Do you or should you use such phrases and words despite being Atheist? I'm not sure, but I am very guilty of using them anyways, mainly cause of the culture I grew up with in the US. A smidgen of me enjoys knowing that it is meaningless to me but pokes at the offending religion that is Christianity. I really should be a better person and just drop them from my vocabulary completely, yet I have the thought that it would just look like I am justifying or giving power to that religion over me. Your thoughts?
Stop ! Blasphemer
The original theory behind blasphemy as a sin and a crime was that angering God with an oath would bring down his wrath on the entire community and thus it posed a danger to all and not just to the blasphemer himself. It was supposed God would be angry should the community fail to punish blasphemy.
Later it was seen as a challenge to the authority of the state (in Britain) because the Christian religion was the law of the land and consequently blasphemy was an offense against the peace of the kingdom. The last individual prosecuted for blasphemy in Britain was George Holyoake who was convicted in 1842. The indictment read in part:
"I (meaning the said George Jacob Holyoake) do not believe there is such a thing as a god, I (meaning the said George Jacob Holyoake) would have the Deity served as they (meaning the government of this kingdom) serve the subalterns, place him (meaning Almighty God) on half-pay "—to the high displeasure of almighty god, to the great scandal and reproach of the Christian religion in open, violation of the laws of this kingdom, to the evil example of all others in the like case offending, and against the peace of our lady the queen her crown and dignity.
The upper classes did not themselves fear blasphemy, but they thought it might encourage the lower classes to question religion and from that to question monarchy and government. This fear was especially pronounced in Britain after the French Revolution.
Prior to Holyoake's case the British courts had been strict in their persecution of blasphemers, although most cases were for publications, not for speeches. Long prison terms and heavy fines were common and in many cases the judges were far from impartial. Juries routinely returned guilty verdicts sometimes without even leaving the jury box to deliberate. As dissenting sects became more common and toleration of their beliefs grew, prosecutions became less common.
Interesting topic. When I began studying religion more seriously, it was inevitable that cursing, oaths and the like would come under the microscope. I've tried to identify and eliminate the psychological stain religious fear has left in my mind. Unfortunately, the problem became how to do it without becoming neurotic in my avoidance of it. The swear words came to be seen as a psychological facet of what I had been able to intellectually reject. Some people are able to see words as tools, carrying no emotional baggage. I'm getting better at it but it's a struggle. I really just want the association gone, to not have to think about it. It's a slow process, taking years to feel comfortable living my life without the religiously tainted swear words.
Unfortunately, the proof is as they say, in the pudding. About 5 weeks ago, while finishing up some work on our rural property, I was trying to lock up the fence gate that surrounded it. Halfway through the fence was hit by lightning. A portion of the charge went through me and threw me back. The first thing that comes out of my mouth is "damnit".
I guess I need more work. :-)
Wow Greg, if that had happened to me, a lot worse than damnit would come pouring out of my mouth! lol
Well, there was a lot more pouring out of my mind than my mouth. After I regained some semblance of composure I maybe touched the ground once on the way to the pickup. The next thing out of my mouth was when I told my wife, sitting in the drivers' seat, to "get me off this hill". I think my kids were so excited they yawned and told me their latest high score on the gameboy.
Later, we all agreed I had a story to tell the grandkids. I think I'll leave a few minutes sooner next time and we'll skip the stories.
Also, wouldn't saying goddammit mean you are asking 'god' to damn something, as opposed to damning 'god'?
I always assumed it meant to have god damn something or somebody. This falls under using the lords' name in vain, although some people say it depends upon circumstances. If it were "really" important, it would be ok. If the burger king cashier shorted you $.04 it would probably constitute vanity.
Only a xtian would think it possible to damn god. You have to remember, they constantly accuse atheists of either hating god or being devil worshipers.
I'm an atheist but I'll tell you one thing. If I "did" believe in god, the most powerful force in the universe, I would not be doing him any damning. I'd take the prudent path and avoid getting hit with another lightning bolt.
Greg, I always hate when people say "you don't believe in God?", like there IS one to believe in, and I just don't. Nooooooooooooooo, I say "I don't believe there is any such thing to believe in. "Gods" are made-up." People kind of look shocked like they had not considered such a thing. What a concept!
And I have no way of responding to them that could be considered an argument. In the end it is a personal testimony. They tell me they believe in god, I say I've had no experience with god and as a result must claim disbelief. If I respect the person I might ask what evidence (personal experience, etc.) they have had to make such a claim. If I have no previous respect for the person, I might ask just for entertainment value.
I don't mind having those kind of discussions. Saying you believe without having a reason, for example, because it would be awesome, is nonsense.
Interesting. While communication in cyberspace is pretty emtpy, I can't think of abbreviations to replace OMG. When I think about it though, the fact that it is so universally (western hemisphere universal:) accepted is perhaps not that hopeful. Intersting...I will try to find replacement phrases and abbreviations that might be more true to what I intend:)
On this site, if it pertains to something Real as opposed to 'faith', I use OMS!!! Oh My Science! lol
We really need a mantra-like slogan, don't we?