225

I am an atheist myself so I'm going to answer it as if you would say it to me: I'm an atheist, which means that heaven/hell/praying have no value (good nor bad, just void) to me. The act of praying is of no benefit to me, nor will I see it like that, despite what you think. What I can see is the gesture. It means you're thinking of me, wishing good for me, ...


148

As a woman who used to tend bar, I've dealt with a lot of intrusive questions at work, mostly from customers. A lot of men want to take home the bartender and many of them can be quite pushy about it. Off the clock, I could just walk away from guys like this, but at work I had to be polite in rejecting these advances and it was sometimes pretty difficult. ...


122

As Martjin describes it, I'm a more "extreme" atheist, in that I probably would be offended by a Christian offering to pray for me, especially if they knew I was an atheist. So I offer this as an alternative perspective which may or may not be relevant, depending on how "extreme" of an atheist the person you're asking about is. This answer may come off as ...


80

I am an atheist who recently lost 4 close family members in a very short period. Most of my friends and family are theist and specifically Christian so this scenario came up a lot and I wanted to share my perspective. General feelings on "I'll keep you in my prayers" At any time, I find this statement awkward. It feels like a little kid saying they will ...


54

Most languages will have a saying akin to "I was feeling a bit under the weather" or something close to that. I would simply say that. When I am sick and my co-workers ask me about it I usually say "I was feeling really sick". This is something people often say in my language (Dutch) when they either are feverish, sick to their stomach or just feel like ...


46

If this comes off harshly, I apologize. I’m merely trying to state my often discussed (between friends and family) thoughts and opinions succinctly; though brevity sounds sharp. I’m a Christian, and I resent it when people offer me prayers in my times of need; especially in a public or work setting. (And even in a private setting, but especially the other ...


42

Don't talk about your prayer life in public, in general. Jesus said not to. Besides the points that some other people have made about informing him of your desire to pray for him making him uncomfortable, there's another issue, here: You identify as a Christian, so presumably you hold the words of Jesus as being the highest authority on these issues. So, I'...


27

I'd like to offer my opinion as a seminarian. "is it rude to offer prayers to an atheist"? How would you feel if a Buddhist offered a meditation for you? Or a Zoroastrian offered help in their religious form? It's all about how your beliefs impact the other party. We as Christians believe in prayer and acknowledge its power. At the same time, if we ...


26

Obviously, he isn't asking because he cares about the answer. He is trying to put you at a disadvantage. You don't owe him an answer, and when you do answer him or try to defend yourself it will probably just encourage him. If I had a guess, I'd say he feels threatened by you for some reason. It may be you specifically, and it may just be his personality....


25

Some people have suggested strategies to do with being vague and evasive, but I'm going to suggest a different approach. Be honest that it is a private matter. People are naturally inquisitive, and will want to know what was wrong. In my experience, being evasive can be a problem, especially when talking to colleagues that you are friends with. It can ...


25

Don't ! Others have commented already along this line, but I feel they are pulling their punches. I'll phrase the following as friendly as I can, but without dilluting the message. I am a militant atheist in the sense of Dawkins. If your friend is feeling strongly about their atheism, this answer applies to them. If I were to go through a difficult ...


23

From what I've seen my coworkers do when they didn't want to talk about some personal thing (like the reason for sick leave) there are 2 main ways to handle any inquiry about it. Which one to choose depends on whether you want people to always take you seriously, or if you want to be known as a bit of a joker outside of serious work related topics. 1) Give ...


23

I tend to ask very generally about the issue when I find myself in such situations. ie. instead of "Have you used my computer?", I would say: It looks like my computer got moved since I last used it, you haven't noticed anything have you? In this way my question is limited to the thing you noticed that made you suspect someone used your computer, I'...


22

How can I assert my domain knowledge, while signalling openness to useful information, over email? Generally... Switch them around and sandwich them. Act like the guy is the kindest person in the world for sending you a link you've already seen. If you're worried about a single line saying 'I already saw this' being too abrupt/rude, write more than a single ...


21

I believe it is occasionally detrimental to both my work and the work of others, due to the time wasted discussing my "robotic" tendencies. I disagree! What's happening here is some light teasing to increase the morale of the team and bond together as fellow humans. TheFreeDictionary defines morale as The state of the spirits of a person or group ...


20

It sounds like you need a way to change the subject. Business Insider lists two techniques that I've personally found great success with: Use a distraction The article says to do something like pointing behind the other person and yelling "Squirrel!" which, to me seems a little overkill. I do think using a distraction outside the scope of the ...


20

Another atheist here. As other answers have already discussed, different atheists will feel differently about this kind of thing. I won't rehash what those answers have said, but I do want to add: the content of the prayer is very important. Some years back, I was going through a rough time in my life - deaths in the family and other unpleasant stuff. One ...


19

But he still does so, sometines in very provocative and sarcastic manner. I've been through this too. I hated it (and still do) and it annoyed me to the point I was rude. Instantly rude, "[ self-censored ]" (won't write the words here, of course, but you get the idea...). Far above what was certainly needed at that time. And I have never heard of him ...


18

I like to deal with awkward situations with acknowledgement and honesty. Even more so if I made the situation uncomfortable for the other person and there's a big risk they'll continue to feel uncomfortable around me. So I would have a short conversation to clear the air, something like : Now that we're working on a project together, I don't want things ...


17

First of all, I'm a strong atheist myself, But even I, who is strongly against theism, I definitely wouldn't be offended if anyone declared that he prayed for me. Even if I think that it's a waste of time, it's obvious that the only thing that this person means is that they care for me and want to help me to get better. If it was about a person in mortal ...


17

I would approach this from the point of view of egoless programming. Address this as "we are on the same team, we have the same basic goal, we are trying to help each other", rather than "why is this person questioning what I did". From his point of view, he saw someone writing something that already existing, and it sounds you hadn't made clear why you ...


14

Gary Chapman wrote in The Five Love Languages about how to express compassion. Specifically, he talks about the different ways in which people express compassion. It's important to understand that how you show compassion and how others receive compassion can be different, and these differences can result in missed messages. In a close, intimate ...


13

I'd suggest something along the lines of: You mentioned your old guitar. I'm really looking forward to practising if that offer still stands. It doesn't sound spoilt - it hopefully sounds keen or enthusiastic. I have had this sort of thing happen on various occasions - work colleagues or acquaintances offer something they then forget about, and I've done ...


12

I was going to add this as a comment on IAntoniazzi's answer since it's very similar, but apparently that takes some reputation I don't have. A possible alternative to the phrasing offered in that answer that offers even less information but maintains professionalism and courtesy on your part: "Good morning, Bob!" Then you continue on your way or engage ...


12

Update to reflect where I am comming from, based on the comments: I am a girl and I base my advice partially on how I would feel if someone persistently looks at me in a way I find worrysome and how I would feel if that person came and talked to me out of nowhere to apologize. Also I base my answer in times I have known people to be paranoid about someone ...


11

Over time I have personally found the following technique to be useful. It depends on your personality and how you deliver it, plus the audience, culture, location and other factors but it may help you. Throw one hand up and shake your head and say 'ah boy you really dont wana know. Trust me! Smile sorta sadly at the end. Uses humor Avoids lying about ...


10

Full Disclosure: I work as a programmer for a NorthEastern United States State Government, so take this within the proper cultural context. Don't Answer Personal Questions You Don't Want To Answer "I'd rather not talk about it" is a full and complete answer to anything anyone asks that you don't want to respond to - and culturally, acceptable as an ...


9

I've found that when people ask questions like that, it's usually an unintentionally roundabout way of finding out one of two things: whether they should be concerned about your well-being, and whether this is something they should worry about catching. I've always answered questions like this with something like: Don't worry, it's nothing contagious, ...


9

"Don't talk to him about God; talk to God about him." — My Christian mother about my atheist father In anything with love for others, whether romantic, family, or friends, we often want to tell others about our positive hopes and feelings, but love knows when to shut up. Just respect your coworker. Don't even declare your choice to shut up about God. If ...


8

In situations where a joke has been played out to the point that it feels like a waste of time, or is getting annoying in general, the approach that I like to use is address it in a head-on, straight forward way, but keeping a light tone. Address the issue as soon as someone brings up your supposed 'robotic' nature in any way. Something like this, adjusted ...


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