Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 07:52:48 -0400 From: Robert Ness Subject: Re: the mindlessness of "bless you" as an athiest, do you take similar offense at goodbye (god be with ye) or so long (salaam aleikoum)? On Thu, 23 Oct 1997, Ron Butters wrote: > >What in the world is so mindless with > >saying "Bless you". Please > >elaborate on your view of it being > >mindless. > > Okay! > 1. Since a sneeze is rarely if ever dangerous (at least to the sneezer), it > strikes me as mindless to be prayed over simply because I sneezed. People > don't say "Bless you" after farts, burps, or (usually) coughs, so why > sneezes? (I realize that there are folk-explanations for the sneezee's "Bless > you," some or all of which may be historically accurate, but that is beside > the point. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that the custom is > mindless, rather than the act of saying "Bless you"!) > > 2. As an atheist, I'm unot especially delighted when people saying prayers on > my behalf (at least vocal ones in my presence). It seems rather "mindless" to > assume that I want to be prayed over! > > I should add that I am much too polite a person not to respond with "thank > you" to a proferred "Bless you"--in fact, what maybe others me REALLY about > the "Bless you" routine is that sometimes people seem irritated with me if I > don't say "Bless you" when THEY sneeze. > > I should add also that I don't have a lot invested in all this--there are a > LOT of times when I feel out of touch with my own culture, as for example > when people ASSUME that I am interested in sports (who IS Dean Smith, > anyway?--recently somebody asked me to observe a moment of silence in honor > of Mr. Smith's impending retirement!) or that I drink alcoholic beverages. >