Oh My Gawd!

Occasionally I say “Oh my gawd!” (most often after hearing somebody vomit up Pascal’s Wager).  Sometimes I say it in the presence of believers.  Sometimes they point and exclaim “Aha!  You said ‘oh my gawd’!  You must, deep down, believe in gawd!”

My response is usually to burn them with my gaze and explain that if I stub my toe going for a midnight snack I generally say “Fuck!”  It doesn’t mean I want to have sex.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Randomfactor

    Was once on a long car trip with a Fundie friend of mine when a large truck almost sideswiped us on the freeway and I let out a “JESUS CHRIST!”

    She said “See? You DO believe!”

    I told her that out of respect for HER beliefs I hadn’t used his middle name…

    • Rob

      I told her that out of respect for HER beliefs I hadn’t used his middle name

      Haploid? </gdrlh>

    • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

      I often do exclaim using the middle name, but damn it (and no, I don’t believe in “damnation”), the full three name exclamation is a perfect combination of hard consonants and vowels that I have a hard time whoever first thought up this Jesus F. Christ character didn’t give him that name deliberately to mess with us.

  • Tara

    You, sir, are a genius!
    This made me laugh out loud…which is bad since I’m currently suppose to be creating a lesson plan while my students are working on projects…

    However, this laugh was totally worth getting caught not working on my lesson plan. For this, I thank you…

  • Glodson

    “It takes a very special and strong-minded kind of atheist to jump up and down with their hand clasped under their other armpit and shout, ‘Oh, random-fluctuations-in-the-space-time-continuum!’ or ‘Aaargh, primitive-and-outmoded-concept on a crutch!’” – Terry Pratchett in Men at Arms.

    Yea, saying a word and professing a real belief are two entirely separate things.

    Also Terry Pratchett has fun with Pascal’s Wager in Small Gods. Great author, lots of good books.

  • Snowshoe the Canuck

    Yeah, I was “working” on my netbook when I read that comment. My students were quietly woking on a chem quiz at the time. How do I remove coffee spray from the answer key? You can’t! Therefore ceiling cat on stilts!

  • HP

    Ever known someone who was aphasic following a stroke? It’s not uncommon for aphasics to lose the ability to speak, but retain the ability to swear. Swear words are controlled by a different part of the brain than the parts that control speech.

    I once knew an aphasic who was able to communicate with his wife using only “Oh, shit,” and “Jesus Christ!”

    Personally, I dislike it when atheists make a show of self-censoring religious speech. There are no magic words, and acting like there are cedes too much ground to the believers.

  • Tom_23

    My use of expletives has degraded over time. I know sound like the old man in A Chistmas Story. “dumb, frattin’, housesnickle viper!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/niki.marinis nikimarinis

    Christ, it’s just an expression.

  • eNeMeE

    This is one of the reasons I like to invent random words to swear with. That and the confused looks I get when I yell “Carfrackle!” or something similar.

  • Greta Christina

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. m-/

    If me saying “God damn it” when I’m irritated means I really believe in God, then anyone who uses the word “Thursday” must really believe in Thor.

    Entertaining tangent: My in-laws were raised fundamentalist Christian, and when they left the church, they had to learn to swear. It took them a while to learn the grammar of it. It’s less obvious than you’d think. Why, exactly, can you say, “What the hell,” but not, “What the shit”? (Steven Pinker talks about this in one of his books, and he says that the grammar of profanity is actually more flexible than regular grammar, which is what makes it confusing.)

    • Donna

      Hi Greta, everyone

      It may be that things are the wrong way around down under, but I actually say ‘what the shit’ quite often! I have heard others say it as well. For me, it is for the sake of changing it up, I used to say ‘what the fuck’ all the time and WTF in a lot of online comments and I got bored. I also say ‘shitsake’ after working for a man who used to yell that out whenever something went wrong. Maybe it’s an aussie thing, to chuck out the ‘rules’, we do that anyway in a lot of the slang we use. Thanks for mentioning Stephen Pinker, too. I hadn’t heard of him before but have googled him today and will track down that book. It sounds interesting.


    • Rory

      I absolutely say “what the shit?” all the time. I think I picked it up watching the show ‘Archer.’

  • grumpyoldfart

    I was brought up in an era when we didn’t have first-names or given-names, we had “Christian” names.

    I’ve been an atheist all my life, but even today, if you ask me real quick, “What is your Christian name?” I’ll tell you.

    Old habits die hard.

  • Rod

    Farglesnot works pretty well for me. Sounds vaguely gross, has enough hard consonants to act as a safety valve, and no-one seems too offended (not that I’d care if they were).
    Swearing in Finnish must not be very satisfying.

  • http://www.xanga.com/mangowow Gabrielle Gonzalez


  • Mark

    I always find it interesting when people use words they don’t understand.

  • Morrison

    JT, Love Your Work.

    Atheists like you insure that Atheism will remain the irrational hate movement that it has become.

    Church members are being taught what they have forgotten…and that is what Atheists who acheived political power did to believers of all kinds.

    Trip you memory and read the classic, Tortured For Christ, by Richard Wurmbrand.

    If you are up to debate, let us know.

    • Sean

      I find your choice of words peculiar. I can understand calling atheism a hate movement (I disagree with you but I can see where you could get that misconception) but irrational is a very strange thing to brand atheism with; especially when comparing it to religion.

      It’s also very interesting that you make a point of mentioning that some atheists in power did horrible things to some believers. While this is true and the actions of that particular government were reprehensible, theists in power have committed significantly more atrocities against atheists and people of religions other than their own. Are you teaching church members about that, too?

    • Gordon

      If JT is up to a http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd/category/debate/? Seriously?

      You might want to bring something better than “hate movement” to the table though. Maybe something thst applies more to atheism than christianity…

    • Richard


      Haven’t even done your homework, I grade your provoking an F.

      Just to make sure you understand, the F, is for fail.

  • Lucas

    Try saying porra (the rr is pronounced as H in “hard”). It’s a perfect swear word word in Portuguese and it works as well as shit or J.C.

  • badandfierce

    I’m trying to replace the religious profanities (hell, even all the words for cursing are religious in origin) in my vocabulary with geological terms. If there’s anything I can swear by it’s the realities of deep time and the processes that underlie both geology and biology. It’s pretty straightforward, too.

    Jesus H. Christ=Charles R. Knight

    Dunno about you, but most of my uses are pretty abstract anyway. Might as well make them completely absurdist. For instance, try one of my favorite things to shout when I’m annoyed (because I find sounding all old-timey really amusing). “Damn your eyes!” Frankly, “Dam your eyes” is more threatening, if anything. “Oh my God,” is totally abstracted as it is. And so on.

  • carolw

    Some non-believers I used to hang out with would use “Satan!” as a curse. It freaked out the fundies worse than “God!” or “Goddamn!” My favorites lately have been “sonofabitch” and “sonsofbitches” (early this AM when the smoke alarm started low-battery chirping again got a “sonofabitch”).
    Another of my favorites, with a nod to A Christmas Story, (thanks, Tom23) is “sons of bitches, Bumpasses!” I like to work in curses like other artists might work in clay, or oils.
    Pigfucker is one of my all-time favorites.