When someone sneezes, I say "bless you". It's one of the many common English phrases that I use that have a religious origin (e.g. "heaven forbid", "you're a saint", "a good soul", and many others). I'm an atheist, so lord knows I don't mean it literally. More thoughtful atheists substitute these phrases with non-religious equivalents like "Gesundheit". One example of this is using the term "Thank Goodness" instead of "Thank God".
A couple of years ago, I read an excellent essay in the Skeptical Enquirer called "Thank Goodness" by Daniel C. Dennett. In it, Dennett makes a case for why it's more sensible to thank goodness (because "there really are lots of ways of repaying your debt to goodness—by setting out to create more of it" ) than to thank God ("what could an omniscient, omnipotent Being (the Man Who has Everything?) do with any paltry repayments from you?")
Last year, I shared the essay with my atheist friends at the Corvallis Sunday Group. Since rereading it has become my new Thanksgiving tradition, I wanted to share this link to the essay.
Is your story F**CKING great?
2 years ago