asset. They allow us to function daily, to make decisions that require thought and reason, but to also look at a rainbow and go “ Wow”.

     Well, this is getting kinda long, so I’m gonna wrap it up. Just some thoughts I wanted to get down that I have been ruminating on, and felt like sharing with you guys. No definitive answers, but that’s the way it mostly goes. Will give me time for continued reflection. Who knows, I might get an answer I can get behind someday. Probably not, but here’s hoping. Be well.

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Replies to This Discussion

I love your response to the cashier. It only makes sense that if more of us made a friendly comment such as that, it will help us become more comfortable with expressing our beliefs (or disbeliefs) in public and hopefully, help people become more aware that we are part of the community. Close to 20% in some areas.

I work in an academic library, but work with the public as well. It is in the heart of Detroit, so I work with many African American patrons, usually the older ones. SO many tell me "Have a blessed day" and so often I want to say that I don't believe in god. BUT this is my career on the line. If I want a full time contract, I can only say thank you. I suppose there are times when I've said "you have a great day yourself" or something similar.

I used to look at someone offering me a blessed day as sort of an insult - but then began to see it being similar to the people who are offended when someone wishes them "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" (remember, the war on Christians that we secular peeps are forcing on the rest of the country?). Even when I WAS still a believer, HH was a kind gesture and I highly doubt that anyone saying to me was trying to offend. It's just a greeting. Having said that, I can see where we shouldn't respond in kind, but say something similar to Tony's comeback. Although I say I used to be offended, it does bother me now. I don't assume anyone is religious, but the religious assume everyone is.

Tony, I appreciate this post. Sometimes I think we're all expected to be accommodating of people's religious beliefs. For the most part I am. If they want to believe in a fictitious invisible friend and find comfort in that, fine. Good for them. But please don't expect me to step into your fantasy world.

In North America, there is an accepted freedom of religion. I've always smiled and nodded or something when people say such things to me as have a 'blessed day.' I'm at a point now, though, where it's really starting to grate on me. There is an expectation that we behave with civility to believers, but the same doesn't seem to hold true for them.

On Facebook, I've got many friends who are believers and a few who are thinkers. The believes post all kinds of things about God, Jesus and the blessings that come from being a Christian. I glance at them and move on. Yet, I've been unfriended by good Christians for posting something about evolution.

Don't get down on yourself for having an ability to snark. I think that's in all of us to some degree. Eventually the frustration boils over and in this case, the cashier was the straw that broke the camel's back. So you snapped. You're human. And besides, God will forgive you! :)

Derek, I have a lot of empathy for you. Your believer friends on Facebook who unfriended you were not being at all fair to you!
I haven't gone on Facebook for several months now for similar reasons. I didn't post something my believer "friends" wouldn't like, but I commented favorably on an atheist friend's post that was critical of religion. Nobody had responded to him. I refused to leave him there alone twisting in the wind. After that most of my cousin "friends"went silent toward me. My posts were ignored, my responses saying something positive about their baby pictures or other chatty news from their lives weren't acknowledged anymore etc. Meanwhile one of my cousins churned out Jesus appreciations, buybull quotes and prayer requests every day. There was a lot more god talk from others too. Everyone else in the family was good with that and I had never objected. Before the silent treatment, I hadn't been in contact with my cousins since we were kids, but was able to connect with them on FB. We had been having a really good time getting to know one other again.

Xians can go on & on about beliefs, but we can't speak our minds without paying a social price for it. I like the concept of Christian privilege I mentioned in my previous post as a good umbrella term explaining why the unspoken social rules allow them to speak freely and command us to shut-up. Atheist Nexus is sweet relief.

Thanks for sharing, Diane. I'm starting to suspect this can be a common experience for atheists and free-thinkers. Maybe in cases like that faced by Tony, we can start responding with something like: "And may Sagan open your mind." or "Darwin bless you."

Hey Diane, and all you guys. I want to say thanks for posting your responses. I've been kinda busy, this is the first chance I've had to respond.

Like I said, this just got me to thinking. Why? Why is it ok for others to espouse platitudes that will be accepted without a second thought even by those who, to be generous, are minimal christians at best? Why the deference and acceptence when things like this are said, yet my very minor statement got a response (albiet from one person only who happened to be with me). I did not raise my voice, pontificate, pound the counter, foam at the mouth, or grab the nearest baby and chow down singing the baby back ribs song from Chili's. I'm a laid back kind of person (only eat babies on special occasions. lol!!!)

I think christian privilege might be part of the answer, as you have stated. Also, I've noticed an emotional response to most things. Once you get the old limbic up and running, it's Katie bar the door, run for the hills! Everything is an attack, even if you say to someone " Those are really nice shoes you have " you get attacked. This really causes a wall to communication, to understanding to be raised that can't easily be breached. So mostly, I'm left with the politics of compromise. One way, of course. You say what you want, and I keep my mouth shut. Works for them.

I'm not trying to be confrontational, not really my style. I'd rather deflect with a joke, or even change topic, particularily if I genuinely like the person. There is more to them than an irrational belief, more that I am drawn to, than that. Most of my friends know where I stand, and it's ok most of the time. Cathy and I are still friends, hasn't changed our friendship as far as I can tell. It's just sometimes, I get frustrated beyond my high tolerance for BS, so I speak up. Anyway my friends, thanks for all the responses. Peace to all, and be well.

Tony I think you were spot on with your response, you offered a cordial, warm, well meaning response to her and she became defensive, it's ridiculous of her and your friend to take offense. If after all she is so 'secure' in her faith, why would she be 'offended' by your lack of faith? For instance a few years ago, a cashier at Pier One told me Merry Christmas as I was checking out, I pointed out that my last name was Jewish and she turned red and apologized. She was very sweet about it and absolutely mortified that she might have insulted me, she was simply saying Merry Christmas to patrons out of habit, there was no moral judgment attached to it. That's the proper way for the cashier to handle themselves, after all rule number one is, "The customer is always right" even when they're completely wrong....  Your cashier should have responded with a "Thank you" and  should have simply moved on to the next customer.

Well said, Tony. Derek, I like your idea and 2 good examples. I'm thinking of giving them a try. At least, one can say them and not get an immediate reflexive Xian platitude back. "May Sagan open your mind" will leave them, brow furrowed, puzzling what a Sagan is. "Darwin bless you" seems like a direct approach that will also still allow enough time to make a clean getaway because their jaw will be resting on their clavicle.

Knowing how many Christians feel about Muslims I think the best reply is "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great).  That's friendly enough, while still being off-putting to Christians so it gives them a dose of their own medicine.

Tony, this idea that religious people have a right to express their beliefs anytime, anywhere, and assume everyone agrees with them, angers me to no end.  That is how I just lost a friend on FB (which I am only on with a few relatives now).  I put up a Dawkins quote, and she said "So does this Atheist-thing involve christian bashing?"  Riiiight.  So I pointed-out it was the Old Testaments, so technically it was jewish, lol.  I asked her how come it's alright to put stuff up about praying, and angels, and god, etc.but it wasn't okay for me to put something up about what I DON'T believe.  She said I could have bashed another religion (meaning not hers.)  WhatEVER.  lol.  I feel really immature, but I can't take that crap anymore.  I can't put up with it.  I think what you said was FINE, and you had EVERY RIGHT TO.  I might've even been snarky and said something like "I prefer reality", or "I don't have invisible friends."  Maybe that's why my social-life is getting smaller and smaller? lol.

I get what you're saying and what your post is about.  Thanks for sharing! ~Melinda

I don't have a problem with your reply to the cashier.  Businesses are in business to serve the public and not convert people.  I think you should have asked to speak to the manager.  The customer is always right, you know.  The manager, if a christian may have become angry, but he also may have asked his workers to leave off the bless yous.  Otherwise, you can frequent another establishment.  Thank you for your post.  And as others have said, you can come here for the support you deserve.

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