This is an extremely difficult post to construct, so bear with me.
I have read a lot about the use of the "greeting/farewell" phrases Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays recently. Then while listening to the Atheist Experience a caller said "God Bless You" to one of the hosts. So I thought I would weigh in with my opinions on these phrases and other religious based phrases.
I think as atheists it is important that we do not always be dicks, and I can be a dick most of the time so I am including myself here. When a theist says one of the following phrases : Merry Christmas, Happy Easter, God Bless You, Bless You (when you sneeze) they are just expressing kindness towards you. These phrases have become so common even a lot of atheists unintentionally use them everyday without thinking. My point is do not be a dick to people that are trying to be nice to you when they something like this. Even if they are expressing it through a third person (God Bless You?), often its their upbringing that has determined the use of these sentiments and as such we should not be angered when someone uses them.
Now, there are other sentiments that are more antagonistic such as: Jesus Loves You. Again the person is just expressing a sentiment, and most often do not have a bad intent. Even this phrase does not bother me, so I also let it slide. In fact to irritate atheist friends I will sometimes say it, just to get a rise out of them (see told you I can be a dick).
The only phrase I have a problem with is the following one as it implies there is something wrong with me. The phrase in question: "I will pray for you."When someone says this be a dick, as an insult is an insult and you have a right to point out the stupidity of an idiotic belief. I believe its the hosts on the Atheist Experience that reply "I will think for you" when someone says "I will pray for you".
By the way I am not saying do not use these phrases as openers to tell people about what you believe and why, but you do not have to be a dick. As humans we know when someone is been disingenuous. In those cases say something, at other times there is no point to be antagonistic towards someone who is just trying to be nice.