As a newly outed atheist who only began wearing the label less that a year or so ago, I have found it a bit hilarious how hung up people can be about a non believer using the word god. Many Christians will say things like, “You guys bring up/say God more than we do!” Really? If true, man, that’s just sad. I doubt it’s true though. This admonition usually comes up when theist and atheists have theological discussions and a skeptic tosses out an actual bible verse. They wouldn’t, for example, want to answer the charge levied at them that was backed up by said verse. Instead, they sneer at their supposed attacker with a weak ass insult like “How dare you…read…a book!”. Well, surprise, surprise, godless heathens know the bible too. In the end, I truly believe that this particular complaint is a fall back counter when a Christian knows they have lost and are left with nothing.
This knee jerk reaction to the word “god” being used in a certain context isn’t limited to Christians however.
During a sex related topic in an atheist thread, I happened to mention how I still shout out, “Oh God” during the big “O”. Obviously bothered by that, an atheist poster then asked me if I could find a better word to use during coitus. Uhm…Does he really think that I am going to go through some kind of mental Rolodex in order to locate what kind of exclamation would now be suitable during sex? Should I be screaming, “Oh, invisible entity I do not believe in, ohhhh, big bang theory, EVOLUTION! Abiogenesis! Abiogenesis!?”
Not. going. to. happen.
Even a longtime gal pal of who happens to be a person of faith pulled this particular card, but in a different way. See, “Nancy’s” a Mormon (pause for a moment of awed silence) and she and I often go at one another rather playfully on Facebook. After trotting the rather tired, “You’re just an atheist cause you want to sin without shame.” bs., (pause to make penis whackin’ hand gesture) I countered, “Yep, Nanc, yah got me, I am just out here living it up in sinville flush with the mounds of cash I obtained from all those banks I always wanted to knock over but never did cause Jesus stopped me. Me and the hookers are having a great time starting up that sex traffickin’ ring as well — sky’s the limit.”
“Okay sure, sure,” She wrote back, “you laugh now, but just you wait–if you ever get into a car accident, “Oh, God” will be the first thing flying out of your mouth!”
Now, I know we were just sorta dickin ‘around, but that comment annoyed me more than the, “you just want to sin” crack. Not like I hadn’t heard that whole “atheist in a fox hole” argument before, but I suppose the implications are what bothered me most. The concept borrows heavily from the apologist viewpoint that atheists really know there is a god. They assert that if and when a skeptic encounters any kind of life trouble, he will be reaching out to God to save him.
That crap is insulting on so many levels it’s hard to know where to start.
There seems to be this idea that using the word “god” as an exclamation, is some kind of literal entreaty to the almighty himself. Ridiculous. When I stump my toe and say “Oh shit!’ I am not invoking the existence of excrement. Likewise, when I yell out “Oh god, oh god, don’t stop, don’t stop!” I am not expecting ye olde heavenly father to show up and bestow upon me a mighty orgasm. I also highly doubt that any christian ladies that are having sex (and believe me plenty of Christian ladies have sex) and crying out “Oh, God” are thinking that either. Her very actions indicate this, as I certainly don’t think she would indulge if she thought the Lawd was going show up. Can you imagine having to explain to god why you decided to do the deed before marriage during the very commision of the act?
We live in a highly religious culture, one in which all atheists grew up…we all said “Jesus!” when something startled us, or “Oh, God!” when we felt compelled to sit on the edge of our seats.
It was simply a way to highlight an emotion for greater impact and the utterance has no real religious significance outside of prayer. When I use the word “god” as an atheist, it is in the same manner in which I might shout “Holy Cow” or “that’s’ the shizznit!”
If I am ever in the unfortunate position of being in a car accident, I will yell, “Oh, God” out of reflex, not as a plea. I am sure if I lived in an Islamic society, I’d be screaming, “Allah”, seconds before my ass ran into that tree.
And if I happened to be an atheist at the time of impact, that declaration would be just as meaningless.
Contrary to what theists would have you believe, many atheists, skeptics, and unbelievers die without asking god to take them into his loving arms. My father was never an admitted atheist, but he was far from being a believer. As he died of AIDS in 2004, he would slip in and out of consciousness. When somewhat aware, he’d joke around with the doctors or talk to my sister and I about the things that I suppose meant the most to him. I’d say, in light of all he was going through, he put on a rather brave face.
He never asked us to call for a reverend or a priest, and he never once did he say, “Oh, god.”
So, there yah have it apologists. It is very possible to not only die without asking to be saved, it is also wholly possible that atheists don’t hold the term “god” in the same regard as you do. Who’d have thunk it.