August 06, 2006

Religion: And Gooba Gooba Gooba You, too!

So a post of mine got accepted into the Carnival of the Godless, and on my way there I stopped by at Atheist Revolution, where vjack was puzzling about the etiquette of ending letters with "yours in Christ". Needless to say, he's rather underwhelmed receiving business mail signed this way.

It reminded me of dropping off one of the guests from the knitting retreat the Significant Other and I catered. It was forbidden that I should discuss politics or religion, so it was only on the drive out that I discovered that she was a devout Christian Republican married to a state senator who is fighting my province on the lumber tarrifs. We would have had so much to discuss, too! Anyways, I kept it polite and when we parted at the train station she said,

"Jesus bless you."

This phrase has no real meaning for me: when I say I'm an atheist, I mean it. Mohammed, Jesus, Yahweh, Buddha, Zeus, Lao Tzu, Baron Samedi and the Flying Spaghetti Monster all hold the exact same moral weight in my life. I didn't have anything to say back to her, having already wished her well on the trip, so I replied rather lamely "You, too."

Now, which of the two parting lines would you consider more appropriate:

1) "Have a safe flight home!"
2) "Glory be! Blessings from Gaia Earth Mother upon you!"

Me, I'll stick with the first. For much the same reason, I tend to say "Gesundheit" ("sound health") instead of "Bless you" when someone sneezes. Maybe I'm being silly about not doling out blessings left and right, but I'd just rather say something that has some kind of meaning.


posted by Thursday at 3:38 pm


Blogger vjack said...

Thanks for the mention. Always appreciated. And don't even get me started on the whole "bless you" thing. The idea that one needs to say anything after someone sneezes is absurd. I may be one of the few who make no comment of any kind after someone sneezes, but I can live with that. Personally, hearing "bless you" strikes me as about the same as hearing "f--k you" would.

9:14 am  
Blogger Thursday said...

No worries - your post was worth mentioning.

I figure that the making of noises when someone sneezes is on the same level of politeness as saying "pardon me" when you belch. A basically harmless acknowledgement.

But "God bless you" still sounds like "Gooba gooba gooba" to me. A polite "gooba gooba gooba", sure, but still essentially meaningless.

5:47 pm  

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