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Sneezing- What to say when someone says "God Bless You."

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Marnieworld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-05 02:33 PM
Original message
Sneezing- What to say when someone says "God Bless You."
I have had pretty bad allergies most of my life. I've also never believed in God nor came from a religious family. I recall spring days in school when I would have sneezing fits and class would eventually stop waiting for me to stop sneezing. FIrst it would be one or two polite, "God bless yous" then a few more insistent ones as if to say "Enough Already." Eventually I would hear, "Enough Already". So needless to say, I have an issue with the phrase.

However, in a normal scenario, a sneeze or two, it's still annoying. It's like a regular religion test anywhere you are. Most of the time I ignore it. Sometimes, especially if I'm sneezy, I announce that I am very blessed and I don't need anymore blessings. It's just such an inane convention "God Bless You" "Thank you." What the hell does it all mean anyway?

But of course I hate that it puts me in a position to say thanks and then it implies that I believe in God. If I ever said in response, "There is no God but thanks anyway," that would be unnecessarily hostile to someone not even thinking when they say it but it is a temptation. What about "and a 'Hail Satan' to you too?" or a ,"I hope I don't get a cold Praise Allah."

I really feel the phrase has a purpose more or less as to say, "Hey! You sneezed" and I've actually said this on occassion to people to rebel. My favorite is of course when on Seinfeld they decided to say, "You're soooooo good looking."

So does anyone else cringe when they hear this or am I just an evil secularist?
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-05 02:48 PM
Response to Original message
1. I like to say "gesundheit"
But then, sometimes I also say "bless you." Sure, it's meaningless, but good manners aren't really about conveying content.

As far as "bless you" I've never seen the point of making issue with it. Somebody is being polite, so I am polite back, and say "thank you!"

It's similar to when people say they will pray for me. Why not? I appreciate that they care about me.
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YankeyMCC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-05 03:15 PM
Response to Original message
2. Take a look at the
"God damn it! and other exclamations" Thread.

I like Az's suggestions:

When someone says "God Bless you." you respond "Doesn't work on me." I supposed you could add "But thanks anyway." to be polite.

And to acknoweldge someone else sneezing I am now going to use the "Sneeze Acknowledged". I like that better than Gesundheit which means "Good Health" and would be perfectly acceptable to me otherwise because I think many people think it means "god bless you" so "Sneeze Acknowledged" sends a message without hostility and perhaps a touch of humor.
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zippy890 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-05 04:16 PM
Response to Original message
3. I don't say anything when someone sneezes
and I don't say anything when someone says 'god bless you' when I sneeze.

It just seems stupid to me, always has, and yes I do cringe.

I think its based on an old superstition.

How about when someone says "Ill pray for you" !!!
I've responsed, politely, no thanks, pray for yourself if you want... or something to that effect.


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Lars39 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-05 09:40 PM
Response to Original message
4. Burtworm(?) suggested saying "Shazzamm!!!"
:)
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politicat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-05 09:49 PM
Response to Original message
5. Friends with little boys say " Dog Sniff you!"
But they're odd.

DH and I say "Excuse".
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opiate69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-05 09:52 PM
Response to Original message
6. Might be a good way to open an interesting conversation..
Edited on Tue Apr-05-05 09:55 PM by opiate69
If time and circumstances allow, you can say something like "Thanks.. oh, and by the way, do you know why we say that when someone sneezes?" and then tell them this:

"The connection of sneezing to the plague is not the first association of sneezing with death. According to Man, Myth, and Magic: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mythology, Religion and the Unknown, many cultures, even some in Europe, believe that sneezing expels the soul--the "breath of life"--from the body. That doesn't seem too far-fetched when you realize that sneezing can send tiny particles speeding out of your nose at up to 100 miles per hour!"

Of course, if you fell comfortable, you can morph that into "now, I don't actually believe in souls, etc...."

(edited to add link)http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mgesundheit.html
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WMliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-10-05 09:22 PM
Response to Original message
7. Voltaire Bless You
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Taxloss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-12-05 07:45 AM
Response to Reply #7
11. It's clever, but no individual should be elevated to the Godhead.
That way (religious) madness lies.
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fshrink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-11-05 12:24 AM
Response to Original message
8. I say "Salut" or nothing.
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pauliedangerously Donating Member (843 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-11-05 10:42 AM
Response to Original message
9. I wouldn't get too bent out of shape about it
I had a Baptist boss a long time ago who would get puzzled when I said that to him after he sneezed. He would ask me how I could say such a thing not believing in God. "It's easy," I would reply, "just as easy as saying 'Our Father, who art in Heaven,'" Sometimes for effect, I would look upward reverently and say, "Father forgive this poor fool, for he knows not what he does."

I think using that phrase is just good manners and not an assertion of belief. Sneezing is pretty gross, and it's nice to let someone off the hook for involuntarily spewing mucus mist.
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Modem Butterfly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-11-05 11:04 AM
Response to Original message
10. I just nod, or, if they can't see me, I say "thanks"
I live in the Bible belt, and I have terrible allergies in the spring, so I'm pretty used to hearing it. I don't say it myself of course, instead, I say, "You okay?" or "Do you need a tissue?"

I have bad allergies in the spring, and also, I'm allergic to whatever dust settles on our employee files, so I sneeze a lot. Some people in my office would bless me repeatedly throughout the day. I've started saying, "Thanks, but I'm going to be sneezing a lot due to allergies. I won't consider it rude if you consider me sufficiently blessed," and they usually thank me for letting them off the hook.
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