Have A Blessed Day.

     Most times, I can ignore this. I just go my own way, don’t acknowledge it.  Occasionally, I kinda shake my head as I walk away. However, last week at Mickey D’s, the cashier told me to “ Have a blessed day”.  I looked the cashier straight in the eye and said, “ And you have a good day “.

     Like I said, most times I ignore this, as I mostly understand it is kind of generic saying, like saying bless you when someone sneezes. However this time, it irritated me, like sand in my swim trunks or a rock in my shoe. I thought it was kind of innocuous, not acknowledging any dieties or gods, but still hoping the person to have a good day.

     The cashier said “ I will with god”, to which I said “ I will without god”. Got a stunned look, needless to say.  I was with a friend who is a lukewarm christian at best. She knows I’m an atheist, always said she didn’t care. She actually comes to me on occasion to ask about biblical passages. Go figure. Anyway, she accused me of attacking this girl specifically and christianity in general.

     As I tried to explain this to her, I could see her eyes kinda loose focus. Her mind was made up. Nothing I could say or do would change this, so I stopped. Still friends, really hasn’t changed our relationship.

     Still, this got me to thinking. I know I wasn’t out of line, just gave back what I was given. But did I accomplish anything? No. Will it change anything? Again, no.  Am I also closed minded about some things, tune out some things, take umbrage when it is not meant that way? Sometimes, yes. Probably less than the religious people I know,  but it is still within me, this capacity to snark, put down, feel superior just because I find no convincing evidence that I can accept for a divine prescence in the universe, not to mention in my own life.

     So, what to do? Logic and reason seem lacking to most people, hell, to all of us about something. I’ve met a scientist at the balloon facility here, who is thoughtful, logical, rational, doesn’t accept things without good evidence, who believes in UFO’s, as in them having visited and continuing to visit us. I don’t see it.

     I think it’s an emotional thing. As much as most of want to think we are rational, and we probably are moreso than most, we still react emotionally. Which is probably a good thing, mostly. What I mean by that is, anything taken to the extreme, pure logic or pure emotion, would not be optimal for the continued survival of our species, or our own psychological health. We would not be able to function either way, caught like the proverbial deer in the headlights. These two sides of us, when in some semblance of balance, are an asset. They allow us to function daily, to make decisions that require thought and reason, but to also look at a rainbow and go “ Wow”.

     Well, this is getting kinda long, so I’m gonna wrap it up. Just some thoughts I wanted to get down that I have been ruminating on, and felt like sharing with you guys. No definitive answers, but that’s the way it mostly goes. Will give me time for continued reflection. Who knows, I might get an answer I can get behind someday. Probably not, but here’s hoping. Be well.

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Replies to This Discussion

Enjoyed reading your story!

Thanks, Steph. Always wonderful to hear from you.

I enjoy hearing from you too! Have a wonderful day at work.

Thanks Steph. Getting ready now. Leaving in a couple minutes. The day is so nice here, I have decided to walk in. I only live 1 1/2 miles away, takes me about 35 min, as I kinda meander slowly and listen to my Zune. Peaceful and refershing.

I was on holiday in Austria 2 years ago and got funny looks from the locals when I returned their "Gruss Gott" greeting with "Guten Tag/Abend". There's also some town/country and generation issues there too. The "Gruss Gott" was country/middle-aged, for the most. In Salzburg and with some younger people the "Guten Tag/Abend" was more the norm. Me being in my 50s and spending most of the time walking in the lower Alps, I must have been an aberration from what the locals expected.

I found out too, a couple of days ago, that a FB "friend", although atheist, pro-choice, university educated etc. etc. is a REPUBLICAN! As FB relationships are more superficial, I can't really be bothered to debate the point. Plus I'm not American and live in Europe. I can only expess my political/philosophical views and others have to take or leave them as they see fit.

Well, that's my two penn'orth on convictions and social interaction. Thanks for the original post, Tony. I hope a few others will come with their points of view.

Thanks, Ian. I hope so too. I was just thinking, like I said, and thought I'd let others see what goes on in what little mind I have left. LOL. Seriously, nothing earth shattering, just some swirling thoughts to ponder.

Oh and to answer your question just be yourself and your true friends will stay with you.
You gotta be you.

To me, it sounds like both the cashier and your friend reacted to you based on their non-conscious assertion and protection of christian privilege.  You responded with integrity in a measured way to the cashier's escalation of her assertion of christian privilege. Your friend was outraged because you refused to go along with the cashiers presumed right to assert christian privilege.

A friend of mine told me she was offended that my wife rolled her eyes when my friend announced and commenced a prayer before dinner. It took me awhile to find the words needed to explain to her that she had unconsciously assumed that it was always acceptable to everyone for her to perform a prayer ritual and knowingly ask and expect atheists to comply and actually be a part of her prayer performance. Online I found the concept of christian privilege.

What is christian privilege?
"As a man, it was no wonder that I didn't immediately recognize male privilege. That's kind of the point. Like male privilege, White privilege, and the like, the easiest way to recognize Christian privilege is probably by considering a few examples. .

  • An American Christian can affix a Jesus fish to his or her car without having to give vandalism a second thought. And yet, I do not get to place any sort of symbol promoting science, reason, or atheism on my car for fear of vandalism or assault. The same goes for t-shirts.
  • The state of Florida actually exempts faith-based day-care centers from state inspection and licensing while requiring both of secular day-care centers.

"Christian privilege is nonconscious in that the person who has it does not think about it because he/she doesn't have to. Here's how Austin Cline put it":

A nonconscious ideology is analogous to the water fish swim in: fish don’t think of the water as wet because this environment is all they know — it structures their experience of life itself. Water simply is. Members of privileged groups don’t have to think about their environment because, for them, that environment simply is. They don’t have to be concerned about others’ opinions because it’s safe to assume that most think like them.
From http://www.atheistrev.com/2010/03/what-is-christian-privilege.html:

Here is a list of 40 instances of christian privilege you may find useful to help your friend see it.  http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_al...

It took me a looong time to get through to my friend but she apologized and declared she would put what she learned into practice.  I hope your friend gets it too.

BTW, a related concept is religious privilege. I was invited to a friend's celebration of life ceremony to mark her return from cancer treatment to a healthy life.  She thought she had been inclusive by inviting people to share their own spiritual practices and traditions. Also,  in a survey Americans said that they would prefer that a child of theirs marry a muslim rather than marry an Atheist.

The green grocer who buys fruit and vegetables in the Rio Grande Valley and hauls them up here to his store, called Fruit King, selling them at much reduced prices, announces his faith with a slogan on the side of the building: "Producing for Jesus."  (It's a pun, get it?)  They play that asinine religious "rock" on the P.A. system.  And when you check out, get your change and a sales receipt, the woman behind the counter invariably says, "God bless you."  I always reply, "Thanks," but it's for the 30-60% savings below the grocery chain most people here go to for produce.  What good would it do me to say, "I don't believe in God, but thanks anyway"?

Hi Tony,

I don't think you should have done anything different as you weren't in the least bit insulting or threatening, in my humble opinion.  Diane's post really has some valuable information that would help explain why your friend reacted that way, and perhaps one day you two will be able to have a conversation about the situation that will help her understand where you were coming from.

It isn't fun being firm about your position on the matter, but patience and persistence are key which it seems you already know.  :)

We as atheists could just as easily say, "have a godless day!" with a smile, or something like that.  I suspect most of us don't, regardless of our audience.  That christians say, "have a blessed day" IS an imposition on us, of their faith and their presumption of dominance in the culture.  And of course any kind of comeback to that is liable to create friction, as most believers don't anticipate being confronted with an atheist, or indeed with anyone whose belief set (or lack thereof) doesn't agree with their own.

Your initial response to her amphigory was fine, and being that she pressed her position with her second statement, your comment "without god" was about as mild a wake-up call as I personally could think of, and the fact is that said wake-up call is needed.  Diane observed the exercise of "christian privilege," and you were perfectly within your rights to call her on it.

This really needs its own discussion (maybe here): the tendency of christian privilege or presumption and how to deliver that wake-up call.


I think your response to the cashier was certainly appropriate.  You were cordial in your response, and when pushed further, you were open and honest.  The fact that Christians can be offended simply because we do not share their beliefs is ridiculous.

I live in the South and am often greeted with "Have a blessed day."  It's downright annoying.  Like you, most days I just smile and say thanks, but some days it feels like an intrusion... especially when the greeting comes from someone in the hospitality industry.  Do they really want to alienate their customers? Is pushing their own beliefs and being offended when others don't share them really good business?  I don't think so.

I would love to hear if others have an honest, yet non-aggressive response to this (what appears to be) a Christian greeting.  I would happily use it!




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