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?

Tags: profanity

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Went there Amanda, and this is what I found:

Title: Snopes.com
Subtitle: Rumor has it

[Collected on the internet, 1999]

Followed by the definition. I'm not saying I'm right (sometimes I'm not entirely correct), but do you really want to take that to the bank?

Well, to be fair, it didn't really click for me until I met some fine German fellows. They said "fuck" or some variation of it in every sentence, and when I realized that they didn't apply the same stigma to it that I did, I realized that it wasn't the word itself, but how it was intended and how it was perceived. Intent comes wholey from the user, but Perception was on my part. I could CHOOSE to take offense, or I could make the word powerless by stripping it of its meaning. Once I figured that out, words became what I willed them to become. I could use them as an armor, or as a blade, as I pleased, and I could nullify their very purpose without so much as a wayward thought. It's a potent power, to be confident and intelligent. It's a remarkable ability to make these discoveries and use them to your advantage.

I don't disagree with you Grady, the use of profanity can, at times, be quite liberating and provide a great stress relief. However, growing up, I pursued a literary education, and have concluded that any good piece of literature doesn't require the use of profanity, rather, in fact, it weakens good prose, in that it leaves the reader with the impression that the writer's vocabulary is extremely limited.

Believe me, I do on occasion use every word I know, and I know some used only by an obscure sect of Portuguese sailors, but I find that frequent use, reduces its effectiveness.

Unless you're James Joyce.

I wonder if that is universally true, Arch. Perhaps it becomes less effective within a conversation by the speaker or less reactionary when you see it on TV or movies.

I doubt that it is for hate words. I think that if you look at the way blacks have co-opted the 'N' word. It's everywhere inter-conversationally now. But I wonder if the effectiveness has really been reduced because of it when some jerk winds up and spews it out with all the venom he can muster. I suspect its every bit as incite-fully effective as it ever was.It's just a word until its backed with the hate.

They've done that Marc, in an effort to own the word that has been used to denigrate (no pun intended) them for centuries, and among them, it has no significant effectiveness.

Personally, I would suspect that if someone made up a nonsense word, then "winds up and spews it out with all the venom he can muster," it would likely have the same effect, as it's the delivery, more than the word, that carries the effect.

Some great reactions in this thread.

I get the feeling however that atheists like to swear up a storm if given the opportunity. I did when I first joined a non religious school.

However, I'd like to point out that this behaviour may give atheists a bad wrap as swearing worse then sailors with an attitude to match.  Personally I try to keep it polite no matter what situation I am in. It's just a personal choice and the image people get of us.

I've really enjoyed reading these responses. This is the last thing I have to add to the discussion, swear words are actually stored in the emotion section of the brain, not the language section. This is why people who suffer from Tourette syndrome will shout out swears because they have a hard time controlling their emotions. And with that in mind, I don't want to stunt my emotions. ;-)

If jesus stubbed his toe does he hope about going "ME! ME! ME!....or DAD! DAD! DAD!..

I personally swear like a longshoreman...because when your angry or in pain saying goshdarnit or fiddlesticks just doesn't cut it for me.I actually use several languages and everything...and most of french Canadian cussing is sacrilegious.Calice de christ!(chalice of christ) tabernac! (tabernacle) but they satisfy that urge to growl. And I learned most of these swear words from my adorable catholic grandmother.

My personal favorite exclamation of the moment is "fucking hell." It just fits so many different situations for me. :) so if this makes me some horrible monster well so be it.

I tried that once, got some scorch marks in a personal area.

I went through a "god fucking damnit!" phase and a "jesus fucking christ" phase as well; fortunately I was usually alone trying to build a house when those came out; some people would no doubt get genuinely hostile for those, especially the last one.  (I did get chewed out once by some lady for a "goddamned" once.)

As you probably know already from having read some of my posts my dad is a retired Episcopal priest and he says God Damn it a whole freaking lot....lol

And yes I do feel I need to always preface priest with Episcopal when I talk about my dad because it makes clear that he is NOT from one of those bible thumper religions like Pentecostal or some shit

This might be one condition where your father can 'command' god to do something, with no expectation of a motivated result.

A little like praying to win the lottery, but you lose again, because prayer is weaker than probability, or 'God' thinks you would just waste the resulting wind fall by booseing it up!

As an atheist, curseing does not seem to have the precarious thrill, that a theist might command. Mentioning 'God/god' anywhere within the well formed curseing rant, is hardly more than a neural reset or frustration purge. A great deal of watts can be generated by the shear sound output, or many newtons of force applied to a flying hammer, or a multimeter.

As I have 'matured', it became clear that resorting to a frustration purge, could be very costly and dangerous, as my interests became more nerdy and equiped. Since I am now more used to failure, mixed with success, along the 'attempt curve', a rant only appears in quiet mostly, with the saving of a program, or redoing a design that was only offering another insight that I should have been 'rethought' anyway.    

Using the Lord's name in vain is a sin. It's blasphemy. That's why I do it!


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Things you hate.

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