I once was criticized on Facebook when I used OMG in a comment during an atheist discussion. I have a hard time not saying “God bless you” when a person sneezes. These are phrases that are so deeply ingrained within our society that I don’t even make the religious connection when using them. I was raised Christian so saying God bless you when someone sneezes became a habit. The ancient Romans would say “Jupiter preserve you” when a person sneezed. I’m trying to bring that back. But I am making a conscious effort not to say God bless you or anything at all when a person sneezes. We don’t say anything to a person when they cough or burp, why should we do it when a person sneezes? The reason we do is rooted in ancient superstition.
I won’t give up saying, “Jesus Christ!” because it is so fun and effective to convey an emotion.
This past weekend myself, along with my wife and kids were driving to a family get together. My wife was driving. And although she thinks she is a stellar driver, I become nauseous when she drives. She slams on the brakes or pushes on the gas sporadically creating a terrible rocking sensation. I just got back from Disney and Universal in Florida. I can handle any crazy simulated ride through space or fly around Hogwarts on a broom or go on any roller coaster but it takes my wife’s driving to make me frightened and sick. So when she took a curve at an exceptionally high speed, I grabbed onto the “oh shit” bar and exclaimed, “Jesus Christ!”
The kids immediately jumped on me. “Hey, you don’t believe in Jesus!” They began to laugh and tease me because they know me as Mr. Non-Believer and here I am calling out to Jesus for help when my wife decides to bring out her inner Danica Patrick.
I had to explain to the boys that I wasn’t calling out to Jesus. I told them when I yell Jesus Christ it is the same as saying “Holy Shit!” They jumped right on the word “Holy.” I can’t win. I then corrected myself and said it is more like “oh shit!”
The truth is that words are fun. Especially curse words. Yelling Jesus Christ is even more fun because when I was a kid, any time I said the name Jesus I had to bow my head upon speaking the name. It was forbidden to say Jesus Christ or oh God in a negative way. Goddammit or simply damn was equally forbidden. But now, I just love saying all of those words to express an emotion and I do so without guilt. It isn’t just Christian gods I enjoy exclaiming. Xander on Buffy the Vampire Slayer was fond of saying, “Merciful Zeus!” which I adopted.
So please stop being so anal about atheists not allowed to ever speak the name of a god or calling something “heavenly.” I’m sure lots of atheists call out to god during sex, it doesn’t mean anything. They are only words used to express an emotion. We are not closet believers.