I ain’t down with being blessed

Does anyone always feel totally insulted when someone says to them ‘blessed be’ or ‘be blessed’, etc, instead of ‘so long’ or ‘later, yo’, or what-have-you? It totally pisses me off. I always want to yell back something satanic, or at least anti-christian for this unwanted imposition of their values on me. It’s like how people say that it’s ok to pray for someone else. No it’s not. It’s not ok. Ok, yes, there are far worse things you could do to someone besides pray for them, but, if push comes to shove, don’t pray for me. If it makes you feel better, pray for yourself, but leave me out of it.

Shamefully (and I’m aware of it), I think I’m theo-phobic in the subtle sense: I’m ok with your religious beliefs as long as I don’t have to know about it. And perhaps I’ve been soured on my own experiences with the religious — I’ve had at least a half-dozen friendships end on account of religion, either because they can’t hang out with me because I’m not, or because I can’t hang out with them because they are. While at university, not one but three seperate people who I counted as friends decided that I needed ‘saving’, and attempted to do just that. So these days, as soon as catch the slightest whiff of evangelism, I’m so long gone; possibly to my own detriment. I’ve also learned that it’s virtually impossible to have pure debates about beliefs and religion: one cannot be rational while speaking on the subject, due to it’s very nature, so I’ve stopped trying to do that, so I’m left with simply walking away. But I’m working on trying to not feel uncomfortable with public displays of religiosity, and trying to far less rude to those who feel the need to spread their beliefs to me.

(all this comes of having received a pseudo-RFP that was signed ‘be blessed’, and where the signature included a quote from Proverbs. My immediate reaction was simply to toss out the RFP and write off the requester as a nut-case. But quite possibly, he’s not at all, so the point of all this rant, I suppose, is my attempting to justify both my initial reaction, and why I shouldn’t go along with it)

12 Replies to “I ain’t down with being blessed”

  1. I’m totally with you on this, Steve. I have exactly the same reactions as you — and I would just toss the RFP, crazy as that may seem. The funny thing is that my aversion is reserved for Christians. I mean, I wouldn’t be into being proseletized to by anyone (as Tim’s sticker says, “Kill all fanatics”), but it’s only with Christianity that the mere fact of a person’s religiousity would put me off them. Devout Jew? OK, kinda old-fashioned; Muslim? Usually either cultural or political; Hare Krishna? Weird but basically harmless; Bhuddist? Best religion in the world for it’s leave-others-alone quality. But Christian? Yikes, get me outta here.

    Having said that I did once know a very nice, genuine Baptist who I actually got along with. I did view her as a bit of an unknown specimen in a petri dish, but while we worked together, we developed an odd friendship and understanding of our polar oppositeness.

  2. I’m totally with you on this, Steve. I have exactly the same reactions as you — and I would just toss the RFP, crazy as that may seem. The funny thing is that my aversion is reserved for Christians. I mean, I wouldn’t be into being proseletized to by anyone (as Tim’s sticker says, “Kill all fanatics”), but it’s only with Christianity that the mere fact of a person’s religiousity would put me off them. Devout Jew? OK, kinda old-fashioned; Muslim? Usually either cultural or political; Hare Krishna? Weird but basically harmless; Bhuddist? Best religion in the world for it’s leave-others-alone quality. But Christian? Yikes, get me outta here.

    Having said that I did once know a very nice, genuine Baptist who I actually got along with. I did view her as a bit of an unknown specimen in a petri dish, but while we worked together, we developed an odd friendship and understanding of our polar oppositeness.

  3. As a teen, I did something nice (but minor) for someone (like pick up a piece of paper for them) and they said, “How Christian of you!” I steamed trying to think of a good response to that for like three days.

    On the “bless you” front, I’ve used, “save your blessings” when feeling particularly snarky, but I hope to come back with, “Why, bless you, my child” if I am alert enough to catch it. Maybe add, “May God go with thee” at the end.

    My mom likes to tell the story of the several people she’s met on Saltspring that seem like nice folk until they pull out the, “Have you taken the Lord Jesus as your own personal savior?” My mom doesn’t like to waste social energy, so now when she meets someone that seems nice, she jumps in with, “You’re not Christian, are you?” to just get it over with.

    An obnoxious thing I tried when I was younger and shocked at how often I said, “oh god”, “jesus christ”, etc. was to try and substitute historical figures that I actually respected. At the time, I was finishing my math degree, so it was like, “Oh, Euler”, “Gregor Cantor on a stick”, “For the love of Liebniz”, etc.

    That said, I do have some Christian friends (how strange a thing is that to say?), and I have to thank Lauren, daughter of a United minister, from helping me keep from doing too much of the “contempt before investigation” stuff.

    For me, it is totally about the extremism and the conversion stuff. Even when I meet people who are way too into science (or economics, etc.) as a way to explain the world, I find that I can’t be bothered too much with them in the future either.

    I’m reading this book, which I think is called, “A Short History of God”, and I really like it. It explains, in a really lucid way, how the concept of God has evolved over time. It’s a good read, and really handy if you ever get in an argument with folks who want to take the Bible literally. And it’s not rediculously anti-religious, either, as the author is a former nun.

    To cap off my incredibly uneven comment today (too much caffine) I’ll paraphrase George Carlin, “Christians: a group of people who believe that a superhero in outer space can see everything they do and can kill them at any time.”

  4. As a teen, I did something nice (but minor) for someone (like pick up a piece of paper for them) and they said, “How Christian of you!” I steamed trying to think of a good response to that for like three days.

    On the “bless you” front, I’ve used, “save your blessings” when feeling particularly snarky, but I hope to come back with, “Why, bless you, my child” if I am alert enough to catch it. Maybe add, “May God go with thee” at the end.

    My mom likes to tell the story of the several people she’s met on Saltspring that seem like nice folk until they pull out the, “Have you taken the Lord Jesus as your own personal savior?” My mom doesn’t like to waste social energy, so now when she meets someone that seems nice, she jumps in with, “You’re not Christian, are you?” to just get it over with.

    An obnoxious thing I tried when I was younger and shocked at how often I said, “oh god”, “jesus christ”, etc. was to try and substitute historical figures that I actually respected. At the time, I was finishing my math degree, so it was like, “Oh, Euler”, “Gregor Cantor on a stick”, “For the love of Liebniz”, etc.

    That said, I do have some Christian friends (how strange a thing is that to say?), and I have to thank Lauren, daughter of a United minister, from helping me keep from doing too much of the “contempt before investigation” stuff.

    For me, it is totally about the extremism and the conversion stuff. Even when I meet people who are way too into science (or economics, etc.) as a way to explain the world, I find that I can’t be bothered too much with them in the future either.

    I’m reading this book, which I think is called, “A Short History of God”, and I really like it. It explains, in a really lucid way, how the concept of God has evolved over time. It’s a good read, and really handy if you ever get in an argument with folks who want to take the Bible literally. And it’s not rediculously anti-religious, either, as the author is a former nun.

    To cap off my incredibly uneven comment today (too much caffine) I’ll paraphrase George Carlin, “Christians: a group of people who believe that a superhero in outer space can see everything they do and can kill them at any time.”

  5. If you ever want to get a good understanding of the bible and it’s uses as a historical book then I suggest taking a look at Asimov’s Guide to the Bible. A huge work which stupidly cheap and loaded with information.
    More to the point of the post the other day a guy said in voice that would go better with some kid selling newspapers “Good news from the bible!”. I wanted to ask him if a new version had come out but decided not to.

  6. If you ever want to get a good understanding of the bible and it’s uses as a historical book then I suggest taking a look at Asimov’s Guide to the Bible. A huge work which stupidly cheap and loaded with information.
    More to the point of the post the other day a guy said in voice that would go better with some kid selling newspapers “Good news from the bible!”. I wanted to ask him if a new version had come out but decided not to.

  7. I think I’ll stay out of this one for the most part, but I just want to point out that anyone saying “blessed be” is more likely Wiccan than Christian. “Be blessed” is another thing entirely, though.

    And yeah, obviously I have a very different background from you, Steve. I’m not necessarily freaked out by people using spiritual or religious language around me, but I do react negatively to evangelical Christians. I walk this weird line between having quite a lot of good things to say about Christianity from a theological standpoint but harbouring a lot of resentment about having been lumped in with crazy fundamentalists throughout my youth.

    You’re certainly living in the right place for avoiding zealots, though — BC is the least religious province in Canada, and Vancouver is almost shockingly secular. Very, very few people here believe in God or attend religious services, compared to almost anywhere else in North America. Mind you, I’d avoid the Fraser Valley if at all possible (and not just to avoid the crazy Christians either). 🙂

  8. I think I’ll stay out of this one for the most part, but I just want to point out that anyone saying “blessed be” is more likely Wiccan than Christian. “Be blessed” is another thing entirely, though.

    And yeah, obviously I have a very different background from you, Steve. I’m not necessarily freaked out by people using spiritual or religious language around me, but I do react negatively to evangelical Christians. I walk this weird line between having quite a lot of good things to say about Christianity from a theological standpoint but harbouring a lot of resentment about having been lumped in with crazy fundamentalists throughout my youth.

    You’re certainly living in the right place for avoiding zealots, though — BC is the least religious province in Canada, and Vancouver is almost shockingly secular. Very, very few people here believe in God or attend religious services, compared to almost anywhere else in North America. Mind you, I’d avoid the Fraser Valley if at all possible (and not just to avoid the crazy Christians either). 🙂

  9. The “be blessed” thing reminds me of another my-mom-ism. She used to like, “for what we are about to receive may the lord make us truly thankful”, because we have to be *made* to be thankful, because really, we aren’t…

  10. The “be blessed” thing reminds me of another my-mom-ism. She used to like, “for what we are about to receive may the lord make us truly thankful”, because we have to be *made* to be thankful, because really, we aren’t…

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