On Twitter, Atheists Swear a Lot More Than Christians Do

I recently posted about a study done by University of Illinois psychologist Ryan Ritter (published in Social Psychological and Personality Science) in which his team compared atheists and Christians on Twitter to discern any differences. You can see my analysis of the paper here.

One of the visuals I mentioned was this one:

I thought that was fascinating. According to the graphic, Christians used the word “know” 211 times per 100,000 words, compared to 198 times per 100,000 words for atheists. Meanwhile, atheists used “thought” more than Christians did (59 times per 100,000 words compared to 44 times per 100,000 words, respectively).

We don’t have context for those words, but it’s interesting to consider why this might be the case. (More on that in a moment!)

Ritter has now created visualizations allowing us to see where there are other language differences between the two groups, and these are even more entertaining than the previous image.

It turns out we’re prone to using the word “like” while Christians are way more likely to use “love”:

When it comes to religion-based words, Christians love to talk about Christianity (Jesus/Lord/Bless/Church) while atheists talk about religion as a concept (religious/belief/morality)… and the bad aspects of it (like “Hell”):

Finally, in what may be my favorite image *ever*, it turns out atheists swear a hell of a lot more than Christians do:

As I said before, there may be a good reason for this. Atheists (or at least those people likely to follow prominent atheists on Twitter) tend to tweet about things they’re pissed off about, especially regarding religion. Christians (or those who follow prominent Christians on Twitter), on the other hand, like to tweet about church and God and other fucking shit like that. (Dammit!)

Not that Ritter was suggesting this, but I don’t think this says anything about the nature of Twitter or the differences in beliefs between atheists and Christians. It’s not that Christians are good and atheists are bad.

It’s just that, online, conversations about atheism tend to revolve around the problems with religion while Internet Christians talk a lot about God and their churches. If atheists were in the majority, you might very well see Christians venting their frustrations on Twitter.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • MD

    Why are “swear words” in the negative emotion range?

    • pictor

      Swear words are not inherently wrong, but they do usually represent a negative emotion. We usually use them when we are upset, or angry, or despondent. Not always, something a “Fuck yeah!” can be a cheer, but it will usually be something less pleasant.

      • MD

        They can alos be used to show amazement. The problem is seeing those words as inherently bad, which is quite funny because they are usually words that describe bodily functions. What’s wrong with fucking? And we’d be in a lot of trouble if we didn’t shit.

        • The Other Weirdo

          Fuck me, but that’s an incredibly fucking eloquent way of putting that shit.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          But oddly, we get in entirely different kinds of trouble if we don’t do shit.

        • pictor

          You aren’t making any point I didn’t already make. They are not inherently bad, and they are sometimes reflecting positive emotions…but they are usually used negatively. The word isn’t bad, but the sentiment is usually still negative.

          That doesn’t make it wrong to use…just a fact about how it’s used.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Darned if I know.

  • Katarn

    I think it is interesting that christian negative emotion words seem to be all about war. Enemies, enemy, attack, atttacks, terrorist.

    • Free

      Because we are in a real battle. One, a true believer who is alive spiritually can see. The rest wander around like puppets in the battle.

      • blasphemous_kansan

        I pity you.

        • Free

          That means a lot.

          • blasphemous_kansan

            You say that, but I’m skeptical of your sincerity.
            The ‘always at war’ mindset of you and your ilk is more vulgar, and speaks more to your morality, than any ‘bad word’ spoken in any language. It is truly perverse, the antithesis of civilized thought.

            But hey, I hope you enjoy your little perceived battle. Maybe you’ll be the first kid on your block to collect the scalp of a heathen.

            Edit: And, in keeping with the theme of the article, your fervent desire to do battle with the unclean is nothing less than fucking bullshit.

            • Free

              You certainly have validated the point.

              To say that there is a war does not constitute a judgement on your part about my intent or character. I am grieved sincerely over the reality of the sin in my own heart and of the reality of our blindness as humans. I am not on an “evil under every rock” quest nor do I delight in anyones suffering or pain. I do however, acknowledge that good and bad exists in this world and their source is greater than a few chemical reactions

              • blasphemous_kansan

                “You certainly have validated the point.”

                I have a funny feeling that in your mind I had validated all your little notions before I, or anyone else here, started typing.

                “To say that there is a war…blah blah…blindness as humans.”

                Some croutons with your word salad? Maybe a side order of relevance or coherence?

                ” I am not on an “evil under every rock” quest nor do I delight in anyones suffering or pain.”

                If that’s true, then you need to work on your self-expression, and maybe not spurt out bullshit like “Because we are in a real battle. One, a true believer who is alive spiritually can see. The rest wander around like puppets in the battle.” To say that you are self-contradictory in this point is the kindest that I can be. To say that you appear to be backpedaling from a particularly bloodthirsty statement that you made would be less kind, but I believe more accurate.

                ” I do however, acknowledge that good and bad exists in this world and their source is greater than a few chemical reactions”

                Um, did I make this claim? With whom are you arguing this point? My likeness doesn’t translate well to the straw medium, so you can stop your strawman argumentation right here, if you please.

                Serious question: do you ever wonder why you come off as an asshole, and not the keeper of some incredible and obvious truth? Oh, right, it’s because we’re “wandering like puppets in the battle.” My mistake.

                • Free

                  You seem quite offended. I appreciate your honest candor. Sweeping comments are not wise. Thank you for pointing out out what appears as condescending babble. I totally get your perspective on my seemingly arrogant comment. I cannot apologize for grappling with morality, it’s source and it’s consequences. It is offensive to us all. Nevertheless, it is. I’m out so as not to further offend.

                • blasphemous_kansan

                  “You seem quite offended.”

                  You are mistaken. I am not offended. Your beliefs are patently ridiculous, but they are not offensive to me to the point where I feel I must oppose their expression. I am merely galled that someone claiming to know the secret of Objective Morality (which supposedly would include at least a small dose of humility) comes in here spouting about how they literally have a sixth sense for god-power, and that the rest of us were only “sort of” people, and that they are engaged in a ‘real battle’ that only they can perceive via use of this power. All emotional reaction on my part is a result of the constant face-palming I’ve been doing whenever you make another lap on the circular logic train.

                  Thanks for sort of apologizing for what “appears to be condescending babble” and the “seemingly arrogant comment” without admitting that what you were saying was both condescending and arrogant. That would’ve been nice, but baby steps I guess. Will similar apologies be issued to the other 10 or so people whom you have insulted in this thread?

                  ” I cannot apologize for grappling with morality, it’s source and it’s consequences.”

                  Ok….I, nor anyone else, never indicated that this was necessary, so since we’re playing nice now please, one more time, put away the straw man.

                  “It is offensive to us all. ”

                  Well, it really isn’t, and I’m not even really sure what that sentence means, or what “it” is.

                • Troy Hardin

                  “I’m out so as not to further offend.”
                  Wrong. You’re out cuz you just got punked like the little bitch you are! BAMMM! Like the taste of that bitch pudding?

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  The sentiment, I assure you, is shared.

                  However, do ya gotta call hir a “bitch”? It’s kind of sexist…

                • Troy Hardin

                  Can’t tell if joking… but in case you aren’t: It’d be you who is the sexist one here. You’re implying that only women can be demeaned in such a way. Besides, I thought it was a man, I didn’t think a woman could structure such a well thought out argument with such lexicon. Bamm, he strikes again!! (yes the misogynist stuff is in humor, tasteless as it may be.)

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  It’s demeaning to men because it’s essentially calling a man weak and womanly, thus implying, and reinforcing the idea that, being a woman is a bad thing.

                  Hence, sexist slur.

                  Oh, and “tasteless” doesn’t even begin to describe your posting, cupcake.

                • Bone Wilder

                  That’s all on you bro. Plus I don’t really give a shit ‘shrug’. I can’t help you if you want to continue to associate words with your hatred of women. Srry.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  One: I am a woman.

                  Two: I am not “associating words” with anything, I am pointing out associations that already exist, and are harmful.

                  Three: You may not give a shit, sweetcheeks, but I do. Especially when it concerns the ongoing oppression of women.

                • Bone Wilder

                  I know you are a woman my man. I just don’t understand why you want to continue the reinforcement of negative connotations against a group you claim to care so dearly for. You sir are a master troll. Unfortunately for you, I’m better.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Last time I checked, I was a cat — I think I’d notice a complete change of species…

                  BTW, precious, pointing out actual, ongoing harm that is ultimately enabled by “jokes” like yours is not “trolling”.

                • Bone Wilder

                  Dude, are you going through one-upping your own posts???

                  xD

                  Stop being to obtuse and you may actually get to live your life and tackle actual problems instead of just manufacturing straw men (oh, I’m sorry, straw people) that you can easily topple (or at least try). Because how it stands now you are a single loud voice on the internet who doesn’t even know who her enemy is.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  I’m trying to see your point, but I can’t get my head that far up my ass.

                • Bone Wilder

                  Fair enough. But I’m sure if you manage to get it up there you will find it smells much better than being stuck in your vag like it is now.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Careful, your Christlike humility is showing.

        Kidding! I kid. You’re very arrogant. And paranoid, though that’s beside the point.

  • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

    “It’s not that Christians are good and atheists are bad.”

    And it’s not like swearing is intrinsically bad, either. Aren’t we allowing ourselves to fall victim to a somewhat religious interpretation of language here? Sometimes swearing is the best way to get your point across.

    • dats3

      I agree. I see no difference in saying holy shit or holy crap. I think “bad words” are any word used to hurt or demean someone else. Calling someone stupid would be using the word “stupid” as a bad word. I do try to adjust my language based on who I am with because I do recognize that not everyone sees it my way. Like, i’m not going say fuck at my son’s school, but when I’m in my car driving away I don’t censor my language.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Not all demeaning language is bad either, though I generally agree.

    • Malcolm McLean

      It’s intrinsically bad. Swearing only has a point when words are socially recognised as unacceptable.

      • C Peterson

        Why is using a word that is socially unacceptable intrinsically bad?

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          You’re asking this of the person who claimed that gay people shouldn’t be using words that “belong” to Christians. I breathlessly await the answer.

  • Rain

    Wish I could see the visualizations on his page but I uninstalled Java. (Yeah I’m probably the only person in the world that uninstalled Java.)

  • Machintelligence

    Those Christian fundamentalists should go “know themselves” (in the biblical sense!)

  • Art_Vandelay
    • JET

      Tim Minchin is f**king awesome!

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

        “I don’t always have my piano at traffic lights”

        That was fucking awesome :)

        • JET

          Not self-censoring. Just using Tim’s example of “f**king” being essentially the same as “fucking”.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

            I edited my post after I realized why you did it.

  • Tainda

    I’m the type of person who thinks words are words. Fuck is such a versatile word and I LOVE it! I’m also the type of person who can check her language when the need arises. I respect people and realize there is a time and place.

    Anyone else find it interesting that “cunt” is right in the middle?

    • Willy Occam

      Yeah, I was trying to wrap my mind around a religious person using the word “cunt”; don’t think I’ve ever heard that before.

      I once had a squeaky-clean Mormon colleague who would go to great contortions to avoid using any “dirty” words. He wouldn’t even use the word “butt”… had to say “bottom” instead, no matter what the context. “We’re going to kick their bottoms” doesn’t have quite the impact without the word “asses” or even “butts”; I felt like saying, “what, are you seven years old?” Guess he didn’t want to risk the opportunity to have his own planet someday.

      • Tainda

        My supervisor does not cuss at all. I laugh constantly at her because she makes up the funniest words to say, Pooperdoodles! We are quite the pair. Especially when we are putting on iPad screen protectors, I cuss like a fucking sailor lol

        Goes something like this…

        SHIT!

        Oh doodles!

        DAMNIT!

        Fiddlesticks!

        • iamfantastikate

          My fundie mother is this way. To avoid saying shit, she’ll say “shoot,” yes, but another, more random word makes an occasional appearance: “turkey doodoo.”

    • SinginDiva721

      Reminds of this classic scene from Boondock Saints:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ck09w5Gna04

      • Tainda

        Ok, you just won 1,000,000 internet points from me with that! That’s my favorite movie!

        • SinginDiva721

          It’s one of my favorites too. Haven’t watched in a while either. Me thinks I may have to watch it tonight. :-)

          • Tainda

            Anything with Norman Reedus I’m all over lol

            • SinginDiva721

              I love him too. I’m hysterical that I have to wait until October for more Walking Dead.

              • Tainda

                Me too!

  • KeithCollyer

    I wonder if the preponderance of “Miss” on the christian side is about being polite to a young girl more than a negative?

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Sure, if, by “polite” you mean “condescending”…

  • rhodent

    Forgive the predictable comment, but someone has to say it:

    Jesus! That damn chart is some fucking cool shit!

    • meekinheritance

      You know I love it! It serves as a testimony to the glory and wondrous magnificence of our community.

    • Zugswang

      It’s one of the as-yet unnamed rules of the internet: Any article or discussion related to swearing will invariably generate numerous comments with good-humored, tongue-in-cheek curses.

    • phantomreader42

      Why must you swear so fucking much? :P

    • Noelle

      Hell, no. It has way too many fucking circles.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Christians swear as much as atheists do, on Twitter and others. We just don’t see it because Jesus forgives them and magically erases the words from the ether and our memories. Jesus didn’t die for nothing, you know.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Well yeah, I learned every curse word I know* from church-going Christian children and their kids. Funny how the most commonly heard ones were ethnic and racial slurs.

      *Except the ones out of Elfquest. >.>

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Awww… puckernuts.

  • gimpi1

    Also, perhaps Atheists don’t think swearing is intrinsically bad. I don’t exactly call myself an Atheist, but I’m not a believer, either. I (unfortunately) swear like a sailor denied leave. It seems to relieve stress, and I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t. I try to clean up my language around kids and my mother-in-law, however.

    I find the dominance of the word “know” among many Christians fascinating. I have several times asked friends how they “know” something and have discovered that they don’t seem to mean the same thing that I mean by that word.

    When I say I “know” something, I mean I have what I consider to be almost iron-clad factual evidence for my statement. When my Christian friends use the the word “know” they often mean something that they feel very strongly must be true. Evidence doesn’t enter into it, it’s just a feeling. When I ask for the proof of what they “know” I get puzzled looks. Apparently, in the circles they mostly move in, just saying “I know…” is enough.

    I have seen a similar thing with the word “believe.” I “believe.” what the preponderance of evidence shows to be true. I can’t convince myself something is true because I think I should believe it, because I want to believe it, or because I think I’ll be punished for not believing it. It’s all about the evidence. Whereas I have had a Christian man tell me, “Belief is an act of will. Decide to believe, and you will believe.” When I told him my mind doesn’t work like that, he pretty much wrote me off as lying or lazy. Apparently it’s a good thing to be able to override your rational thought-process in some circles.

    “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”
    Indgo Montoya, Princess Bride.

    • Tainda

      New studies show that cursing may actually help with pain/stress.

      • Noelle

        When I read about those studies, I felt like a Hipster does when his favorite artist gets a Grammy.

    • allein

      “You can’t believe something you don’t.” – Ricky Gervais

      • gimpi1

        Apparently some people can, if they “will” it hard enough.

    • JohnnieCanuck

      There’s also the biblical use of the word ‘know’ as in “kill every woman who has known man”. I suspect most Christians are not in the habit of talking or writing that way.

  • Matto the Hun

    Regarding the use of “Love”. It would be easy for someone to look at this and say “Ah HA!” Christians are better because we talk about Love, and atheists have no love in their hearts, blah blah blah”… or something like that.

    As was pointed out w/ other words, the use and context is important. Many Christians and other religious people have a twisted idea of “love” thanks to their Big Book of Hatred. For example among the recent Butthurt Fallout from the rulings on gay marriage and DOMA where Christian bigots saying things like “It’s no wonder the gays react to us the way they do. Even though being gay is against God, we need to just show them Jesus’ Love”

    This isn’t love at all. The condescension is obvious, but it’s also not even a genuine expression of love. What it really says is “Jesus told me to so I’ll do it, you’re still a faggot” Why do they have to involve a third party? Why can’t they just be kind and loving on their own?

    What ever the hell that is, what it isn’t is love, but that sure doesn’t stop them from using it or thinking that’s what it is.

    • Free

      Yes, there are people who bear the name of Christ who hide behind a religion while espousing their true self righteousness and hatred. But for some reason most atheists I have interacted with see all Christians the same way and judge Christianity and Christ in the exact same manner that these hateful Christians do of homosexuals, unbelievers and the like. How can that be right? Just a couple of opponents in a boxing match where no one wins. There is however those who have been changed by the person of Jesus and they are of a different breed. They do disagree with those things that Jesus revealed were harmful, hurtful and condemning for people. They agree with Jesus before they agree with man. Intolerance is not the absence of love. Disagreement is not hate. Discrimination is not necessarily a negative word as it promotes applying wisdom to a situation. Jesus said He did not come to the world to condemn the world but to save it from itself. Just because we want something, are intrinsically inclined to something, does not make it good for us. To tell a child not to play in the street though all desire leads him there is not intolerant. Quite the opposite, it is love. Atheists have a heck of time with love that establishes clear boundaries that don’t shift with the changing tides. Love that says “no” and demands. Love that would rather lose one’s reputation to protect. Love that is always patient, kind, not envious, records wrongs, and not self-seeking. However, for those that have been trained by this definition of love have been catalysts in truly helping his fellow man.

      • The Other Weirdo

        A few years ago, before Harold Camping had his last moments of fame followed by a stroke, he predicted the end of the world and gave a date on which it would occur. Respectable, liberal Christians came out of the woodwork to announce to the world that Harry had the wrong of it, that no man knows the day or the hour. Sure, the world’s gonna come to an end, but we just don’t put a date to it. That was when I realized that the difference between bat-shit insane Christians like Camping and the others was merely a matter of degree, not of kind.

        • Free

          Thank you for seeing the difference as well as seeing that Christians are of another kind. Exactly stated. True believers are born spiritually not just limited to the 5 senses. Sounds crazy to you but the pieces actually do all come together.

          • The Other Weirdo

            True Believer™ alert!

            Yeah, show me someone born spiritually and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t understand biology.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Man, I bet hir mom was thrilled they were born spiritually! That has to hurt less than pushing a 6-9 lb. scrunched up ball out of one’s crotch.

              • Nikki Scull

                Did that almost 8 weeks ago and I can assure you that a spiritual birth would have been infinitely more preferable to the one I endured. No pain meds makes for a very unhappy woman.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Congratulations on the new baby! That totally sucks on the no pain meds thing.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Love doesn’t condemn people for harmless expressions of love. Grow up, mate.

        Your attempts to craft a dyke built entirely of straw Scotsmen and [I-dunno-something-witty-involving-a-tu-quoque] aren’t working.

        • Free

          Who’s condemned?

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Um… your GOD.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Harrison/23417637 Michael Harrison

    I am a bit worried about how atheists use the word ‘kill’ more. This is doubly so when considering the complaints of the stereotypical Catholic mother, which tend to begin, “Would it kill you to. . .” (Although it could be I am confusing Jewish and Catholic stereotypes.)

    • Gordon Duffy

      I used to tweet “If your god told you to kill me, would you?”

  • C Peterson

    The suggestion that swearing is somehow immoral is particularly Christian. Not surprising, since the vast majority of words and expressions are either based on blasphemy or sex, both of which feature prominently in Christian moral codes. I’d guess Christians have problems with excretory cussing because they tend to be embarrassed by anything to do with their body functions.

    Atheists, of course, don’t recognize blasphemy, and to a large degree, probably consider most sex to have the same moral weight as eating. So to an atheist, the choice of swearing in some particular case simply comes down to context and politeness. Impolite isn’t immoral, and cussing isn’t even necessarily impolite.

    Of course, a single swear word can say a lot- important in a forum like Twitter, where the usual goal is to maximize inanity while minimizing word count.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Dude, da faque did you continue to write?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Harrison/23417637 Michael Harrison

      One principle can solve the sex issue: does what I’m doing carry a significant chance of hurting someone else or me? Sex carries risks of STDs, pregnancy, and hurt feelings; eating carries risks of catching salmonella from improperly washed lettuce.

      • C Peterson

        Decisions around sex may have moral consequences, just as decisions around eating do. But to most atheists, sex itself is just a bodily function, as morally neutral as eating or peeing. This is different from the view of many Christians, who place far more moral weight on the act itself.

        BTW, I’d argue that the moral consequences surrounding eating can be quite a bit deeper than you suggest. A huge component of the world’s health problems (which directly costs everybody) comes from poor food choices; in the U.S. and some other developed countries, poor food choices by parents is creating a generation of fat, unhealthy kids. It seems to be that poor ethical choices surrounding food creates more social harm than poor ethical choices surrounding sex (in the developed world, anyway).

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Harrison/23417637 Michael Harrison

          Which goes back to my principle of asking, “Who will this hurt?”

          And it’s been argued that obesity is not the result of parents who don’t care, but of healthy food being too expensive. However, this is hardly the first time poverty has been read as a sign of inferior morality.

          • C Peterson

            “Who will this hurt” is a pretty fundamental way for humanists to look at morality, and the majority of atheists are probably humanists.

            Christians are less likely to make moral decisions in that practical way, because they are subject to a set of arbitrary standards, many of which make no sense in today’s world. That, of course, does lead to moral confusion, which is part of what is tearing down Christianity in most of the world.

            • blasphemous_kansan

              “That, of course, does lead to moral confusion, which is part of what is tearing down Christianity in most of the world.”

              And thank god for that.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Harrison/23417637 Michael Harrison

              Humanist morals are arbitrary, you say. Have you met Euthyphro? You two should have a chat — it would be enlightening.

              What you describe as moral confusion, I would call an ethical dilemma, and Christianity is full of those. As I have said before, this is the heart of apologetics: asking a Big Question, and pretending religion doesn’t have to answer.

              • C Peterson

                I don’t believe that humanist ethics are arbitrary. I believe that most religious ethics are arbitrary. I believe that humanist ethics are arrived at rationally.

                I’m a moral relativist, and many religious people equate that to a system of arbitrary morals, but of course, it is no such thing.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Harrison/23417637 Michael Harrison

                  My apologies. I don’t know *what* happened to my reading comprehension skills yesterday.

    • blah

      So what about Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc? They must believe cursing is morally alright then, right? Wow.

      I’ve also never seen a situation where a single curse word could express a feeling or emotion that would otherwise go unexplained.

      What’s wrong with “This really makes me upset!” versus shouting a single curse word? Are atheist more lazy than us crazy, religious people in that they have to shorten their thoughts down to one word expressions?

  • Makoto

    Funny, since I don’t swear simply because it makes some people uncomfortable. I’ve long since gotten over any religious associations with the words, but I still avoid them to be polite.

  • http://chaoskeptic.blogspot.com Rev. Ouabache

    Surely I’m not the only person who is bugged by the fact that the word count in the bubbles are while the axis at the bottom is the exact opposite.

  • http://alenonimo.com.br/ Alenonimo

    That’s fucking awesome! I love this shit! :D

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Dude, what the fuck! Show some goddamn decorum.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Seriously! I mean, what the hell?

  • http://andybreeden.com Andy Breeden

    I thought I found what seems to be an idea of reason towards belief such that the question could mean in a sense your beliefs, or what you believe, is not logic, but would seem to falsely link curiosity with knowing info.

    (I used every atheist word. I think. 81 chars over.)

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      That is pretty goddamn close to a Deepak quote right there, I think. You both impress and horrify me.

      • http://andybreeden.com Andy Breeden

        Maybe that’s how he does it. He’s got a bucket of shitty words and he just throws some on the floor and writes another book.

  • Free

    Example of where there is no moral accountability. Truth and morals are made to satisfy oneself in atheism. Christianity promotes a source of morality and ones accountability. The results are not surprising at all. The Christian language in religion focus on the person of Jesus and the atheist on Hell because they do not know nor care to know Him. Thus the reason for the word know. Kind of ironic that Christians use the word know more when supposedly secularism is based on knowing facts while Christianity is knowing someone. (Prov 3:5,6) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (reason) in all your way acKNOWledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Words have meaning and ideas have consequences. If society creates and used a word to have a negative, profane, belittling… connotation then it’s users seek to identify with the profane, negative etc… If words have no real significance then this blog is a joke as is every other form of communication.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Dude, da faque did you just write?

      • Free

        Simply put words matter. They can be a marker on ones morality.

        • C Peterson

          No, words don’t matter. Intent matters. What we communicate matters. But the words themselves are just symbols. There’s no such thing as a “bad word”. There is only badness in some intent to harm with a word- something that can be done with any word.

          Because Christians are locked into an inflexible moral code, their ethical views tend to depend on absolutes, and not on context. The dissonance that produces is why Christianity is on the decline.

          • Free

            Words are a channel not a symbol. They put “flesh” to the intent and motivation. They are not separate from the motive and intent. They are also powerful and nations fall over words and no, cussing on the internet should not be equated accordingly.

            • C Peterson

              No, words are symbols. By themselves, they do not reflect intent. Those who simply consider the use of particular words unacceptable, without exception, are displaying an irrational dogmatism.

              Not only is no word out of bounds, but neither is deliberate swearing. It may serve a purpose in improving communication, it may serve a purpose in easing pain, it may serve to display proper anger, or good humor.

              Even in the extreme, swearing can be acceptable. I find nothing at all in Minchin’s Pope Song offensive or obscene. The words are precisely what they need to be to make the intended point.

              • Free

                Words are not morally neutral. They do not stand by themselves. They are intentional and chosen. Words have many meanings and connotations but they display the communication of ones self. Certain words bear negative connotation so to use certain words when aware of the original intent of the word conveys ones desire to communicate negatively. And the converse is also true. Words are vehicles that carry thought. They can be wasted they can build but they do not return without effecting their mission to communicate. They are revealing.

                • C Peterson

                  Words are not morally neutral.

                  That is the view of a dogmatist. Empirically, it isn’t true.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Cunt vs. vagina.

                  They both denotate an aspect of a woman’s physiology. Connotatively, they mean very different things. Cunt is only offensive, only a bad word, because people use it in order to hurt and insult people. Women trying to reclaim the word cunt and using it to describe themselves as sassy, strong, and independent are using it very differently from the guy who whistles at some girls and, when told to fuck off, yells at them “You cunts!”. The word itself didn’t change; the intent behind the word changed. The word “cunt” is just a sound until we, the listeners, determine its meaning based on context.

                • C Peterson

                  Cunt vs. vagina.

                  What you said. And beyond that, your entire statement is chock full of “bad” words, and yet, in context, there’s not a thing bad, offensive, or obscene about it. Proof positive that the words themselves, in isolation, carry no moral baggage.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  See, we agree sometimes!

                • C Peterson

                  See, we agree sometimes!

                  I agree with you nearly all of the time, and when I don’t, it’s usually something fairly minor with respect to the larger issue.

                  It’s worth remembering that most people are far more inclined to post when they disagree with something, rather than when they agree. That tends to make everything look a lot more confrontational than it really is.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  True that. I usually agree with your posts too. It’s still good to have a reminder, even if only for my own edification, that Internet dialog is far more confrontation laden than IRL dialog for precisely that reason.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  This needs many upvotes, and probably should be repeated here daily.

        • The Other Weirdo

          Yeah, I got that, but you should eschew overwrought prose that’s difficult to parse. As you say, words matter, and a smaller number of sentence pieces are quite often much more preferable to something that is far too overwritten.

          • Free

            Touche! That is helpful. I am obviously not impressive.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Simply put, you’re desperately straining for a way to make atheists be quiet, and the best way to try to manipulate them that you can come up with is to claim that cussing is immoral. Frankly, you’re kind of a crybaby dumbass in addition to the “liar” issue.

          • Free

            I sure can resemble your accusation at times. However, and in all honesty morality and it’s source deserves an honest and careful evaluation. Im out.

            • phantomreader42

              Since you’re a lying sack of shit, you are hopelessly unqualified to participate in any discussion of morality. Fuck off, you worthless lying death cultist.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Harrison/23417637 Michael Harrison

      “. . . acKNOWledge . . . ”

      Ah, more Christian wordplay. From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

      “acknowledge (v.) 1550s, a blend of Middle English aknow (from Old English oncnawan ‘understand,’ from on + cnawan ‘recognize;’ see know) and Middle English knowlechen “admit, acknowledge” (c.1200; see knowledge). In the merger, a parasitic -c- slipped in, so that while the kn- became a simple ‘n’ sound (as in know), the -c- stepped up to preserve, in this word, the ancient ‘kn-’ sound. Related: Acknowledged; acknowledging.”

      Of course, anyone who’s taken Spanish is familiar with the notion that knowing a person (conocer) can be seen as different from knowing information (saber). Or, in short: etymological games are meaningless, and serve no purpose except to provide a cheap way for you to make yourself feel clever. Maybe for your next trick, you’ll try to prove that black and white (‘blanc’) are the same thing, and get run over in the next zebra crossing. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30F17FB385E15738DDDAE0894DF405B8984F0D3

      • Free

        Knowing someone, in this instance is the separator. Christians or anyone else for that matter knowing about God is a far cry from a relationship with Him. Easy to judge someone you do not know.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Harrison/23417637 Michael Harrison

          My point is that you are being disingenuous by intentionally confusing these two different definitions of knowing.

          • Free

            I am not using them interchangeably. I am stating that knowing facts is different from relational knowing. The context that christians use usually involve the latter. Facts about God are fine. Experiencing God is a different matter. Atheists usually use know when applied to reason. Christians use it for both.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Harrison/23417637 Michael Harrison

              If that’s the case, I’m having a hard time seeing what’s so ironic about your original post.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Funny coming from someone who opened up with judgmentalism. Christ must be so proud of you.

          • Free

            Are you offended or feel judged because I suggested that there is no absolute marker for morality in your worldview? What science can not provide is the answer to morality, consciousness, emotions etc… The method can not be applied. If you can agree, then my comment was just an observation based on the facts and not judgmental. It was not intended to be.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              That’s not how you opened. Are you lying now or unable to understand your own posts?

    • Sven2547

      Example of where there is no moral accountability. Truth and morals are made to satisfy oneself in atheism.

      When you open up with a plain lie, it’s hard to take the rest of your comment seriously.

      • Free

        Is it a lie to state that you have no absolute source for your morality save what you or anyone else wants it to be? Because morality is a “serious” matter please answer the question.

        • Sven2547

          It is a lie to state that atheist morals are self-serving and that atheists are completely morally unaccountable.

          If Christianity is a source of objective, accountable morality, then why are Christians so divided over major moral issues? For example:
          Most Americans who support the death penalty are Christians. Most Americans who oppose the death penalty are also Christians. Why?
          Most Americans who want to ban abortion are Christians. Most Americans who want women to have that choice are also Christians. Why?
          Same with same-sex marriage, immigration reform, torture, and countless other issues. If Christianity is such a pillar of moral certitude, then why is it so morally fractured?
          Because morality is a “serious” matter please answer the question.

          • Free

            I made comments later in this thread that alludes to these “two kinds” of Christians.

            The best way to answer is that there are Christians by religion and Christians by faith. Going to church and wearing the banner does not make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald’s makes you a hamburger. Christians see themselves as being “born again” or religious. The religious hide behind the name to feel good about themselves. They are no different than an unbeliever except they are under religions bondage. (That is what you hate). Me too. These “Christians” are the ones who in your examples oppose a divergent view to the heart of God. Born again Christians have been changed at the core of their nature and no longer look to religion to save or provide meaning. Their meaning, intent (C. Peterson), and motivation, is in loving God as they have a personal relationship with Him. They have come to know and see Him in a different light that His opposers. They are aware of their hypocrisy and learn to hate it. They are aware of their tendencies to self righteousness and learn to hate it as well. They are not perfect and know it. But, they have seen what they have seen and it is good and real. It’s hogwash to anyone who hears such a thing. Nevertheless, they will die for the One who changed them.

            • Sven2547

              That’s one of the longer “No True Scotsman” explanations I’ve ever seen.
              I got news for you: you don’t need to be an evangelical “born again” type to be a Christian.

              • Free

                Please don’t miss that a biblical definition recognized by Jesus is not a religious person, who he chided against for their “religiosity,” but the one who knew him and followed him. A Christian is not someone who believes in Jesus (mental assent) but one that is known by God.

                • Sven2547

                  A Christian is one who believes in God the Father almighty, in Jesus his son (born of the virgin Mary, suffered, died, buried, descended, rose, ascended, sitteth at the right hand of God the Father, etc), and in the Holy Spirit. Narrowing that definition might suit your particular sect, but you’re disqualifying most of the world’s Christians as being Christian. No True Scotsman.

                  What do you call someone who believes in Jesus’ divinity but isn’t a “born again” evangelical like yourself? What is that person’s religion?

                • Free

                  His religion is still Christianity. However, belief is not a mental exercise but encompasses the will and the reality of a new life. True Christianity involves a real change and the reality that Jesus lives in you. You can say you are a Christian but that does not make you a Christian to Jesus. Many want the benefits of faith without paying the cost of surrendering to Jesus. True Christianity, and the reason you probably have encountered so few Christians, is that it is not about me or you but Jesus first.

                • Sven2547

                  True Christianity

                  lol, “True Scotsmen…”

                  True Christianity, and the reason you probably have encountered so few Christians, is that it is not about me or you but Jesus first.

                  Buddy I got news for you: I live in America, and 3/4ths of Americans are Christians. Most of my friends, family, coworkers, former classmates, and random strangers I see are Christians. You honestly think I probably haven’t met many Christians? What planet are you on?

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              It is an absolute certainty that you have been hanging around on atheist sites long enough to know how ridiculous someone looks when they start attesting to the illegitimacy of any given Glaswegian.

        • Carmelita Spats

          The Bible offers absolute “moral standards”…ROFLMAO! Yahweh-the-Yahoo violates and contradicts his own standards every three paragraphs. Your standards have been rewritten, reinterpreted, re-fried and rehashed which is why you have Christianities and not “Christianity”. I LEFT the cult because I found your moral reasoning to be abhorrent and built on superstition. It is extremely important to separate morality from superstition because morality is a serious matter.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          You tried to change your words to shift the argument around right there. You’re a liar, “Free”. Does Jesus love it when you lie?

          • Free

            Can you point out to me a lie in this instance? I am not aware of a argument shift. I am also not aware of your perception of my comments in regards to my logic, or I would assume to you the lack thereof. Jesus does not love it when I or anyone else lies but He does forgive.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              You made up things about us in your first post. When called out on that, your second post changed the words that were being criticized; your own words. You tried to make Sven’s response about something it is not. You are a liar. QED.

        • decathelite

          I would love to see you show up in a thread like this one and condemn your brethren for being immoral

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Indeed. I love when Christians come here spontaneously to show solidarity with atheists in opposing harmful or evil actions. Those are people I’d like to hang out with more.

    • Carmelita Spats

      Your entire FUCKING moral system is built on substitutionary atonement which is a horrendous, barbaric, preachment. Substitutionary atonement is grotesque because there is NO ACCOUNTABILITY. It is the moral equivalent of my neighbor taking a blowtorch to his nuts for my mortgage. It’s that insane. We can do better. We ARE better than Yahweh-the-Yahoo.

      • Free

        I never know if you are more angry or hurt. Obviously very offended. Religion sucks (in the terms I outlined above), and I get it. No pity intended.

        • Guest

          And now you’re just trolling. Enjoy the consequences. Don’t worry, you can pretend to be persecuted and make it all better.

    • Guest

      Derp!

      I believe my argument is stronger than yours.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      It’s sad that you’re too fucking stupid and/or dishonest to grasp that you’re crying because someone somewhere used mean words.

      And being judgmental. Can’t forget that. So much for your straight path.

  • TiltedHorizon

    Holy *shit*, this is *fucking* *bad*, what the *hell* is wrong with with these *damn* atheists? What a *sorry* lot!

    How *weird*, I just realized my *argument* contains all of the atheist negatives. *Sorry*.

  • Matt D

    Well, since I don’t swear often at all (my parents did fairly consistently, perhaps that’s why), and I do not use Twitter, I just find this data amusing, but not the whole picture.

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt Eggler

    If you don’t want me describing your beliefs as fucking full of shit, don’t have such fucking shitty beliefs.

  • JET

    I find it ludicrous that calling a priest a “fucking pedophile” is somehow considered worse than his actually being a child-fucking pedophile.

  • ORAXX

    Who gives a shit?

  • Sven2547

    Haha, pretty funny.
    I curse like a sailor in adult conversation, but I’m generally not one for cursing on things like Facebook or Twitter. Not really a morality thing, it’s just not my style.

  • Thalfon

    Honestly, I think that rather than showing a great deal of insight into how atheists and Christians actually behave, think or speak, it just shows how they communicate on Twitter. I’m not sure most people act on Twitter as they would in other scenarios.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Funny how “Joe Klein” is nowhere to be seen on this graphic.

  • allein

    Came across this book recently, seems apropros for this topic… http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/holy-sh-t-melissa-mohr/1112927271?ean=9780199742677

    Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing tells the story of two kinds of swearing — obscenities and oaths — from ancient Rome and the Bible to today.

  • David

    First of all, that difference between the use of the words “know” and “thought” simply is proof of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    I swear sometimes too, though it would be nice if we considered how we’re coming off. Granted most theists write us off by definition anyway, using any excuse, but Dan Barker in his books dusted off one of his old sermons, saying that “our best witness is our life” and that we should make atheism more attractive by how we present ourselves.

  • Rain

    The choices of happy calm colors that Ryan Ritter assigns to the Christians verses the gloomy angry colors he gives to the atheists says a lot about psychologist Ryan Ritter. He should analyze his own color choices and then make a graph of color thingies and what it says about something or other.

    • midnight rambler

      Since when is orange a “gloomy, angry color”?

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        A bit obnoxious in certain shades, sure… but it ain’t an “angry” color.

        And how the ever-loving fuck can a color be “angry”?

        • Bdole

          The mere notion makes me livid.

      • Rain

        Ochre! Not orange!

  • Anna

    Interesting. Of course, you don’t have to be Christian to have been taught that profanity is bad. Growing up, I received a very thorough indoctrination that “bad words” were something that “good kids” (as I aspired to be) absolutely never used. I suppose this has carried over to my adult life. I do swear, but generally in private. Never in public, and never online.

  • David Mock

    I would advise anyone who has a problem with profanity to watch Penn & Teller Bullshit on the topic. Besides cursing is fun.

  • Robster

    Twitter is great if you want to express silly belief notions without getting laughed out of the room.

  • SJH

    May I remind everyone of the angry atheist stereotype. I think you can see where it comes from. Why so much anger?

    “If atheists were in the majority, you might very well see Christians venting their frustrations on Twitter.”
    Perhaps this would be analogous to any society (not necessarily atheist) where Christians are the minority. Do Christians in non-Christian countries like India or Israel vent their frustrations? I would like to see those statistics.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    In honor of that old fuck, I’mma leave this here…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ji-zIhAwF0w

  • Dave The Sandman

    Im a Brit so I tend to view swearing as a form of punctuation, but when I use it in writing it is to express outrage, frustration and disbelief that mere polite words can not express – a type of textual facepalm if you will.

    I find it hilariously ironic that the land which likes to portray itself as the home of “free speech”(tm) has such a dumb and puritanical take on language and its use. See for example the ridiculousness of “The N Word” – yes it can be said in a hateful manner, but when news casters have to do verbal backflips when reporting a story on where some dumb Texhus pretend cowboy governor went hunting – NiggerHead Ranch – that is just pure comedy. There is a metric fuck mile of distance between reporting the news and spewing the race hate of the KKK or failed TV cooks. Unfortunately you guys get your panties so knotted up you cant see that difference (apparently).

    Similarly the way The Daily Show editors bleep the hell out of the casts speech. Really? They think that is a good thing to do?

    Be proud of the common vernacular and celebrate its use. THAT is free speech for you right there!

  • DianaMac

    Well shit, I think that’s not too bad! :D See what I did there?

  • Bdole

    I take the Christian twitter stats with a grain of salt. I’ve known many a Christian that was as profane in real life as any drunken sailor on shore leave who’s stubbed a toe. But, when they know they’re being watched by the brethren, they clean up their act. It’s all a dog and pony show for the benefit of…who? I dunno.

  • http://uppsalainitiativet.blogspot.com Per Edman

    “Argument” is a negative emotion only for some people, in some contexts.


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