We need to put together a dictionary of phrases that express our meanings without invoking god. My reason for doing this is that i don't want people to think I'm religious, so I don't want to say things like "Thank god!" or "I'll pray for you."
So I have a few, but PLEASE add your own -- maybe we can make a document or page about it. Mine are:
(Of Jewish origin) saying BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (Common Era) instead of BC (before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini = in the year of our Lord -- he ain't MY lord, that's for sure!)
Saying "I'll keep you in my thoughts" instead of "I'll pray for you" because I won't. Even the Quaker "I'll hold you in the light" is better than promising to pray for someone. When I hear that someone is gravely ill, I say "I hope for the best possible outcome" which doesn't specify what that outcome is -- sometimes it's recovery, but sometimes, it's the deliverance of that person from their suffering.
"For goodness' sake!" instead of "For god's sake"
"By all that is in me" instead of "By god!" Because all I have to offer is what is in me and what I have to give.
"I am grateful" rather than "I am blessed" because maybe it's only the uncaring universe that I have to be grateful to, but gratitude is a very human emotion.Even "Thanks to the luck", because luck is a human, but not a deistic concept.
"Gezundheit" (which means "Health!") or just "To your health" instead of "god bless you" when someone sneezes. Or be like the Japanese and say nothing at all -- a sneeze isn't very meaningful in these modern days!
I dunno -- I may think up more, but I'd be VERY interested to see what other people come up with -- I KNOW there are a lot of fertile minds out there! :-)
In response to scientific denialism, how about: Darwin said. I believe it. That settles it.
I agree with you, but it's also hard to escape. For example, most salutations with "good" in it can be traced back to religious roots. Even our simple "Goodbye" can be traced back to "Godbwye" (god be with ye).
I say Gesundheit when someone sneezes, I have no qualms about it and I enjoy its meaning. I do think it's silly that we acknowledge people's bodily functions; the Japanese have got it figured out.
What I can't get away from saying is the 'ol "OMG!" I've gotten a lot better about it recently, substituting "Zoinks!" for a pesky "oh my god!"
That being said, after having rewatched Battlestar Galactica, a coworker pointed out last week that I exclaimed, "oh my gods!" Which I'm kind of okay with.
Personally, I enjoy the Futurama bit with Bender's, "Oh. Your. God." -- But it's awkward to slip into casual conversation and I don't like to assume. :)
I do really, really enjoy saying "god damn it" and I don't really want to give that one up.
There's another level on which I almost *don't* want to stop saying phrases that invoke god. Only because it reminds me of when my mom converted us to Catholicism and I got sucked in and tried to become a good Xian by not swearing, taking the lord's name in vain, blah blah blah...
So part of me feels like when I say, "Oh thank goodness!" I'm coming off as a good little Xian who doesn't want to break commandment.
It's harder when someone says they'll pray for you. It's easy for me not to say it, but I can't make someone else not say it. A year and a half ago my grandma was in rehab after a minor stroke, I was in town visiting and my family and I went to a local restaurant after leaving the rehab center. My grandpa mentioned to the waiter that my grandmother was recovering, which brought on the sympathetic nods and facial gestures, followed by the ol stand-by, "she'll be in our prayers."
In an ideal situation, i.e. a situation when I'm not at work with a customer, I would smile and very kindly say, "Well thank you, but that's not necessary, but I appreciate your concern." ... Or something.
Whatever it is that I'm doing, I manage to avoid invoking god - so something's working. It's like how we manage to avoid talking about Santa or the Tooth Fairy on any given day. When the subject matter has no influence on my life, it's not present enough in my thoughts to be invoked. Easypeasy.
It's dealing with other people invoking god that's got me baffled. I work in a local retail chain that caters to backyard bird feeding and for the most part, things are great. I'd say about 95% of the staff is atheist or agnostic - a fact that would horrify a vast majority of our customers. I have, on occasion, had customers bring up religion or mention god. I just ignore it and bring the conversation back to a more natural state. For the most part, it's people imparting their awe of nature to me. So, generally speaking, it's not the worst scenario to be in when people bring up their deity. Like the other day I had a guy complaining about squirrels in his yard. He was lamenting the cost of birdseed and how quickly the squirrels consume it. He said something mildly negative about the squirrels and then backtracked and said, "don't get me wrong - I know ALL of god's creatures are beautiful, but they're just eating me out of house and home!" I had a lady tell me that seeing a Hummingbird in her yard felt like god sending her a message, mentioning, "Be still my heart and you will know I'm god." - Of course it's fucking ridiculous for these people to think that seeing a NATIVE god damn hummingbird in their yard is any kind of miraculous sign from god, but they do! Another lady was telling a marvelous story about hiking in the snow and coming upon a fresh kill from some bird of prey, then all of a sudden she throws in how wonderful she thinks it is that god has made a creature for every other creature..... ugh. So... anything, I'm getting really off-topic - I'll stop. :)
Lastly, I do enjoy exclaiming, "Jesus Christ!" I also enjoy, "By the hammer of Thor!" and "Christ on a stick".
Also thanks to Futurama, "Great Zombie Jesus!" -- Finally, to raise some eyebrows you can always invoke the mighty powers of "Jesus-Titty-fuckin'-Christ" ... always a favorite with the kiddies!