As an atheist, I don't believe in any sort of supreme, all-knowing, benevolent, god-like being. I'm sure you all knew that already, but it's good to clarify.
Over the past few months I have developed a bit of a pet peeve.
When I stub my toe and say something like oh my god that hurt so badly, orgoddamn it, I'm obviously not saying that in a literal sense of the word. But some people, especially anonymous people online, like to point out what they believe to be a really hypocritical use of a common figure of speech. Apparently, it's hypocritical for an atheist to use the word 'god' in any context, except anything scholarly, I assume.
Today we're going to talk about why that's not true, and how these people are actually being more hypocritical than they think I am being.
Let's look at the dictionary definition of god: the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe; a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality; etc.
I don't know if you noticed this, but there is no mention of any specific god. Some ultra-religious fanatics may be under the delusional impression that there is only one god (which ironically happens to be the one in which they believe) but unfortunately for them, that is not the case.
A quick Google search will tell you that there are so many available gods, any of whom we could choose to worship if we felt so inclined, that we cannot actually count them all and come to a unanimous consensus. For a Christian (these are the people most likely to tell me I'm being hypocritical) to say that by my utterance of oh my god or goddamn it! I have just taken their gods name in vain and I should apologize for being offensive, is probably the ultimate level of blind, brainless, idiotic and condescending narcissism. Ever.
Who's to say that I didn't mean Jupiter in my head? He was a god. Or Thor. Or, more appropriately, Narcissus; he would probably be my god of choice, if only he were a god. I mean, there are an unfathomable number of gods, all accepted at one time or another throughout human history. Who are you to tell me that if I used the word 'god' I decisively meant your god.
I often want to ask these people if they even know the real name of the god they worship, because it isn't god. It's Yahweh. And you know what? The word Yahweh doesn't even mean god, it means 'to be' or 'to become'. Also, I know that Christians are theists, but have you ever stopped to consider the number of different names given to god in the Old Testament? There are almost 20. That makes me wonder a lot of different things, but I'll save that for another post.
My point, made as short and simple as I possibly can make it, is that when I use the phrase oh my god or goddamn it! I'm not trying to offend you. I'm using a figure of speech, and I'm doing so in a facetious way. If I wanted to offend you, I would actually use the appropriate name of your god. One of them, anyway.