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The_Face_of_Boo
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21 Dec 2011, 4:49 pm

People are being able to tell I am an atheist or at least a non-in-god-believer just by the interaction with me for a while, I don't disclose my non-belief state and I often try to hide it and avoid any religion-related subjects.

Yet lately I am failing miserably at it and it's causing me unwanted headache.

One of them told me because I never use the 'Allah' (God) , while speaking, and she's right.

In the local language, there's the word 'Allah' (god) in plenty of daily overused idioms and expressions. I've noticed that I don't automatically use them anymore, probably because my mind doesn't believe in any of them, It's not like I hate the word itself or have some allergy against it, it's just that I am so unconsciously using alternative terms instead, much less common ones. However, in any normal casual conversation, there would be at least a dozens of words Allah-words that are commonly used.

Some examples:
Arabic spelling = literal translation = the common used meaning

Allah Ykhalik =May God keeps you = Please.
Alhamdulillah = Praise to god = I am fine.
Ya Allaaah = O God = Oh no / Damn (whining).
Inshallah =If it is God's will = I hope so.
Wallahi = I swear to God = I swear / I assure you.
Subhan'Allāh = Glorious is God = How wonderful.
Allah Ysemhak = May God forgives you = I am upset at you / I am upset of what you've done.
Allah Ysabbrak = May God gives you patience = my condolences.
Hachallah = May we fear God = I didn't do this bad thing.
Allah Rahamna = God showed us mercy = we got very lucky / we were saved
Alllah ma yjarrbna = May God doesn't make us to test this = Hope i won't experience this /I don't want to take this risk / I am afraid to try this.
Macha'allah = God has willed it = that's wonderful (as wonderful news)! !
Macha'allah Alek = God has willed it for you = good job fella.
etc ....etc.....


So I dunno, should I re-program my mind for these terms again? :-/



Last edited by The_Face_of_Boo on 24 Dec 2011, 6:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.

theWanderer
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21 Dec 2011, 5:15 pm

The_Face_of_Boo wrote:
So I dunno, should I re-program my mind for these terms again? :-/


I'm not an atheist, so perhaps I'm missing something, but I'd say that is a decision only you can make.

For whatever reason, you've unconsiously "chosen" to edit this word out of your vocabulary. If it is that common, then that took a certain amount of effort, even if it was unconscious. So on some level, it seems this is what you prefer. But, are the problems you're having bad enough to make it worth a conscious effort to go back? Even if you do, now that people have noticed, will they just accept that you've changed your mind, or will you have to go even further to convince them?

Only you can really answer those questions, and only you can really decide how much trouble you're willing to put up with, or how much work you're willing to exert in order to present an appearance you secretly disagree with.


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DrS
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21 Dec 2011, 5:34 pm

Depends on you. If you're evangelical with your atheism, then stick with the status quo. If you want an easy life, I'd get into the habit, and wouldn't think anything more of it -- we've got plenty of similar statements in English, from saying 'bless you' after someone sneezes to the word 'bloody', which is short for 'by our lady Mary', but is just used as a generic utterance these days. They're just social niceties, and don't require belief in god. If using the word is just uncomfortable, and you feel like a hypocrite, then you need to decide which option is more comfortable for you: feeling like a hypocrite or making your social interactions slightly more uncomfortable. I don't think you can do wrong; just do what is best for you.

If it were me, I'd just use the words and treat them like so many other expressions; arbitrary statements that don't imply you buy into their origins. I say "January" and I don't even believe in the god of doorways.



Laz
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21 Dec 2011, 8:00 pm

Is it potentially going to put you at risk in the future? Particularly if it prejudices you in certain situations or bring unncessary attention to yourself from those wonderful types who take the whole thing a bit too seriously for comfort?


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Magnus_Rex
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21 Dec 2011, 10:18 pm

I do not know: I am here for the "Arabic For Dummies" lessons by one Professor Dr. Feish Al Bhul. :P

OK, stand up comedy time is over. Getting back to the topic...

My situation is the exact opposite. Due to my (at least at first) quiet demeanor and preference for dress shirts, a few people told me they thought I was a churchgoing Christian. It is only after knowing me for some time (a difficult task; v. "quiet demeanor"), after seeing my skepticism and my need to have rational answers for everything, that they ask me about my religion and get surprised.

But yeah, like you, I do not even think about religion. I actually use some common religious expressions, but not as much as most people. The concept of going to church and believing in omnipotent beings controlling our lives became too insignificant for me to think about it. I actually get surprised whenever I hear someone saying they go to church, because in my mind, people do not do that anymore. It is weird.

Do what you want. But religious expression are just words: there is nothing wrong in using them.



sgrannel
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21 Dec 2011, 10:57 pm

DrS wrote:
we've got plenty of similar statements in English, from saying 'bless you' after someone sneezes to the word 'bloody', which is short for 'by our lady Mary', but is just used as a generic utterance these days.


That's interesting. I didn't know that this was the way the word "bloody" stood for when used as a swear word. Oh bloody hell, it's been a bloody day all right, dealing with all those bloody, bloody bastards! Idiomatic phrases can be used without hypocrisy because they don't mean what they say anyway. Except when Mary is literally bloody, as in that "Bloody Mary" South Park episode.

http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s09e14-bloody-mary


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Titangeek
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21 Dec 2011, 11:05 pm

I don't really try to hide it. I don't go around announcing my self as an atheist, but if some one asks what I believe in I tell them. As for idioms, never really payed much attention to them.


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johnny77
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22 Dec 2011, 9:39 pm

Weather you use or not use the common expressions to me is only relevent if you feel you are going against you own choice in belifes. I get acused of being a "fine up standing christian" from time to time, if to them its the highest complament they have, than I realy cant find it insulting.
I cant find my own name insulting ether even though it means "god blesed" roughly translated.



invisiblespectrum
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23 Dec 2011, 11:58 am

I don't, but in English one does not generally say "God" anywhere near as much as in Arabic, so it's simply not comparable. Also, I'm pretty open about being an atheist, but I go to a large university in a liberal part of the USA. Being an atheist isn't a very big deal. Most of my friends are atheists, and the ones who aren't are OK with it.

That said, I do use religious-based expressions like "Oh my God," or the word "hell" (e.g. "What the hell?" or "just for the hell of it"). It doesn't bother me, though for some reason it does make me a bit uncomfortable to say "bless you" after people sneeze. Nevertheless, I do it, because it is what is expected socially.



Rocky
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23 Dec 2011, 6:25 pm

invisiblespectrum wrote:
I don't, but in English one does not generally say "God" anywhere near as much as in Arabic, so it's simply not comparable. Also, I'm pretty open about being an atheist, but I go to a large university in a liberal part of the USA. Being an atheist isn't a very big deal. Most of my friends are atheists, and the ones who aren't are OK with it.

That said, I do use religious-based expressions like "Oh my God," or the word "hell" (e.g. "What the hell?" or "just for the hell of it"). It doesn't bother me, though for some reason it does make me a bit uncomfortable to say "bless you" after people sneeze. Nevertheless, I do it, because it is what is expected socially.


In that situation, I say "Gesundheit." It is common enough that people know it, and fulfills my social obligation. It literally means "health." If someone says "bless you" when I sneeze, I say thank you. Its the thought that counts.



AngelKnight
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24 Dec 2011, 1:31 pm

The_Face_of_Boo wrote:
One of them told me because I never use the 'Allah' (God) , while speaking, and she's right.

In the local language, there's the word 'Allah' (god) in plenty of daily overused idioms and expressions. I've noticed that I don't automatically use them anymore, probably because my mind doesn't believe in any of them, It's not like I hate the word itself or have some allergy against it, it's just that I am so unconsciously using alternative terms instead, much less common ones.


It seems odd that such a such a thing should cause you to stand out as a non-believer.

Still, it may be a useful "cloak" to reacquaint yourself with using them. Odds are pretty good you mean them at least as much as the average modern person in your country, which as far as I know may well be "not that much."

My understanding is you live in a country with is somewhat multireligious. Does, for example, an Arabic-speaking Maronite, or a Druze, use the exact same expressions?

I apologize; I don't mean to use your query strictly as a means of satisfying my curiosity; I'm hoping that it leads to alternative avenues as well.



The_Face_of_Boo
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24 Dec 2011, 6:34 pm

Quote:
Does, for example, an Arabic-speaking Maronite, or a Druze, use the exact same expressions?


Yes, almost same expressions.

Christians have additional terms with 'cross' or 'virgin' words in them but they don't cause me trouble.



AngelKnight
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25 Dec 2011, 6:10 pm

The_Face_of_Boo wrote:
Quote:
Does, for example, an Arabic-speaking Maronite, or a Druze, use the exact same expressions?


Yes, almost same expressions.

Christians have additional terms with 'cross' or 'virgin' words in them but they don't cause me trouble.


So sounds like these expressions are almost just "social scaffolding." I'd say it's probably harmless to reacquaint yourself with using these phrases in conversation. They're probably more-or-less devoid of meaning for almost everyone, until someone notices their absence.



The_Face_of_Boo
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25 Dec 2011, 7:14 pm

AngelKnight wrote:
The_Face_of_Boo wrote:
Quote:
Does, for example, an Arabic-speaking Maronite, or a Druze, use the exact same expressions?


Yes, almost same expressions.

Christians have additional terms with 'cross' or 'virgin' words in them but they don't cause me trouble.


So sounds like these expressions are almost just "social scaffolding." I'd say it's probably harmless to reacquaint yourself with using these phrases in conversation. They're probably more-or-less devoid of meaning for almost everyone, until someone notices their absence.


I think you misunderstood.

Allah doesn't mean the Islamic god, it just means God in Arabic.

Arab Christians use it because they mean it too.



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25 Dec 2011, 7:24 pm

The_Face_of_Boo wrote:
People are being able to tell I am an atheist or at least a non-in-god-believer just by the interaction with me for a while, I don't disclose my non-belief state and I often try to hide it and avoid any religion-related subjects.


Have you become anti-religion or just agnostic like many people in England?