I have noticed that a lot of atheists and skeptics will still say “Oh my god” or “Jesus” when they are surprised by something.

I always tell people, “Don’t use the g-word”, or “Don’t use the j-word.”

People will defend the practice by saying that it is due to habit. Some excuse it, saying that it is just part of the culture.

For those who say it is habit, I say: Say strong, my naturalistic brothers and sisters. Change your habits to reflect your rational outlook.

For those who say it is okay because it is part of the culture, I reject that excuse. How did it come into culture? From religion. We must remove all religious and superstitious influences from our culture and our thinking. If we do not remove religion in small ways, how can we remove in large ways?

People should not replace “Oh my god” with something like “Oh my Darwin”, or “Oh my Hithchens”. We do not worship fictional characters. We should neither invoke nor give the appearance of worship of fictional or actual people, living or dead. Do not personify or
anthropomorphize the impersonal universe.

The only exclamation I can think of at the moment is: “Uranium 235!” [Note  1]

Make your awe and wonder reflect the mechanistic nature of the universe.

[1] Would “Thorium Tits” count as a compliment amongst the scientifically literate?

Views: 391

Comment by James on October 4, 2012 at 10:49pm

I very rarely use any exclamations of religious background, but then again I never really did in the first place. But if we are to avoid "god damn", and the like due to non belief in the referenced deity does that mean Thursday (and most other days of the week and months) is also off the table since I don't believe in Thor? It's a question of 'what's in a name', and can the past meaning of a term change over time?

Comment by Doug Reardon on October 4, 2012 at 11:39pm

Jumpin Jehosephats!

Comment by Grady Jean on October 4, 2012 at 11:41pm


Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on October 5, 2012 at 3:57am

Here is one from a previous post.

Comment by SteveInCO on October 5, 2012 at 8:13am

Going to "Oh my Darwin" will simply be interpreted by the other side as evidence that we worship Darwin.  And I hear that stupid accusation (as well as ones that we consider Dawkins a prophet and The God Delusion as a sacred text) quite often enough.

Even as hard core an atheist as Ayn Rand had no problem with the practice you are complaining about, she'd let loose with an exasperated "Oh, Lord!" when she saw something stupid in a book.

Gunsmiths have a term for small springs found in guns, they call them "Jesus springs."  Because when you aren't careful and it just flies away from you and you have no idea where it went (and get to spend the next half hour looking for it--hopefully you aren't working over deep pile carpet), you exclaim "Jesus!"  And that's pretty much true whether you are an atheist (and the word has no meaning) or a Xian (and believe it's blasphemous).

It seems that the only truly satisfying cussing we can do is in whatever language we learned first; you can spend years and years studying Russian, say, and living in their country... and when the car won't start, or the dog shits on the carpet three minutes before your dinner guests are expected to arrive, you will still curse in English, and feel the frustration decrease.

But I do have to wonder what a society that was atheist from the ground up would use for these purposes.  They wouldn't invoke a deity, having no real concept of it other than out of mythology books.  And they probably wouldn't use words referring to having sex.  I mean really, isn't "get fucked" a good thing to wish on someone?  Maybe some word meaning "rape" will fill the void.  And there is always scatology (shit, piss, etc.).

Comment by Lance Buckley on October 5, 2012 at 1:35pm

If in doubt, go with Battlestar Galactica. Godsdammit.

Comment by Lewal on October 5, 2012 at 3:49pm

Yeah I go with "gods" too. It's not that difficult a habit to adopt (doesn't take much time), and if questioned about it, it's easy to just say something like "Well, don't want to leave anybody out." At which point you can proceed as shrewdly or graciously as you like.

Comment by Dale Headley on October 5, 2012 at 4:17pm

Not to brag, but I long ago trained myself to never blurt out appellations to a non-existent deity.  When I feel an "OMIGOD!" coming on, I'm always able to substitute "OMIGOSH!"  Of course, I had some help on that from an unlikely source.  When I was in 7th grade, a school carpenter overheard me exclaim, when I used his hammer and accidentally caused the nail to shoot away from my hand, "GOD THAT FLEW!"  He lectured me sternly about not uttering "the Lord's name in vain."  I have never done so, since.  I may occasionally say "Dammit!" but never GODdammit!"  It has nothing to do with using God's name profanely; it only affirms my refusal to accept the absurdity of his/hers/its reality.

Comment by Becca on October 5, 2012 at 7:03pm

Typically I say 'shit' or 'fuck' but sometimes there just isn't a good replacement for saying 'god damn it'. It's a cultural thing, most of us who are native English speakers are raised to treat 'god damn it' and similar phrases as a expletives.


Comment by Unseen on October 5, 2012 at 10:21pm

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!!! This thing again. Saying "Oh God" means about as much as "Break a leg." In other words, not to be taken literally.

Just like the woman I knew who said "I didn't liberate myself from male domination just to have women start telling me how to think, feel, and behave," I'm going to use a common colloquial expression, having the added bonus that in doing so I'm being blasphemous even if it bothers other atheists.


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