Atheist version exclamation ?

tonyget

New Member
Mandarin
Many english exclamations are related to religion, such as "Oh my god!" "Jesus!" "Christ!" "for God's sake!" etc. Are there any "substitutes" for people who don't believe in god ?
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Yeah, there are exclamations for people who believe in sex, defecation and others :D . The most innocent I can think of is Oh, boy! but I am pretty sure there are others. See, our languages developed with our Christian faith, so those exclamations you mention are probably the most popular in most European languages.
     

    Schimmelreiter

    Senior Member
    Deutsch
    I apologise for asking native speakers the question implied in the above question: Can't also atheists, Muslims, Jews and all others be overheard saying Jeez, for instance? :)
     

    Bartek_USA

    Banned
    Polish
    I daresay people who don't believe in God or gods can also use those exclamations, they're just figures of speech after all. -> Crossposted with Schimmelreiter :)

    Ad rem, though, ones that I can think of off the top of my head:

    Oh shoot!
    (Cor) Blimey!
    Oh heck!
    ​(This one is actually the euphemis of the vulgar one "Oh F**k")
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I hear "Oh my god!" in public frequently. It is particularly commonly used by young women, including my daughters, and has no religious meaning whatsoever. It makes me cringe, but not from any personal religious objection.
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    Exactly, Andygc. Saying "God damn it!" when one stubs one's toe carries no implication that the speaker believes in God, or that the speaker believes that a deity will condemn the offending chair to an eternity of punishment in fire. :D
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Likewise, I say "Bloody hell!" when I discover something particularly bad, even though I am not religious and have no concept of hell. I don't say "Jeez", though, because I don't speak AmE.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Ad rem, though, ones that I can think of off the top of my head:

    Oh shoot! -- This one sounds like a variant on Oh shit!
    (Cor) Blimey! --
    This one actually comes from "May God blind me!"
    Oh heck!
    ​(This one is actually the euphemis of the vulgar one "Oh F**k") -- I thought heck was a variant of hell, not fuck.
     

    sandpiperlily

    Senior Member
    I'd just note that in certain parts of the US at least, the "religious" exclamations (Jesus, oh my God, goddamnit, oh hell, etc) are still considered rude in public, because you're "taking the Lord's name in vain." Religious people may perceive these expressions as disrespectful, maybe even especially if coming from a non-religious person. I experienced this in the South and had to modify my vocabulary to avoid giving the impression that I was trying to disrespect or offend my Christian neighbors.

    In most of the country, though, these expressions are not considered rude by most people and are definitely less serious than "oh shit," "oh fuck," etc.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I'd just note that in certain parts of the US at least, the "religious" exclamations (Jesus, oh my God, goddamnit, oh hell, etc) are still considered rude in public, because you're "taking the Lord's name in vain."
    That explains why they often say "Oh my gosh" instead of "Oh my God".
     

    jmichaelm

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I'd just note that in certain parts of the US at least, the "religious" exclamations (Jesus, oh my God, goddamnit, oh hell, etc) are still considered rude in public...
    I grew up in a very religious part of the US. My mother was known to exclaim, "Goodness Gracious!" and "By gum!" both of which were pretty strong statements of displeasure. No one in my immediate family used "God damn!", "Jesus!", or similar exclamations as they were considered uncouth.
     

    Smauler

    Senior Member
    British English
    I use religious phrases all the time, and I'm an atheist. I also use words such as "game" (adjective), and phrases such as "pitted against", yet cock-fighting has been illegal in the UK for over 150 years.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I'm game for a laugh. Given that sex was mentioned early on in this thread, I must say I took your reference to cockfighting entirely the wrong way. I dare say if blokes are going to be pitting their penes against each other, I think it would not count as cockfighting but as indecent exposure. Oh my gosh, the thought of it is enough to give anyone the willies.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    As others have commented, atheists and non-religious people have no issues with 'religious' exclamations, and that it is religious people who avoid them, and I wouldn't expect to hear them from my church friends. Many other exclamations available like 'Argh!' or 'Oh, no!' or 'Yikes!'
     
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