Hey atheists,

Here is a little thing that I've always been wondering about.

The use of profanity, being atheist or religious alike, has always been seen as impolite.

Yet, a study seems to have shown that the use of profanity lowers stress and boosts morale. (If God should exist then he has a twisted sense of humour, doesn't he?) So yes, I profess to profanity and I am certain that I am not alone.

So here is my question on this. Assuming you just stubbed your little toe on the bed with unsettling force;

Do you use profanity and, if you use it, how do you use it? Do you reference God in it or do you stay clear of blasphemy?

For example, a very Christian lieutenant I once knew wouldn't swear but he'd freely call out Gordon Bennet's name every time he stubbed his toe.

An atheist I heard speaking on the radio said not to use profanity involving god references just because they do not believe in god.

I try to be creative but old habits are hard to beat and I will occasionally use the good old OMG! or JMFC! still.

Your opinions please?

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I still say God damn it, Oh my god, Jesus Christ, these are all societal phrases that we all grew up hearing so its tuned in our heads. Old habits do die hard

we just have to get people out of the notion of the said words are "bad words" if we do that we can view all words the same

I agree with Christopher. While some people can get upset by it, i refuse to limit my vocabulary just because some people don't like a word. I use a wide variety of colorful curses which include blasphemy every day. Words are just words. Every child knows that sticks and stones can break your bones, but words will never hurt you.

Kevin, Christopher,

The notion that words will never hurt you hasn't had an abusive parent or been bullied. Choice words will do mental damage.

You're right Umbra, i may have spoken a bit quickly. While saying hurtful things specifically to hurt someone can indeed be devastating, especially to a child, I was referring to adults swearing in more non specific ways. But more to the topic at hand, in regards to religion based swearing, i've always used them. I figure it's just an expression like anything else. When people sneeze i still say bless you, not because of any religious reason, but because it's polite. I've always looked at these things as to be taken for their intention instead of the literal meaning.

You can always change it to gesundheit which means good health. I think it's a better alternative to the implications of a "bless you".

Agreed. I stopped saying "bless you" a long long time ago. Solely because of the religious intent of it. It makes no sense to bless someone.

Nowadays I just say "salute". Occasionally I use "gesundheit".

I was bullied quite a lot when I was younger. It was that bullying that lead me to realize that words only hurt you if you let them. Words only have power if we give them power. It took far too long for me to learn that truth, and I spent too many years allowing inane little words like "Fag" or "Douchebag" or "Shitstain" hurt me. As a people we need to grow thicker skins and learn that we decide what a word can do to us.

I'm a douchebag and a shitstain and I never see you at the meetings! (I kid).  Seriously, as a little douchebag shitstain when I was a kid I'm not proud to admit that I was bullied and responded by bullying... for a little while at least.  I knew what I was doing was wrong, and I felt extremely bad knowing exactly how badly she (my victim) must have felt.  Bullying makes more bullies.  It's some sort of social virus.  The only reason I stopped is that I felt too badly to continue - though I never apologized, just swept it under the elementary school rug.

But you're right, words can be devastating and learning to disregard words when necessary is a great emotional survival skill.  But that can be a tough thing to expect an 7-year-old to manage, considering they only got a handle on words about 5 years earlier.

Indeed.  Among the most destructive words are "Amen" (unthinking acceptance), "Sin" (It's wrong in my eyes, so it's wrong, period), "Abomination" (So wrong it's dripping in wrongness, times 10), and "Righteous" (I got my eternal goodies, screw you).

words like shit and fuck have come to be expressions that have nothing to do with their original interpretation.

 I don't see why God can't.

One could think of "god" in the same sense that Einstein did. I suppose.

I don't believe that someone or something has been "beaten, pierced, or stabbed" when I use the word "fuck". So why not "god damn it!" when I don't believe in a god.

That's exactly how i feel. it's about the intention, not the words themselves


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