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?
Mordecai, thanks so much. You used "God" just as I would have.
We assign items their proper place, you and I. And we agree in this!
Mindy, I cannot imagine so refined a person as you would resort to such expressions. Christ-on-a-crutch, say it ain't so!
Oh well. Enjoy the f trip.
Hell if I want to get into swearing round the world. All god's chilluns gots they ways and means to make they feelin's felt by other'ns.
My mother tongue is the Queens English; born in Manhattan, I grew up in the Rockaway Beach section of Queens. ;-p In the course of my life I have added curses from other languages heard in the streets and they have enriched me. Words from Greek, Italian, and Spanish were among the first I added to the repertoire. Later I found that some of the colorful words in Yiddish were taken from Slavic languages; more for my patois of profanity.
Much of this "bad talk" is tinged with religious overtones; I've heard Sicilian grandmothers curse god in frustration, and god knows these women are believers. It's part of natural discourse and to censor myself either way is unnatural.
One of my favorite imprecations is generally a big hit with people. It doesn't profane, but disdain? Oh my, indeed! It comes from Yiddish: May a baby be named for (that person)! Soon! :-)
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.
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.