One cannot understand English without having a basic knowledge of Christianity; so pervasive is that religion on our culture. Christianity's hold on European civilization has been totalitarian.
I am in favour of a secularization of North America that is so profound that when people swear they do not use religious references.
How many Atheists, when they have an orgasm exclaim "god!" What spoils the mood more: when you say it or when your partner says it?
And why do we use "fuck" as a swear-word. The Atheist comic George Carlin often wondered, why does a word describing the act of procreation merit being turned into a pejorative?
Towards an Atheist Newspeak.
A reason why Christianity dominates the English language and culture is because the theists imposed habits of thinking, altered the meanings of words to suit their world-view and made it as difficult as possible for anyone to think outside the box they built for us. The successful struggle against these efforts is called "The Enlightenment."
Secularists have ended the domination of Christianity - people now enjoy freedom of thought, at least in most countries. The time is overdue for us Atheists to take English over - to make it more likely that people will think secular thoughts and less likely to entertain obscurantist ideas.
Here are two ways we can do this :
1) stop using words that have religious or mystical meanings. The objective is that the words will die out from lack of use;
2) Co-opt the words. change their meaning permanently so that whenever someone uses a given word it can only have a secular interpretation.
In his novel 1984, George Orwell described how a totalitarian government used language to condition people's thinking.
That language can be shaped, controlled and purposively modified is not only an idea that totalitarians can implement- it is a fact that should be appreciated by anyone desiring liberty. We Atheists are partisans in a culture war and the English language is a battlefield we must control.
I therefore submit the following list as an example of words and expressions we should use in place of the current obscurantist terms:
This seems like such a good idea someone must have already proposed it. If you can find out who please let me know. As you can tell by these first four examples, I could use some assistance.
My god - my word
bless you - you are so good looking (Seinfeld)
Jesus! - Darwin!
holy shit - blue screen!
I've thought about my swearing convention, but I haven't really found a good reason to change it. Plus, "Jesus Christ!" is ingrained into my language, like somebody else mentioned. Instead of "god" I've been using its plural, "gods" a lot. It makes people wonder. ;D
It is fine, I am sticking with the tried and true curse words, with their religious connotations making them even more enjoyable to say. Also my verbal cursing skills involve the various use of body parts, sex acts, etc. along with mostly Christian curses thrown in. Just sound right, and if I am having sex I am not sure why your partner saying oh God is anything but placing you in the position of being a God like lay, I see nothing wrong with that either lol. Why do we feel the need to change the language? The less Religion is involved in daily the more the curse words will evolve without the Christian theme, but until then when I curse I am sure it has the desired offending effect. My list would be more like MY God - MOFO, Jesus - MOFO as you can see the MOFO can be quit useful under a number of situations.
Saying that atheists should avoid using god-related swear words is about as ridiculous as saying that virgins shouldn't say "fuck". Words are vehicles of meaning, once you have the meaning, you can forget the fucking words. Syntax does not equal semantics.
Well after some one sneezes you should say something along the lines of excuse you... now for swearing. what does it matter what you should or shouldn't say.... like some one once said (cant remember) isn't it the Christians who shouldn't be taking gods name in vain. now trying to remove religion from the English language wouldn't be easy for well its heavily founded in Christianity. but then again over 200 years ago the united states was formed and we created our own form of English. So if we can spell words the way we want and say them the way we want then im sure you can change swear words.... now should they be modernized, i don't know. I just dream of the day when religion is a thing of the past and anything religious related is a swear word.
Besides, if we did remove Judeo Christianity language, we'd have to remove Greek mythology. Uhhh, and "holy cow", which seems innocuous to us but it might offend the Hindus. Honestly, being flippant about what they consider holy shows how seriously we take them... not serious. And I don't think censorship is ever a good move. A person is free to refrain from certain terms if they want, but... religion DOES have a role in our society, for better or for worse, and it's not going to help if we try to deny its influence or existence.
I work for a bank, so I have to watch the cussin' at work. I'll settle for "snap", "son of a beechnut", and "mother of frogs!" (long story). I also depend on sci-fi swearing: "frell", "frak", "rut", etc. On my own time, "fuck" and "goodgoddam" suit me just fine. I don't have a problem w/putting god into my cussing. Blasphemy, as they say, is a victimless crime. :)
I have mixed views on this. I agree totally that language matters a lot. The little words and phrases we use as a matter of course do set our thinking off in a certain directions.
However, trying to eliminate swearing that has a religious connotation may be counterproductive.
Theists that push for the removal of those terms from everyday use, too. We would be agreeing with them. For different reasons, of course, but being in agreement with them would be something to consider.
Swearing, in order to be effective, needs to be something we wouldn't say otherwise and/or used in a somewhat shocking context. Alternatives would have to be as effective in this way. They would need to contain something that is normally thought of kindly or positively with something that isn't. This would never catch on, but an example might be "Two-faced Santa!" Not perfect, but you get the idea.
Awww, giving up those words would suck all the fun out of my vocabulary! Before atheism, I never used the phrase "goddamnit!" because it was "taking the lord's name in vain." The same is true of exclaiming "oh my god!" or "jesus christ!" Those exclamations are actually considered sinful by many christians. As a born-again atheist, I rather ENJOY saying those things, for exactly that reason.