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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 (26 - 50)

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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.


I accept it and move on. Even when told to have a blessed day. We may not share beliefs, but I love and respect them nonetheless, and if they wish me that, I will always accept it.


In situations like that I try not to be confrontational either. I just agree with a yup like you and move on. It's not worth the hustle. The exception being when they say that and then try to give you a pamphlet or something of that sort if I have time I go into the whole I'm an atheist thing and what not but most likely I just say no thank you and move on


Your response was good enough.

There was no debate here nor was the other person trying to purposely create debate.


Yep. Why cause division. Our opinions are valuable to us. preferable to leave someone feeling better or at least the same.


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

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.


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.


It's nice to be nice


That's exactly what I do in those situations.


I am in agreement with everyone who said you handled it correctly. I see no reason to cast a shadow on someone's nice day, unless they are proselytizing, and it sounds like the old woman wasn't. Even when the JWs accost me on the sidewalk, I just say "I'm an atheist, so no thank you. Have a nice day." and then I go about my business. I see no reason to be confrontational about things that I think are nonsense. The only time someone else's religious beliefs concern me is when they try to implant those beliefs in our secular government.


good for you sharing a moment of joy & a few pleasantries with a fellow human being... there's no need to be confrontational or to create negative energy.


literally the same thing happened to me on Friday. got into an elevator and this elderly lady said. it is a beautiful day. i said yes it is. with all smiles. then comes "praise the lord for this beautiful day" and by this time the elevator has reached the 3rd floor where i would get off. i replied good day to you too and go on with my day.

Ewket Level 4 June 16, 2019

You did well, being confrontational in that situation is similar to teaching pigs to sing, not only is it a waste of time, it annoys the pig.


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.


Yes, It’s a beautiful day.


It was a well intended, conditional response most likely. Your response was perfect.


Same thing why be rude they don't know any better

bobwjr Level 9 June 17, 2019

Wise to not be confrontational.

We know the religious are, sadly #Religulous...suffering delusions. suffering the brain-washing of myths since childhood.

You're brave, bold, and open-minded for NOT conflicting with the #religulous. I have some good friends who, sadly, are stuck in that frame of mind....but they're still good people.


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.


"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.


I consider these types of things non-issues
I’ll still throw out a god bless you here and there
You did well because that was right for you


Id have simply said yes ma'am. Being respectful of others and their beliefs isnt a compromise of ur own. Never understand why atheist feel the need to be rude, confrontational, and cause a scene. Ur not gonna change their beliefs any more than theyre gonna changes urs so why does it need to go any further than that. Now, if u try to force ur religion on me, then weve got a different story. Then ill be confrontational, question ur intelligence, and belittle ur religion. But no need to be that way with a lil old lady trying to be polite a respectful. She maybe lonely, and her conversation with u may have been the highlight of her day.


How about this, "Will you blame him when a storm rolls in?"

MrLink Level 8 June 16, 2019

Someone wants to express their joy, it's not an injury or affront and doesn't rise to the level of annoyance then I just ignore it. But if they try to preach at me or otherwise try to bring me down then I can be a rather passive aggressive asshole.

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