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! :-)
Salud = "Health" when a person sneezes
Question "How you doing?"
Possible answers in place of "Blessed" are:
1. None of your business! ;)
2. None of your "g/d" business!! ;) ;)
4. Very Good
If you're feeling devilish (lol) say the following:
6. Very good without the lord in my life (Just watch the looks of shock)
But if you really want to have a little bit of non belief fun, invoke the names of dead gods:
"Thank Zeus, Mercury, Apollo, Babalu, etc...."
i usually substitute universe for god as in thank the universe! or praise the universe! when writing things out to be snarky. my swearing is usually confined to my head as i have small children around :) but using fuck for everything there seems to work just fine lol i've never been one for the 'goddamnits' or 'jesuschrists' anyway. its funny how often you notice these things and how common they are in everyday speech when you are not a theist lol :)
also anything ron burgundy is the best 'by the beard of zeus'! great odins raven! :)
Here's some more changes to the atheist dictionairy that I would propose:
First of all, having a week be 7 days doesn't seem very non-religious of us. It is after all based on the Bible and we don't want that! I propose to count our weeks in 12 days, but then again maybe that's a bad idea because 12 is associated with religious symbolism as well. Maybe we should just stop talking about weeks altogether.
And on that same subject, I think we should do away with words like Thursday, because that comes from the word Thor and I don't believe in Thor lol!
And there's much much more we could be changing!
(Or psssssssssssssst, we can recognise that using the word God in an expression isn't the end of the world)
Sorry, I just can't let this slip (or maybe I should be happy to remove a Biblically myth): the 7 days of the week are not based on the Bible, but the 7 heavenly objects that moves between the stars: the Sun, the Moon and the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, and the names of the days in different languages refer to the names of the gods related to the objects (there are off course exceptions as the German Mittwoch (the middle of the week) and the Norwegian Lørdag (the day to have a bath)).
And consider this: if the Bible truly was the origin of the week, the names of the days would not have been from non-biblical gods.
And if Uranus had been slightly brighter we might have 8 day weeks :-)
By the wave a look at this thread to get some more input on the (lack of) originality of the Bible.
And, when I'm really pissed off I call for Hell - not the religious place but a realy-realy unplesant place where I want someone or something to go. When I get that angry you'd better stay clear for a minute or two lol!
In Hebrew, they are just called "First Day" "Second Day" and so on, until the 7th day, which is "Shabat", imported into English as the Sabbath. The importance of the 7-day week is cultural -- why 7 instead or 8 or 6? Why a week at all? Because in Jewish mythology, god created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. This far predates the European assignments of astronomical or Norse gods' names to the days of the week.
Note that the names of the days in English are NOT based on the planets, except for Sunday, Monday and Saturday -- the others are Norse gods' names: Tiw for Tuesday, Woden for Wednesday, Thor for Thursday, and Frigg for Friday.
One mythology is as good as another -- please don't devalue Hebrew mythology because the Fundies falsely believe it -- in the public schools, we are taught Greek, Roman and Norse mythology and taught to value them, when other people's mythologies go untaught and unappreciated for what they are. I find it especially hurtful that MY mythology has been so twisted by loonies that you associate it with them and not with me.
Natalie - thank you so much for the way you expressed your thoughts on the Torah our mythology so well - to me and others in judaism, the torah is a mythology as full of meanings and contradictions as any other mythos.
by the way, the celts also used the lunar calendar and the sundown to sundown day. as you also noted, all peoples take things from others and make them their own. hebrews were influenced by others and they, in turn, influenced further groups. stories, science, ideas, inventions are all built on the past. watson & crick were not the only ones working on the structure of DNA, they were the first to publish. three people invented the radio - marconi in Italy and "two of his contemporaries Nikola Tesla and Nathan Stufflefield took out patents for wireless radio transmitters. (Nikola Tesla is now credited with being the first person to patent radio technology; the Supreme Court overturned Marconi's patent in 1943 in favor of Tesla).
it would be good if some people would start to look at the 'bible' from the hebrew respective also instead of only the christian one - they are very different. of course, then there is the 'martian' perspective :)
Thanks for your response, Alexa! I get so tired of people being so totally uneducated about MY cultural heritage, and then attacking it on the basis of what those who have twisted it out of recognition say about it. I want my culture to be appreciated as much as those of others: No one derides Amaterasu Omikami (the main goddess of the Shinto religion in Japan) or the tanuki (badger) and kitsune (fox) stories , and no one attacks Kannon (the multi-armed goddess, or Daibutsu (the Buddha) -- they have come be be regarded as what they are -- folk tales and relics of an ancient culture. But no one believes in them literally, either, except perhaps Shinto and Buddhist priests. The general populace of Japan doesn't even think about them.
So why can't MY culture be on an equal footing? Why do others get to enjoy their holidays like Cinco de Mayo, and St. Patrick's day (do you detect a religious theme there?) but I'm supposed to be ashamed of what my ancestors thought and wrote?
If people don't like the way the loonies REPRESENT ancient Jewish writings to fit their own twisted notions, then attack THEIR ideas, not the writings. The loonies haven't got a clue as to what the writings meant IN THEIR TIME, anyway. And they are certainly unaware of the Jewish tradition of questioning everything, and interpreting the law to fit the situation, and discarding laws that no longer make sense. They don't know that the Tanach (Torah, law; Nevi'im, prophets and Ketuvim, writings) is a compendium, or library of Jewish writings by many different authors, and that, of course, it contradicts itself, just because of that. They don't realize the ongoing discussion, debate, modifications and Teiku (can't be decided conclusions) it has undergone in books such as the Talmud, Shulchan Aruch (Long Table), Pirke Avot (Sayings of the Fathers) and Maimonides' Guide to the Perplexed. Heck, even the Reform Prayerbook gets rewritten ever once in a while to reflect current thinking -- the latest edition is carefully constructed to avoid sexist language!
Coming from a Reform Jewish perspective, I can't relate to the stories of those who received a strict Christian upbringing -- we just didn't have the same experience. We were encouraged to think for ourselves, but also taught to know our own history (which no one else does). Christians will often claim that we respect Jesus as a prophet when we do no such thing -- we never even TALK about him. He's totally non-existent in Jewish life.
Part of the non-Jewish confusion about how you can be an atheist and a Jew stems from that total ignorance. It's like, how can you be a Norwegian and also a Christian? I'll bet they teach Norse mythology in their schools as a cultural heritage, not because they believe in it, and all Mexicans know about Chupacabra and La Llorona. I want to be able to enjoy MY myths as well as my philosophical heritage (which involves a LOT more than just god stories), without being attacked or shamed for it.