10 Awkward Situations Atheists And Agnostics Know All Too Well

1. You sneeze and someone says “God Bless You!”

What you’re thinking: Well I’m not part of any organized religion but hopefully your summoning of this higher power to the event of my sneeze will cure this common cold. That or you could just hand me a freaking tissue.

What you actually do: Smile and say “Thank you!”

<h4?2. You’re at a friend’s or significant other’s house for dinner, and you hear “Ok, time to say grace!”

What you’re thinking: “Well shit. They totally know I’m not religious… or do they? They’re probably just assuming that I am. Well either way I have to pretend that I am or it’s “rude”, right? Oh great, they hold hands while they pray, now I gotta grab Grandma and Grandpa’s wrinkly, creepy, old fingers. Why are they thanking God for this food? I cooked that pasta bake by hand with a complicated recipe I found on Pinterest, and it took me 3 and a half hours. It had nothing to do with the Lord.“

What you actually do: Close your eyes, remain silent, make no sudden movements, and say “Amen” when they’re done.

3. “Wow I’m surprised that you’re atheist/agnostic, you seem so moralistic!”

What you’re thinking: Yeah, oddly enough I can decipher right from wrong without a spiritual book to tell me how to do so. Maybe due to the fact that the words “ethical” and “religious” aren’t interchangeable? My moral compass has nothing to do with your almighty power but I mean, thanks for calling me a good person?”

What you actually do: Laugh awkwardly and submit a half-hearted “Thanks?”.

4. “If you’re an atheist, why do you celebrate Christmas?”

What you’re thinking: Although this is a fair question, must you really try to strip me of my Winter Holiday festivities? I don’t go to Nativity scene reenactments, I don’t go to church on Christmas morning, and my vocabulary that day consists of next to zero religious entities. The only practices of the holiday I really carry out is present exchanging, seeing family members I don’t generally see, and listening to mass amounts of holiday music. A lot of people now know about the violent truth behind Christopher Columbus and his relationship with Native Americans but you don’t see many of them skipping out on that Thanksgiving meal do you?

What you actually say: “Oh I just wouldn’t want to break family tradition.”

5. You want Chick-Fil-A

What you’re thinking: How could this institution possess both the secret to serving delicious chicken entrees in a timely manner AND be so boldly against the legal conjoining of two gay people in love? People are entitled to their religious beliefs of course but why must that crossover to this nation’s marital laws? DOES SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE MEAN NOTHING?!

What you actually say: “I’ll have a 4 piece chicken tender meal with Sierra Mist and a side of ranch.”

6. Something unfortunate happened to you and someone (who knows you aren’t religious) sends you a text or email that reads “I’ll keep you in my prayers”.

What you’re thinking: Um, that’s thoughtful, I guess? They’re going to notify whoever their god may be about my problem and to them, I’m sure that means a lot. But to my situation, it means squat. It’s really nice they’re thinking of me, but it’s also a bit curious they think them praying to a being I don’t believe is going to make me feel much better.

What you actually say: “Thank you, that means everything to me!”

7. You say something terribly common like “Oh my God” or “God Damnit” and someone says, “You shouldn’t use the lord’s name in vain”.

What you’re thinking: No, YOU shouldn’t use YOUR lord’s name in vain. I’m deity-less, I have no responsibility to protect such titles. Why would I? Now if and I was running around saying things like “F the Catholic church’s God” or “I hate Allah”, then please, criticize away, those are clearly meant to offend. But since I’m using everyday terms that obviously were not meant to disrespect any sort of religious institution, you can chill out.

What you actually say: “Oh– um.. sorry. Oh my goodness?”

8. “Agnostic? Oh so you’re just an atheist who can’t commit to your beliefs.”

What you’re thinking: Actually, not at all. An atheist is someone who completely rejects the existence of a higher power. An agnostic is a person who believes that neither a higher power or lack thereof a higher power can be proved. They’re two completely different concepts, it’s simple. I’m 100% committed to accepting that we’re too unknowing as humans to grasp what’s really going on. I’m also 100% committed to accepting that in accordance to this topic, you’re a moron.

What you actually say: “Uh, well, they’re two different things, but I can see why you’d think that.”

9. A person or some sort of group of people approach and want to “Help you find God”.

What you’re thinking: Well if I was looking for god, I wouldn’t be an atheist and/or agnostic then would I? If I want to be a part of a religious institution, I will seek it out myself. It’s not like it’s an invitation only sort of thing. What makes them think trying to stick their beliefs down my throat will actually convert me? People will have their philosophies, and I will have mine. Am I running up to people’s doorsteps trying to convince them of my theories? No. l let the Discovery Channel do that.

What you actually do: Listen to what they have to say for about 60 seconds (preferably less) and then politely say, “Sorry, I’m not interested” and exit from that situation as quick as humanly possible.

10. “Well, what do you believe in then?”

What you’re thinking: Science.

What you actually say: “Science.” Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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