Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Social Programming is Really Hard to Break

I've been calling myself and agnostic for years, which gave me a little pass on having to scrub my language clean of all the tiny religious references we make every single day. Think of the ubiquitous OMG! Or "Jesus Christ" said in response to something awful. Or the more happily uttered (moaned, occasionally screamed) "oh god!" pre and mid orgasm. And then there's all the co-opted non-Christian (or non-monotheist) "Kharma's a bitch" or talk about luck, or my general go to- "the universe has a sick sense of humor". (No, it really fucking does. After years of owning queen size beds so that overnight guests wouldn't be uncomfortable, I decided I only needed a full size bed in the new apartment because 1) My room is fucking tiny. 8' by 11' and the 11' wall has the heater on it so it's more like 9'. 2) I pretty much decided that I was just going to go back to my slutty ways and having a full size bed makes it easier to kick people out of it at 4am. Then whamo, the second person I go on a date with after coming out of hermitage turns out to be the kind of awesome person that I want to sleep over all the time.)

But the truth is, I'm an atheist. Bad things happen to people sometimes because they are just in the wrong place, and sometimes they happen because the human created systems we live under are rigged to fuck you up if you don't belong to the elite. Things don't happen for a (impossible to divine) reason. There is no divine plan, just us humans trying to find meaning in a world that can be hard sometimes.

But I still have all these leftover bits of language. What the fuck do I do with that? How do you explain the currently unexplainable without the use of religious phrasing? How do you retrain your brain to stop going for the immediate "OMG" and what do you use in it's place? OMFSM (Oh my flying spaghetti monster) is cute but cumbersome and sometimes I don't want to be cute. OMFSM does not work when a friend is telling you that their much loved dog has incurable cancer or that their birth control failed.

So my fellow atheists, what do we do with the leftovers (hangovers) of religious speech. Continuing to use them feels more than a bit like a sell-out to me. Every time the word "god" comes out of my mouth I feel dirty. But it's a habit and I don't know what to break it with.

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