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Quick poll

I’m curious about how pervasive Christian language is in the atheist community, as well as attitudes towards religious language.  Do you use “God” in your everyday speech?  “God bless you?”  “God damn it?”  “Lord knows?”  “Heaven help us?”  Anything like that?

If you do use it, are you doing it on purpose to take the power of those words away from Christians, or is it a habit from your theism days?  Or is it for some other reason?  This little poll is totally unscientific, but I think it might give me some idea of what’s going on in the minds of other non-believers.  If you don’t like any of my choices, feel free to leave a comment with your reasoning.

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17 thoughts on “Quick poll

  1. My vote is “No, what’s the point of using it?”

    Posted by Cpt_pineapple | April 6, 2010, 3:08 pm
  2. I should have thought of that. I’ll add it to the options. Thanks, Alison.

    Posted by hambydammit | April 6, 2010, 3:09 pm
  3. Yes, I do sometimes use ‘god knows’, I suppose just because everyone does and you get used to it without really considering that ‘god’ is being used. I’m trying to switch to ‘who knows’, though 🙂

    Posted by imaginezz | April 6, 2010, 4:18 pm
  4. I don’t, I either say thank goodness, or thank science, and if I’m damning something, I just say damnit.

    Posted by Victor | April 6, 2010, 4:56 pm
  5. Yes, and my swears are very specifically from my theist days. I’m pretty sure no one else says “good lord god!”

    Posted by Sarah | April 6, 2010, 5:08 pm
  6. Already stated this on your FB Wall, but it may as well be said here too: ‘damn’ has never been a ‘religious’ or ‘Christian’ word – prior to it’s more modern usage, it was pretty much a strictly judicial term. Moreover, ‘Goddammit’ does not specify which deity I’m invoking; if anything, I’d say the evidence is pretty clear that it’s intended to bring down the wrath of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    I mean, think about it: what do we say about someone who says ‘Goddammit’ with liberal frequency? We say that they ‘swear like a sailor’, right? And who are the disciples of His noodliness? Pirates!

    My logic is undeniable.

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | April 6, 2010, 5:34 pm
  7. I tend to use god a lot like “god bless ya” when someone sneezes..mostly out of habit. I find myself saying things like:

    Oh goodness gracious!

    I have always used these if I am frustrated and don’t want to drop an F-bomb.

    Posted by Renee | April 6, 2010, 5:36 pm
  8. I’ve always preferred ‘Gesundheit!’ for sneezes. It’s so much fun to just shout that word.

    You’re way too Goddamn polite, Renee. ;P

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | April 6, 2010, 6:21 pm
  9. I catch myself saying things like “oh my god” or “for heaven’s sakes” all the time. Back when I considered myself a Christian these sayings would were blasphemous, but now they’re just words to me. I do worry sometimes about offending my overly-religious family, but hey!

    Posted by One Soul's Journey | April 6, 2010, 9:15 pm
  10. OH ya and I say “Geez Louise” quite a bit. This is mostly at work mind you!

    Kevin, I am polite, damn it!

    Posted by Renee | April 6, 2010, 9:20 pm
  11. The only even vaguely religious curse I use is decidedly mocking in tone: “Jesus H. tap-dancing Christ on a popsicle stick” or something similarly bizarre and comical in its extremity and length. I’m much more likely to exclaim “For fuck’s sake!” or “Bugger!” than any specific invocation of a deity. Sometimes I cite acknowledged fictional deities (as opposed to the deities some people take seriously, which are no less fictional but generally aren’t acknowledged as such) in my curses when I’m really feeling creative: “Blood and souls for my lord Arioch!” has a certain emphatic ring that’s hard to evoke with lesser curses. (For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, do a little online research on the keywords Moorcock & Elric.)

    Posted by G Felis | April 7, 2010, 1:56 am
  12. I have never used curse words thinking about god or religion – just don’t say them in certain crowds out of professionalism. I mean I CAN think of better words. I am however trying not to refer to god at all and use OMS (science or self) instead of OMG – and OMFSM… Also I am trying to retrain my brain to blurt of Great Jupiter’s Cock! I do so like Jesus Tap Dancing on a stick though lol !!!

    Posted by PaigeB | April 7, 2010, 3:04 am
  13. I’m really somewhere between “Yes, what does it matter?” and “Only when appropriately blasphemous.” But I voted towards the latter. I’ve had a few xtians ask me to quit using the lords name in vain, but I just let them know, since he’s their god and not mine, it’s really no big deal.

    Posted by Karyn | April 7, 2010, 6:23 pm
  14. I would never say “they’re just words” though when I use phrases like this, they are thoughtless or from habit. I cannot say “habit from theist days” because in the church where I was originally indoctrinated any of these phrases, no matter how light, were considered ‘taking the lord’s name in vain’ — no “oh god” or “god bless you” for sneezes either. I haven’t cured myself of “oh god” at the point of climax. You’d think I’d be safe from calling out the wrong name after 12 years, but you never know…. 😉

    I really like Great Jupiter’s Cock. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make that statement, Paige! I’m going to try to replace all my JFC’s with GJC’s. Though maybe I’ll tone it down for the kiddos and say Great Jupiter’s Shlong.

    Posted by Rachel Holierhoek | April 7, 2010, 6:26 pm
  15. I see no problem using the word “god” or expressions that include it, especially in a whimsical manner. If I’m seriously mad or in serious pain, I prefer “fuck”. One more letter.

    Having learned three languages other than my native English, I am always amazed that English speakers do not realize how retrograde it is to say “god bless you” when someone sneezes, instead of the equivalent of “good health” like everyone else does. When someone sneezes, contrary to the medieval superstition, what they need is good health, not eternal salvation. You might as well say “happy new year” or “touchdown!” when someone sneezes, it’s such a non-sequitur. Even religious people should know that, but American religious types get all huffy when I say “good health” in some other language.

    Rachel’s comment about mild uses of “god” being taking their lord’s name in vain reminds me of a funny occasion. Someone told my sister that the Yiddish “oy vey” meant “oh my god” instead of “oh pain”, so she sternly told me not to use language like that in front of her. These literalists…

    Posted by Rick | April 7, 2010, 6:54 pm
  16. I haven’t cured myself of “oh god” at the point of climax. You’d think I’d be safe from calling out the wrong name after 12 years, but you never know….

    You win. I’m not sure what the contest was, but you win.

    Posted by hambydammit | April 8, 2010, 5:04 pm
  17. I use “Oh, my god.” It drove a Christian friend of mine nuts but most of the time it comes out with me even realizing it.

    Posted by Meg L. | April 12, 2010, 7:10 am

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