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?
I use them, and enjoy creating variations most especially involving Jesus because it's such a great name to toss around. Lately it's been "sweetpotatojesus" or "jesusonapogostick" or "jumpingjackjesus" or "goddamnjesuchristo" or "muthafuckajesus" or "frackinsmakinjesus". I could go on. As a friend of mine said, swearing is pretty unoriginal, show you have a brain and swear with feeling!
I think this is much more a social issue than a religious one.
The phrases we use to swear completely depend on our culture. Those people who swore "by Jove" in 19th century England did not believe in Jupiter. Despite this, I suspect it lost none of its meaning or offensiveness in the context of that society.
I like my swearing and reserve my right to use it as desired. I might modify my language and use different swear words around friends who are offended by some words more than others.
Most of the time it is just an automatic reaction by me to denote annoyance or emphasis, used to communicate meaning in the same way as I use all other language.
I see no reason to refrain from using those phrases and words just because you are an atheist. You don't have to believe in a god to use the word god or any words associated with it. Anyway, a lot of religions seem to try to stop you from using those words or phrases when you believe in a god so you don't 'take the lords name in vain'. I don't see a good reason to change your vocabulary. There is no reason for you to feel guilty for using a simple word, they don't have magical powers and they are meaningless.
lol Mike! :)
You can just forgive yourself ahead of time and be forewarned that some might use your words as a cudgel to show you how you are actually a believer just like they are; after all, you call out to God and Jesus. You could also use the late Aleister Crowley's method: each time you blaspheme by taking the Lord's name in vain, slash your forearm with a razor just enough to draw blood. By the time the welts are just starting to heal, you will remember the pain and forego the holy names. Be sure and get a tetanus shot.