Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Of Fred and Other Gods and Goddesses

From time to time we tend to refer to god in the course of normal conversations. Nothing religious, but rather invocations along the lines of “oh my god” or “thank god”. Naturally, being the atheist that I am, I resent using godly terms in any manner that might lead others to think I hold this fictitious entity in positive regard, so I try and go around god while still speaking/writing natural language: I say things like “thank goodness”. Lately I started using two variations that do refer specifically to god, so I though I’d explain them here:
  • “Gods and Goddesses”: A.C. Grayling recently told of his daughter, whom he’s raising an atheist. He says he taught her to replace every mentioning of “god” with “gods and goddesses”, which aside of being factually correct – different religions’ gods are, well, different – it serves to make people notice something quite ordinary. People notice that you can replace god with a name like Fred and the sentence works just the same.
  • “Goddess” or “By the Goddess”: That’s my new favorite swear word, actually; goddess is a worthy replacement for “fuck” or “shit” whenever something nasty happens (e.g., I dropped my laptop and the screen broke - "Goddess!"). The source of the phrase is the Mass Effect character Liara (you can tell she is my favorite Mass Effect character just by counting the times I have referred to her on my blogs). Liara is an Asari, an asexual blue skinned humanoid alien race with some reptilian features and amazon like bodies whose home world is the planet Thessia. The Asari are asexual to a degree: in the game they seem to like sex and they multiply sexually, it’s just that all the action takes place between women (I know of a few very real men who would love to pay Thessia a visit). More to the point, the direct result of the Asari being an all female species is that their deity of choice is a goddess. Interestingly for this atheist, the Asari goddess is considered ancient; nowadays (or rather, by the middle of the 22nd century when Mass Effect is taking place), the Asari are the most advanced species in the galaxy and they go for a more Spinoza like belief. Do credit the creators of the Mass Effect world with progressiveness, please!

By the Goddess, this post turned out longer than I expected it to be.

Goddess Athame image from the Mass Effect wiki

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