When atheists hear a sneeze

The answer might be obvious, but I’m curious, anyway. Do atheists say anything when someone sneezes?

I say “Gesundheit”.

This one says “bless you.”

Or, I might yell at the top of my lungs, “WHERE’S YOUR GOD NOW, CHRIST-BOY!”

Usually just “bless you.”

I was taught it’s polite to say “bless you”, and my atheistic status hasn’t overriden ingrained habit.

I offer a Kleenex, if there’s one handy, but I usually just say nothing.

Just as my blind friends all use common expressions like “see you next week” or “nice to see you again,” even though (obviously) they can’t really see, my experience with non-religious friends has been that they use all the same God-related words and phrases everybody else does- they just don’t take the words seriously or literally.

A FEW atheists go out of their way to use non-religious phrases, but most don’t take the trouble. After all, we’re most likely to mention God on the spur of the moment, without thinking. When something exciting happens, we exclaim “Oh my God,” when someone sneezes, we say “God bless you,” almost reflexively.

But then, we ALL use phrases and expressions that don’t reflect our true core beliefs. An Englishman who exclaims “By Jove” isn’t REALLY honoring the Roman god Jupiter! Even a Jew or agnostic in Ireland is liable to yell "Jesus, Mary and Joseph, when he touches a hot kettle!

Little religion-based sayings like that have little to do with whether you follow that religion. It’s just what you say. When I’m angry, I use blasphemous curses like anyone even though I may not believe in the things I am yelling.

I commonly say something like “Gesundhiet” which may have some German reference to a god contained within (I don’t know), but it’s truly used as the social lubricant that it is in a society that does contain a few members who believe in a god. I might also say “Bless You” or some such, which hardly means I’m calling upon a god in which I do not believe (perhaps it means I myself am blessing you). It’s similar to the usage of “How are You?” While there are situations where I might use that phrasing to seek true knowledge of the state of someone’s affairs, generally it is used as a social lubricant that is a prelude to addressing the true questions at hand and does not mean I want to hear about the latest quirks exhibited by your gall bladder. And most people understand that.

I’ve been known, on rare occassion, to blurt out a “Goddamn!” that only expresses my momentary frustration/anger in the lingua franca of my society without, I suspect, much of anyone thinking that I am really calling for thunderheads to form. So, using some form of common expression that, usually irreverently, invokes a regious icon in a society dominated by that religion means little with regard to the speaker’s cosmological beliefs.

Perhaps I could train myself to say something like, “Well, piss on a stick!” when upset?

I’ve tossed out quite a few “Merry Christmas” in my time…, it has a meaning for me that works for me and my alternate cosmology friends(you know, Christians) as well.

“May the blind, random forces of natural selection have provided you with an immune system capable of suppressing the infectious agent which caused you to sneeze (although if they did not, it is of course useless to petition or implore them in any way); unless, of course, you are sneezing as the result of an allergy caused by an overactive immune system. Here, have a hankie.”

[sub]Either that, or “Gesundheit”, which literally means “Healthiness”, and is thus godless, although merely saying the word is not likely to actually affect your health one way or the other.[/sub]

We are under strict orders from Moscow to say, “Bless you, comrade!”

I say ‘Gesundheit’. It’s German for ‘Good Health’.

No need for compromises on my part, and it’s pretty universally accepted.

I have a friend who says “Congratulations!” whenever someone sneezes.

I usually say, “Bless you,” though I’ll pop the “god” in now and then.

Just because I don’t believe in God doesn’t mean the saying “God bless you” doesn’t have meaning there. Plus, saying things like “Hail Eris” usually involves explaing which most people don’t want to or need to hear.

As well, this applies to “God damn” and “Go to hell.” The meaning is there, regardless of those things existence.

I say prosit (a few people should know what that means).

Gesundheit works for me.

I get offended when someone says “bless you” to me after I sneeze. Who are they to force their religion upon me? It’s a Christian conspiracy to get me into their oppressive fold, so they can control my thoughts and my spirit to live life instead of fearing death. Not to mention their greedy shake down of my hard earned dollars.

Tell me what the difference is between the following two statements?

  1. Pay us protection money or we’ll burn your store.
  2. Pay us a donation or you’ll burn in hell.

Any way you turn it, it looks like extortion to me.

When I make donations, I make donations to the Red Cross, UNICEF, and other worthy causes where I know my money will do good.

The donations you make to your ministry are spent on enriching their “Business”. When I see the stuff they spend the money on I just get so pissed off. I remember seeing one of those TV evangelist shows with some famous preacher I can’t remember the name of. He had built this “Crystal Cathedral”, which was just an amazing building. I lost my lunch. The place must have cost millions to construct, and those millions came out of the pockets of the victims who were threatened to burn in hell. All that money would have been so much better spent on worthy causes, be it feeding hungry children, medical research, or to save the environment (your choice).

If you are a Christian or a Jew or any other religion, please stop wasting your extra money on your religious organization of choice. Send it instead to a true worthy cause, and if you are still worried of burning in hell, send your money on behalf of your ministry and tell them you did so. If they are truly pious, they will “Bless you” for it. If they complain and still threaten you with hell fire, then it’s just a Mafia gang in sheep’s clothing.

Sorry for the Hijack. (I think I will start a thread on this topic in the pit).


Usually, I say “Bless you” or nothing at all.

If I’m in a witty mood, I’ll say “You’re sooooo good looking!”

OK, I’m switching to this. Unless you have a trademark on it Revtim.

For anyone interested, I did start a new thread on this in GB. Although perhaps it belongs in the Pit.

Anyway, here it is.



I say “Aaaaaa-cheewwww!!!”

Oh wait, you mean when someone else sneezes.

No, I don’t say anything. I duck for cover sometimes.

Usually ‘Bless you’. Even if you are pretty sure there is no God, do you really want to risk a friend or coworker being possessed by a demon when their soul temporarily leaves their body with the sneeze?