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! :-)
I'll often replace one religious idea with one from a nonchristian religion often to comic effect. For example, instead of "God bless you" I'll say "Kokopelli the humpbacked fertility god bless you." (If they're Christian this makes them feel strange since they seemingly just made me violate the commandment against praying to other gods, which is tantamount to them sinning and their unnecessary guilt is humor to me.). Instead of "I'll pray for you" I sometimes say something like "I'll sacrifice a child for you, that's probably what God will demand for this." This often makes people uncomfortable or at least inquisitive and I've succesfully made a common phrase awkward to the point they won't use it around me anymore...or, more likely, hang out with me anymore.
Of course the above is just for off-hand remarks. If there's been a death in the family and someone says they'll pray for me I won't say anything like that and have even been known to say "that's considerate" or "maybe buy flowers for [surviving family member] instead." Since they're only saying they'll pray because they genuinely want to help and feel powerless to do so.
Or in my daughter's terminolgy BC=before cable (cable? what's cable?), and AD= after digital (when our old stand-alone antenna t.v went kaput forever).
I regularly use "For goodness' sake!", myself-mainly for the secular sentiment it reflects, but also for the novelty value (nobody in this neck of the woods says stuff like that anymore).
For best wishes: "Mazel tov", "I wish you the best","You are in my thoughts (as opposed to prayers)" "My heart goes out to you" "Yia sou" (Gk.- "(To) Your health."), "Salud".
To express surprise or dispair: "My goodness!"
In parting: "Stay in touch!" reflects an actual course of action that would be advantageous for continuing a friendship as opposed to "Go with God/Via con Dios!" which simply makes no sense (isn't "going with God" tantamount to dying?). Or who can find fault with "Drive carefully!" (a REAL imperative if your looking to have a longer friendship.). "It was nice seeing you again.",etc.
I guess other than simple conventional catch-phrases, the best and most meaningful dialogue probably takes place before the parting sentiments.
Good idea to start using them more though. I have heard it said (I believe from either the Polish or Hungarians) that bad thoughts scamper past our feet un-noticed, everytime we open a door, and rumor is waiting to fly from our mouths, at the first careless utterrance of a falsehood.
Such also applies to religion, which seems to spread via the unintentional, invisible usage of supernatural concepts. And yet, try as we might to educate others, frequently we utter references to the Great Floating Lie (heaven) or the Sky-Ghost (Zeus/Dios).
Incidentally I caught a friend of mine off guard one night when we were talking about the fact that the ERA still, to this day awaits passage. "Heaven forbid!" he replied. "Yes, that seems to be the problem." I retorted-usually I never think that fast on my feet. Indeed it seems all "God" or "Heaven" seem to exist for is to forbid alot of things that don't hurt anyone.
I'll second that! I'll gladly put aside my cultural amorphousness for awhile and try to experience the customs of others. I could probably learn a thing or two from that.
I think the human genetic sequence has an amazing story to tell as it has travelled the world and experienced so much and lives in every one of us. "Ethnicity" by whatever named it's called is just a way of expressing the little stops along the way of the greater journey of our species.
I'll gladly celebrate any festivity that plants a tree, honors the Earth or in some other way brings joy into our lives-genuine happiness and enjoyment are not wasted on any occasion and I'll vouch for any excuse to celebrate!
Let the good times roll!
Muah right back atcha me lassie!
By the "little guy" in my fridge I was referring to the post-modern folk-fiction character "Yehudi" (the little guy in the fridge who turns off the light when you close the door). He takes his name after Yehudi Menhuin, the American born Russian Jewish violinist whose works have graced several nations since his birth in 1916 until his death in 1999. (He has been a citizen of the U.S., England and Switzerland).
As a radio talk show guest he was widely sought after and it became a common practice to anounce him as an upcoming guest, just to get folks to tune in to the show-however Menhuin, having not even been invited (or having been invited and declined) never showed up. Thus, it kind of became a running joke to refer to anyone or anything that was mysteriously absent (like the elf in the fridge) as "Yehudi".
And btw-sometimes I DO see little elves and faeries everywhere-lucky me! It's my reality, I'll invite who I want ta!
i LOVE Bleistiffspitzer!!!! i look up the spelling, but i think it's right. . .
"Good Night, Irene" was a song, like "K-K-Katy, Beautiful Katy, You're the only g-g-girl that i adore. . ."
they're from the 1890's or early 1900's.
us 'olde' people know that stuff :]
besides that, i just love saying goddamnit and jesus h. christ. it's so blasphemous. what? are we afraid of hurting someone's feelings? also, "bloody hell!"