New atheists often struggle to express familiar ideas in secular metaphor, after a lifetime of religious brainwashing. Let's have fun in reinventing English without the baggage. Song lyrics are also neat to rewrite to familiar tunes.

cleanliness is next to thinking for yourself

Tags: secular language

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umm my dad died and went to the pacific ocean.

 

i always sing, "Godless America, land that i love"

That's a keeper! Thanks Carl.

If only we could say "holy fuck!" for "oh my god!" One would think that Catholic believers in the Immaculate Conception would appreciate such an expression. 

Yes, I use "Gesundheit" exclusively, but living in the New Orleans area, I am paranoid that recipients will recognize that I used to live as a Jew (in many local circles, almost as unthinkable as being godless. And when I say "unthinkable," I don't mean to imply hostile prejudice--the degree of ignorance is so great that I have been asked why Jews reject "God's Son," as if even Jews must believe that Jesus was that.) 

I feel equally paranoid when I say "mazel tov!" but my optimistic assumption is that people will write it off to my having grown up on the West Coast.

The other day I used "tschotchkes" in a group of New Orleans old people, and I was shocked that they not only understood, but used it as we continued our conversation. They were all fairly well-to-do, so I can only assume that they were somehow exposed to snippets of Judaism earlier in their lives.

Carl, I love "Godless America." I hope I remember to sing it that way the next time I'm in a position to so.

Oh, we have SO FAR to go!

I really used to try to alter my language, but I could just never get any of it to feel natural. I still say "bless  you" and just omit the "god" part. I figure if some mythical man in the sky can bless people, then so can I. I still say "oh my god" and things like "oh, for chrissake" when I'm frustrated. I just console myself with the fact that we have all sorts of expressions and phrases that aren't literal and don't make much sense. So, I just throw the god stuff into that category. Anyway, whenever I tried to censor the "god" curses and phrases out of my speech, it came across like I was uber religious and didn't want to "take his name in vain." That was much more uncomfortable for me! So, now I just go with it as the vain takin' heathen I am.

 

In my house TGIF does mean something different to us though. We say it's "Thank Goddard it's Friday" after Dr. Robert Goddard the rocket scientist. My fiance's middle name is Godfrey, too, which I love. I'm sure his mother never dreamed when she named him that that he would actually end up being god-free. :)

 

And I LOVE "Godless America, land that I love." I'm definitely going to be using that one from now on!

i never bleesed people after they sneezed, my grandma, an american who married a german pre wwI, used to say gesundhiet, and here in japan, no one says anything, they just look away, so you can clean up  the mess. so if i evere did , its long gone.

i do say oh my god, when im speakin english, i heard a japanese baseball player use it saying oh my gah, so i mite copy him. (the japanese dont hear the consonant when it ends a word). i really dont see why we shud change our language.  like good bye is a corruption of god be with you, so are you ganna do away with good bye? not me.

I too have ended up saying "Gesundheit!"  Despite the superstitious origins of acknowledging someone who sneezes, it's firmly ingrained in me as, as Diana points out, a bit of Good Manners. I have no problem with wishing someone "Health!"; theists I say it to seem to accept it as a common alternative to "god bless you".

I still say "bless you" and just omit the "god" part. I figure if some mythical man in the sky can bless people, then so can I.

Yes! And on a tangent, that reminded me of the short and sweet rebuttal of Pascal's Wager by Jim Huber, author of "Kissing Hank's Ass". The inscription around the "trinity knot", once properly interpreted, is priceless.

Why do people seem to have a need to incessantly comment on everything, even sneezes? Which deity do you invoke when someone farts? Is silence so fearful a thing? If I must be in some conversation in which people make references to their god beliefs, even indirectly, I look at them as though they had suddenly started to spout unintelligible gibberish. After all, I am the rational one here.
Most (if not all) of us were taught at a very young age that it is Good Manners to bless someone when they sneeze. It is not an incessant need to comment, at least in my case, it is an ingrained reflex.

... I honestly don't see why I should change my speech patterns to accommodate my atheism. If I went out of my way to write "OMFSM" instead of "OMG" or since "Godless America" or any of those things, other than in jest, I would feel like I was doing it just to make the Christians around me uncomfortable. Saying "Oh my god" and "jesus christ!" and that sort of thing is supposedly blasphemous anyway, but really, when I'm in a situation where I say those things, I don't stop to think about whether they align with my belief system. I'm fed up with something, I say what I've always said when I'm fed up with things. Making the language unwieldy for the sake of discomfiting Christians seems petty. But then, I tend to feel the same way about politically correct language of any sort. Maybe I'm too young to be curmudgeony about this sort of thing, but it makes me cranky. This sort of thing makes it look like you're into atheism as a rebellious phase, because you like pissing people off. (Not saying you, specifically, to any of the posters here-- meant it as a general. That's the impression that I get from this sort of thing, regardless of what the intent is.)

I want to exorcize theistic references from my speech, so as not to spread religious mind viruses.

There's a rebellious stage in the process of freeing one's mind, when the rebel is still entrapped and basing her identity on the now-hated overlord. But we move beyond rebellion to true freedom, when we no longer care a shit about the former alleged overlord.

So, my feeling about "Atheist" as an identity. Pfft! My life is not consumed by rejecting theism. I'm a Secular Humanist. Even when one is in rebellion, one is still a captive, and you continue to spread that hated meme just as effectively. It's as if we went around saying "I'm a not-fish!!!!" all day at the top of our lungs. Fish, fish ... still always on your mind and monopolizing your mind. So root out those useless theistic relics like rotten fish dangling from unnoticed fishing lines, caught in your boots. Let's stop dragging theism around, everywhere we go, polluting the minds of our family, friends, and innocent bystanders.

Removing religious mind virus references from habitual thought brings a breath of mental fresh air.

Ahh!

I'm a Secular Humanist too.-- What a great LOLcat!

I am more careful about my speech -- however my family is all religious -- so they would not mind the religious talk. I am the only Secular Humanist/atheist in my family.

Removing the religious mind virus is hard -- it is habitual.  I really do need to buy those books on The Mind Virus and memeplexes (I mentioned those in a nearlier discussion). 

My TO DO list is getting too long. : )

But focusing on those phrases, making an effort to "cleanse" your language, just draws attention to it. Maybe I am different, but when I say something like "bless you" to a sneeze or "on my god" when I am shocked, I am not thinking about the fact that those phrases are religious. All trying to eliminate them does is call it to mind-- if you don't want to define yourself by what you are not, why focus your attention on something that is part of that?

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