“Jesus is not a swear word”

My parents were fundamental evangelical Christians and raised me to be the same.  This all went according to plan until rather recently– I told my parents about my atheism shortly after I discovered it myself, Christmas 2007.  (Happy Holidays mom!!)  My mom is still a Christian, though she is fairly private about it and doesn’t attend church any more.

My dad started leaving Christianity around 1997, when we left the shrinking fundy church I grew up in.  The new church was Presbyterian, so it was a lot more feel-good and happy Jesus-loves-me kind of stuff.  This was a departure from the old church, which was cultish in the amount of control they tried to wield over congregates.  My dad finally got a chance to look back and realize all the shit they put him through.  After a few years recovering from the worst of it, and deciding which parts of Christianity he doesn’t believe anymore (most of it),  he started attending the “Center for Spiritual Enlightenment”, who had a focus on spirituality rather than religion, which is good for people like my dad. They are not judgmental and do meditation and talk about humanism.  Good times.

Then, recently, he looked up “atheist” in Wikipedia and realized he was one.

He and I were talking today and he says, “You ever see those bumper stickers that say, ‘Jesus is not a swear word’?”

“Yeah!  But Jesus is totally a swear word.”

“Can’t it be both?” he asks.

“Well,” I say, “If people didn’t think Jesus was a god, it wouldn’t be a swear word.  So you can’t really have the one without the other.”

Irony: when Christians propose a deity who is offended by the misuse of its name, because this invites and causes that misuse by people who do not believe in said deity.  I have to laugh… because literally, it is Jesus’ purported god-ness that makes us want to use his name as a swear word, so it’s not just ironic, it’s almost poetic.

But enough of that.  It is time to eat pork chops.

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