"God Bless You" Penn Jillette's substitute
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
05-09-2015, 10:53 AM
"God Bless You" Penn Jillette's substitute
After listening to the podcast with Penn Jillete I remembered having read Penn Jillette's book, "God No" and something in it has been running around in my head every time I sneeze.

He says he teaches his children to not say "God Bless You" which is perfect for an atheist. But instead they say "That's silly." Or maybe its "That's funny." I can't remember.

It bothers me for several reasons.

First, why say anything at all? Koreans say absolutely nothing! Most Japanese don't acknowledge a sneeze unless they think the person has a cold.

Second, why not say something affirmative. Wikipedia lists 66 countries or languages where the customary response has something to do with wishing the sneezer health. Sounds very affirmative. "That's silly" or "That's funny" is making fun of the sneezer.

Third, there are only 23 countries that have any reference, however oblique, to blessings, God, Jesus, or the Lord.

However, some of the responses are hysterical:
You shall grow tall.
You are so beautiful (from Seinfeld)
Rice and salt.
Sorry

But my absolute favorite is the Australian Aboriginal language Ritharrŋu:

"You have released nose-water."

Penn Jillete: You've missed out on a fantastic response!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like sandeecohen's post
05-09-2015, 11:04 AM
RE: "God Bless You" Penn Jillette's substitute
My favorite: Bless your face

I usually just say "excuse you." It's customary in America to respond, and "excuse you" is both secular and polite. (even though it doesn't actually make sense. Why someone would need to be "excused" for an involuntary action is beyond me)

If we came from dust, then why is there still dust?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-09-2015, 11:04 AM
RE: "God Bless You" Penn Jillette's substitute
(05-09-2015 10:53 AM)sandeecohen Wrote:  ...
"You have released nose-water."
...

Yup. Stealing that.

Big Grin

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-09-2015, 11:09 AM
RE: "God Bless You" Penn Jillette's substitute
I still say Bless you. But I leave out the God part.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-09-2015, 11:35 AM
RE: "God Bless You" Penn Jillette's substitute
All this leads to an interesting composite I think I'll try out:

"Bless your nose-water"

Laugh out load
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Airportkid's post
05-09-2015, 11:35 AM
RE: "God Bless You" Penn Jillette's substitute
I don't see a over all problem with saying Bless you or God Bless you. It's just part of our culture. I don't really think some divine power is going to help them because they sneezed. It's just a acceptable polite thing to say. But in truth you can saw what ever you wanted. Doesn't change the state of anything.

From what I understand the coin fraise originally started in the dark ages. A time when superstation's was rampant due to a lake of the educational programs the roman empire had. They believed that your soul was trying to escape from your body and saying the blessing would reverse this process.

Interesting side note "Knock on Wood." came out around the same time. Most people had a wood cross in there homes and it was believed if you knocked on it Jesus would bring you good tidings in times of need.

Don't Live each day like it's your last. Live each day like you have 541 days after that one where every choice you make will have lasting implications to you and the world around you. ~ Tim Minchin
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-09-2015, 11:43 AM
RE: "God Bless You" Penn Jillette's substitute
I think most of the time it's said out of unconscious habit.
Yesterday I was at the pet store with my sister who knows I'm atheist. She was mid-babble about how the dog doesnt like one particular type of dog food, and this other one smells bad, and blah, blah, blah.
Then I sneezed, and with hardly a break in the jabber she sqeezes in a "bless you" then continues on.
I just gave her the 'you're an idiot' look without comment.
She didn't notice. Dodgy
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-09-2015, 12:18 PM
RE: "God Bless You" Penn Jillette's substitute
(05-09-2015 11:35 AM)Commonsensei Wrote:  From what I understand the coin fraise originally started in the dark ages. A time when superstation's was rampant due to a lake of the educational programs the roman empire had. They believed that your soul was trying to escape from your body and saying the blessing would reverse this process.

I read this on "How Stuff Works"

Quote:The phrase "God bless you" is attributed to Pope Gregory the Great, who uttered it in the sixth century during a bubonic plague epidemic (sneezing is an obvious symptom of one form of the plague).

However they also say
Quote:Some people believed that a sneeze causes the soul to escape the body through the nose. Saying "bless you" would stop the devil from claiming the person's freed soul Others believed the opposite: that evil spirits use the sneeze as an opportunity to enter a person's body. There was also the misconception that the heart momentarily stops during a sneeze (it doesn't), and that saying "bless you" was a way of welcoming the person back to life.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-09-2015, 12:20 PM
RE: "God Bless You" Penn Jillette's substitute
(05-09-2015 11:04 AM)cactus Wrote:  My favorite: Bless your face

As an atheist I have a problem with "Bless". Strictly speaking one person can "bless" another with an endowment, new job, new home, etc.

But it's too tied into "God bless..." for my comfort.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-09-2015, 12:29 PM
RE: "God Bless You" Penn Jillette's substitute
(05-09-2015 12:20 PM)sandeecohen Wrote:  
(05-09-2015 11:04 AM)cactus Wrote:  My favorite: Bless your face

As an atheist I have a problem with "Bless". Strictly speaking one person can "bless" another with an endowment, new job, new home, etc.

But it's too tied into "God bless..." for my comfort.

I think you have to do what you feel comfortable with. Everyone has different levels of what that is. The reason I still do the Bless you thing is because it's a habit and it is an expected societal response. I also don't have a problem with the word "bless"--to me it just means to wish someone well. I don't like the God part so I take that out.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: