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What would you have said?

I usually hang out in the park for a while midway through about a 5 mile walk for exercise. So yesterday I was in the park and an elderly woman walks towards me on the path as I'm sitting on a bench. She says something to the effect of, "It's a wonderful day today isn't it?". So I say yes it is, and then she continues with, "Thank God for that!" or "Praise God for that!".

So in a split second I'm processing every possible response to that and just muster up a "Yep". Then I talk about how my allergies weren't allowing me to fully enjoy the nice day and a little small talk ensues. Then she walks off and once again says, "Thank God for the beautiful day!". Again, I just said "Yep". I guess I compromised with staying true to myself and not saying something like "Thank God!", but also not being confrontational with just saying "Yep".

What would you have said in that situation?

Piece2YourPuzzle 8 June 16

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99 comments

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2

Kind of sick of "letting it go".
I'm just going to start telling everyone who even mentions their stupid religious
beliefs, to keep their delusions to themselves.
I don't care if they're just trying to be "nice".
Their assumptions do not require my compliance.

Nor do they necessarily deserve someone being confrontational in return. It is often far better to just agree noncommittally and leave.

@Rob1948 You do you. Everyone else gets to do as they see fit.

@KKGator I have no problem with disagreeing. I just see no reason to be confrontational with strangers.

@KKGator Smack em in the side of the head with a shovel, I'm telling ya.

@Rob1948 If approached by a stranger, of any age, I have every right to be confrontational. I have no idea what someone else's agenda may be.
Especially if they start prattling on about their god.
In my experience, it pays to stay on guard.

@KKGator In the situation described above, if you would be confrontational, why? You weren’t attacked. And, even if you consider the comment God and have a nice day a reason to be confrontational; she wished you a nice day.

If that deserves confrontation, I would hate to think how you would react to other situations where people actually challenge your beliefs to your face. Is that sufficient to start a verbal or physical attack?

@Rob1948 Depends on the situation. I rule out nothing.
I'm so sick of being told to be less confrontational. Why should I be?
I'm not approaching total strangers and getting in their faces about
my non-belief. That would be rude and unnecessary.

However, why do I have to "turn the other cheek" when some delusional
religutard does it to me?
Like I said, it depends on the situation.

4

Good question. "I'm sorry," the x-ray technician replied when I said "I'm an atheist."

Hoped this would shut him up. Then I asked him to stop talking about his God.

He acted like being an atheist is a terminal disease.

Damned if you do; damned if you don't. Either way, you get a lecture.

Someone asked my where I'm loitering nowadays to post in public fora. I gave him the agnostic.com link. I got back:

"Oooooooooooh my"

And then crickets. I've known this guy for years. What part of "I'm an atheist." he didn't believe, I do not know. smh

I had a phlebotomist go on and on about how gays were destroying the planet. Since he was a man with a needle in my arm I just kept quiet, but after he left I went to the nurses station and explained why I never wanted him in my room again. To be honest, I really hope he got fired or at least had a reprimand placed in his files.

@kiramea

Thank you for your reply. I will report the x-ray technician.

Both times I had x-rays, he raved about how God guides his life.

@kiramea

I called and reported that x-ray technician. His manger will call me back.

I said I don't want him to give me x-rays; and have an x-ray appointment next week.

"He ranted and raved about how God saved him and influences his decisions," I said. "I told him I'm an atheist to politely shut him up. It didn't work. He acted like my being an atheist is a terminal disease."

The person who answered the phone in Incident Management apologized. She said they will make sure he doesn't give me x-rays anymore.

7

My son's mom and I don't agree on much, but we often just say Akunamatata, at the end of a dispute.

Yeah, I am always up for a scrap with a godbot. When presented with an opportunity, I love to throw a subtle logic bomb their direction.

Despite, some fights worth fighting, take time to enjoy life.

You did the right thing. Nature painted a picture for you to enjoy. She thanked a sky fairy. So what? Akunamatata.

I like that

sky fairy, lol!

@Tomaf
My bad. Akunamatata.

6

It's a problem for me too, and people like that bring it. There's so much wrong with it it's mind numbing and it makes me want to scream. One of these days I just might go off on someone and it'll be some sweet little old lady... Actually I might have said "Whatever" or "Yes, it is a very nice day". Her second comment upon exit was a clever "I won this one" to which I would have said "Now wait just a minute!" (Just kidding). Everyone here is being so evolved and above it all; how honorable and decent and lazy and better than someone who might smile and say "I'm not religious but that shouldn't matter, right? It's still a beautiful day." Just because you disagree with someone doesn't mean you have to go to war with them, or be confrontational or start a debate on the street, even though they instigated it. Just have some integrity and be true to yourself. The alternative is not to, and bend to all these little tricks to show your colors: are you one of them? It's a little arrogant that it doesn't matter to them. They either assume you're a believer but if you're not, fuck you, you should have been. At this point in human evolution they could at least try to be more open to the possibility that not everyone is just like them and ASK first if you're a believer. If you are it won't insult you. Is it too much of an imposition to expect them to be at minimum at least as polite as they expect us to be? That's not too much to ask, to meet me half way. They're still free to say "Well, Jesus still loves you anyway and God made the sun and the moon and blah, blah, blah." Whatever. And there you have the real reason they opened their pie-hole in the first place. They're just using a nice day as a pretext to barf their belief on you. (I'm being a little tongue-in-cheek here. Learn to laugh okay?)

So look, I don't go looking for these type of questions but if you're going to put them on here and I stumble across them, I'm going to be honest and open and give an answer that isn't just p.c., which to me is usually b.s. I'm probably just as annoyed that I do keep running across these here, where I come to be away from pod people and not have to keep explaining that I'm atheist and it's okay.

Your honesty and openness is appreciated by me.

I have to admit when people start "Blessing me" or "Wish you a Blessed Day" nonsense - that's precisely how I feel. lol

@RavenCT Oh, I HATE that line "Have a blessed day." It sounds so condescending and insincere. Some day I may be in just the mood to stop somebody in the process of spewing that drivel and bark, "What does that even MEAN? EXPLAIN IT!" And then pick them apart verbally when they try. It takes a lot of self control not to do it so far.

@Deb57 I am losing it. Since I first commented on this post I ran across someone who started driveling, and I interjected that I'm not "that way" and relayed the joke about the priest who, at a funeral said "We're gathered here today, because your prayers didn't work." She didn't laugh. That is another tell about these people... they won't have a sense of humor. I honestly just tried to keep the conversation light with a little humor, but she's the one who went all dark. Ruined her day. ... and now that I think about it, good.

3

She had no way of knowing your beliefs unless you wear a sign that says you’re an atheist. It’s not like she was trying to proselytize you either. Your response was appropriate given the interaction I think. You won’t change her beliefs and you won’t change hers. Just let it be

The problem is that she assumed he believes just as she does.

@bingst well that’s true but I find that most people do especially living in Texas like I do. I just feel I would rather pick and choose my battles and that wouldn’t be mine but If that’s someone else then have at it... lol

2

How is "Yep" confrontational?

It's not.

but also NOT being confrontational with just saying "Yep".

@Piece2YourPuzzle OK. I guess I read that too fast the first time. lol

3

I feel so sorry for you guys. I would literally freak if anyone said that to me. Even as a mental health professional, I would imagine they were unwell. It would be sooo weird in UK. It is far more likely that people start ranting about football or Brexit or brown people...to which I would not care about protecting their feelings!

Amisja Level 8 June 16, 2019

In my neck of the woods if a person says, "nice day" it is almost always follow it with a "thank god and/or Jesus etc. . . " When they interject their god delusion I come to the come conclusion that they are mentally unwell. I will respond to such assertions depending on who they are. If they are a preacher, I'll happily engage with them asking them, as they claim to be honest and speaking truth, to provide testable evidence that their god even exists. I have brought one preacher to tears when he realized he was doing more harm (dishonestly promoting faith (belief without evidence) as truth (things that can be demonstrated with facts)) then good. As for old women - - - unless they come to my door to preach, I will usually respond with a variant of "You are free to believe that" or "whatever makes you happy is good." If the question my answer I will respond "you really don't want me to answer that question" If they press. . ."I believe our world view should be based on reality not baseless faith based assertions that often contradict reality." etc.

It's weird to see people say something like "Thank God" and it's "normal", right? But if someone talked in the same way about Casper The Ghost or Godzilla or King Kong, people would give a look of disbelief or confusion as to think that person is off their rocker.

4

Old people are often lonely.
“Yes Mam, I do believe we’re very lucky to be sharing this day.”

I'm old and lonely too, but I don't go around using any little excuse to impose my personal beliefs on others, expecting that to impress them. They would make more friends from us if they'd respect that and us.

@AlbertSchepis Understood. I’m just not that sensitive. I have a soft spot for the elderly. They get a pass from me.

4

"I gotta go, I'm catching a Richard Dawkins lecture at noon."
Then hit her on the side of the head with a shovel.

I'm picturing it in my mind lol

I like it.

4

Almost without thinking, I usually say, "Thank, Buddha."

Of course, Buddha doesn't have anything to do with the weather at all. And besides, Buddha was just a human being, and he's dead now. And I also like Bodhidharma, but's that's too many syllables.

mischl Level 7 June 16, 2019
4

you stupid old deluded bag..

Would you be my neighbor? ........

i might have thought that for a second but never would have said it.
those ppl are mostly harmless, & i suppose most are nice enough.

3

What I always say... "Nature IS awesome, no gods required."

good one!

10

Why argue with an old lady out enjoying the day? IMO, you did the right thing. No point in getting bitter and fighting everyone who uses a figure of speech to express happiness or contentment. Live and let live.

2

You could ruin your day and beat your head against the wall and say something, or you could ignore her unless you won't able to sleep at night if you don't. You could say, "there is no god, " you could say "fuck god," but you're only doing it to make your self feel better about not responding. Regardless of what you say, her opinion won't change. Or, if you wanted to really make a statement, you could have said, "yeah god gave me these allergies." 🙂

lerlo Level 8 June 16, 2019

I like to picture scenarios in my head, and saying "Fuck God!" reminds me of a comedy movie setting kind of like in the movie "Big Daddy" in the park telling a emo type dude that he's mad at his dad lol

6

I would agree it’s a lovely day but I won’t be thanking a mythical sky fairy since I am an atheist. If that is enough to piss someone off then too bad.

I won’t be in collusion with her delusion. I don’t know why I need to be sensitive to her beliefs when she isn’t to mine. If atheists don’t stand up for their beliefs and let people know who they are, then the fakes win.

You make a good point. Sure religious proselytizing is often made with good intentions, but it steps on my toes and threatens my spot in the community.

7

Perfect passive/aggressive response...

Aren't allergies evidence against "intelligent design"?

camne Level 7 June 16, 2019

No amount of evidence will shake people who believe such things.

5

It was a good response. She was saying it with good intentions; she wasn’t trying to be disrespectful or acting like a jerk. That simple “yep” was appropriate.

CS60 Level 7 June 16, 2019
6

As the spouse of a pastor who did her thing in mostly conservative rural Montana I have been constantly confronted with this dilema. For the most part I did exactly as you did. I figured that I was no more likely to change their mind than they were to change mine.

I'm not sure I was right! Thank God etc. sounds kindly and innocuous but really it is intended to be in your face and intimidating. Too often the hidden message is something like, "I'm a believer and you should be too if you know what is good for you. Maybe the best response is the one my father often gave, "Thank God I'm an Athiest."

karl Level 5 June 16, 2019

...and with many people it is just their vernacular.

4

Good idea to have an answer ready for opportunities like that - when it feels appropriate to inform strangers that not everyone they meet believes in God/s. It's not always appropriate, but when it is, it's a great opportunity to open up a thoughtful dialog, and let a little bit of light into a closed mind.

I would probably say something like: "Yep, nature is wonderful, whether you believe in God or not! For me, I'm an atheist, so I can pause in awe and wonder at all the many natural factors that went into making this perfect day!"

(Substitute Agnostic, Skeptic, Happy Humanist, Naturalist, Free thinker, Rationalist...)

If it's a stranger, I don't mind reminding them not everyone they meet believes in God.

If it's a friend (everyone knows I'm atheist) well they got their jab in, and I can take the high road and just smile and keep my mouth shut.

I said something similar to what you typed in your first few sentences.

3

I probably would not have responded to the comment at all. If interested in conversing with the god-obsessed, I try to redirect the topic. I it doesn't work, I either excuse myself from conversing or let them know I am not a believer. Usually the former.

Deb57 Level 8 June 16, 2019

I wish I'd said that...

2

The elderly lady did not specify WHICH god to thank. Zeus? Odin? Amon-Ra? Krishna? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? Is there a deity that is specifically in charge of nice weather or pleasant days? It's very confusing.

I think it was the God of Damn.

8

I believe our responses should be calibrated to a given situation. When someone is really being over the top annoying, then I respond in kind back to them. But a little ole lady in the circumstance you described, does not warrant a full frontal attack response.I would have kept conversation to a minimum given her perspective, so I think the "yep" is fine. I would have left it at that. The over the top religious are a pain in the ass. So are the over the top atheists. Actually anyone who is over the top in whatever it is that interests them is a pain in the ass.

Definition of a Fanatic: Someone who won't change his/her mind and won't change the subject.

6

I would have said, "Yes, praise Satan for such a beautiful day! Perfect weather for a campfire orgy with my coven later tonight."

KIDDING, I would have just said yep too LOL. Gotta pick your battles.

Lmao

3

I liked your response, in view of the circumstances. If a religious response is expected, I normally resist: 'Merry Xmas' always gets 'Happy Soltice' or 'Happy Saturnalia' or 'God Yul'.

Arouet Level 7 June 16, 2019

I don't have a problem with Merry Christmas, I heard it growing up, I'm one of those that does not find Merry Christmas offensive in any way. I also have no issues with happy hanukkah for the Jewish people.

6

Meanwhile, In Dallas today, we had a tornado warning.

J75243 Level 6 June 16, 2019

I suppose we can "Thank God" for the tornados too? But not the warning systen; that is man made from scientific research.

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