Do you take the Lord's name in vain?

Do you find yourself saying things like "for God's sake!", "Heaven help us", etc?

Or do you, as an atheist, make a conscious effort to abstain from using these figures of speech?

I'd be interested in hearing fellow atheists' thoughts on this.

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I make a conscious effort to abstain from those figures of speech.

Look, all I said was "That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehova!"


He said it again!


I don't think it ought to be blasphemy, just saying Jehova!


You're only making it worse for yourself.


Worse? How can it be worse? Jehova! Jehova, Jehova, Jehova!

Haha, this topic was ripe for a Monthy Python quote, well played sir.

   Sometimes it's hard not to.  The linguistic idioms are ingrained into us since childhood, especially if at least one parent was christian.  I have a Buddist friend that says god bless you after someone sneezes.  I try to say gesundheit, (litterally a wish for good health), or with a few brown ales in earthy company, "did you get any on you?". 

   I find it best to remain tacit if the real appropriate words escape me at the time.

Saying God Damn it or Jesus Christ isn't taking the lord's name in vain. Don't take the lord's name in vain means: Don't take credit for natural phenomena like a flood, or solar eclipse. Saying you caused a natural disaster, or took credit for the sun rising and setting would be taking credit for acts of god which is vain.
In case you didn't know the origin of saying bless you after a sneeze if because it was believed that sneezing got the devil out of you. Illness was though of as possession by the devil. If you were blessed after the sneeze and before the next inhale it was believed that the devil wouldn't be able to re-enter. A kind of amateurish exorcism.
So that's why I continue sneezing. The devil keeps getting back in. Or.... I'm spawning demons.

I try not to use these figures of speech when I'm in the company of anyone other than family. Not out of fear of causing offence to the devout, but because I don't want anyone to think that I believe in any of it. My family all know I'm an atheist and most of them are, too, so they know that phrases like "God damn it" are just meaningless figures of speech to me. If I do make some such reference at home it's usually done with irony. I've often said to my husband "thank god I'm an atheist!"

My husband calls the area where we live 'God's country'. He's a city boy but we live in the area where I grew up which is fairly rural and very scenic (but then all of Scotland is). He's come to admire the surrounding countryside and whenever we come back from a visit to the city or trip elsewhere he'll say "here we are, back in God's country". He's as much an atheist as I am.


You might find this of interest but this is not really what is meant by 'taking the Lords name in vain'. What it means is swearing an oath in the lords name and not abiding by it. God is the title whereas Yahwe, for example, is the name.

Colloquially though, I think we all do - I know I do. It's culturally ingrained in us but I don't see it as a big deal. Another interesting colloquialism is sneezing... I always say "science" when I or anyone else sneezes, it's just a for the LOLz and also because it's quite a good consciousness raiser.

However, I'll say "thank you" if someone says "bless you" to me, I'm not a dick - ha ha ha!


It was not my intention that members would take the title of my post too literally. I wasn't trying to get into a debate about it's interpretation. I can see from your reply and that of another member that interpretations vary.

I'm new to Atheist Nexus and was simply trying to generate a lighthearted discussion about how we atheists feel about making religious references in our speech. 

Oops I didn't see the other replies... No worries mate, it's all good. They're just words to me. AFAIC atheists can use them all they want, it doesn't imply that they believe in the sky daddy. I think Jeff Dee said he uses 'frack' but that this doesn't mean he believes in Caprica or cylons, LOL.

I know what you mean. I always find other peoples reaction funny when I make a 'god' colloquialism because whilst they know I'm an atheist they're bemused when I say it. It's something I got a lot during the census campaign: 'if you're not religious for god's sake say so'. The irony was lost on ALL of my theist (christian and muslim) friends...

Although none of them thought it was a blasphemy or that I was 'taking the Lords name in vain'. It's only the seriously muddled thinkers that invest words with magic powers! Anyway, blasphemy is a victimless crime.
Blasphemy is a real crime in Pakistan and Ireland. If you do further research you will find blasphemy laws in many countries and states within the U.S.




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