Exhibit A – a photo I took which I think is pretty.
blasphemy is a funny one. Somehow some of that childhood conditioning has got itself stuck in my psyche and Im not sure if that is a good thing or not. What am I talking about? well I sneezed at work and a Spanish coworker said ‘Jesus’ and my response was huh? so he repeated ‘jesus! jesus!’ becasue you sneezed….obviously I exclaimed that the sneeze was not dramatic enough to warrant such a violent response, but apparently its the way they respond to sneezes in spain – whereas here, we wince at the word Jesus said like that as its blasphemy to take the lords name in vain, or so I was taught. He then asked what WE say then, and I said ‘ bless you’…oh ok yeah that has some religious connotations too for sure, hmmm, I never knew sneezing was such a religious experience!
well what do other languages / countries say? according to Wikipedia the list goes like this: “May you have health”.”may you live for long”.”health“All praise is for Allah (God)” “May good happen””be healthy”.”To your good health” “Jesús” “a great fortunate occurrence”.”live for a long time”.”(may you) live a hundred years” [to your] “Health” “Bless God”“to your wishes” “God help you!” “God bless” “God be with us” “it will be a good thing, God willing” “may you live.” “recover”.“May god forgive you.” “[May] Cleanliness/Purity be bestowed [upon you]”. “Little Saint” “Glorious Lord”. “to your benefit” “(May you be blessed with a) Life without death” “Live Long”,“All praise is for Allah (God)”.
riiiight – so the religious entries in the chart come from English, Catalan, Arabic, Czech, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Kurdish, Mongolian, Portuguese, Punjabi and Urdu. We we are in good company. I like the Persian response and also feel that more practical words pertaining to health are more pragmatic than appealing to a god to control one’s sniffles and sneezes. I seem to have gone a bit off-piste there, but my point WAS that as an English person brought up as a C of E christian I STILL find it a bit uncomfortable when someone says the word Jesus, be it swearing or responding to a sneeze. This is most peculiar, because I do not have even the dregs of a christian belief in my body and I am a regular user of ‘for god’s sake’ and ‘oh my god’ (small ‘g’ could be any god…there are thousands that people have believed in since the beginning of time not just one) with only a tiny bit of guilt attached…but I very rarely use the word Jesus for swearing (or in any other way if I can help it) becasue it feels wrong. Why should this happen? i think it is a combination effect – 1. I don’t want to offend people around me who MAY have strong religious beliefs and think I am being rude or, whats the word…derisive? dismissive? hm no that’s not it, but 2. I guess those years of seeing the pained look on my mothers face every time I took her lords name in vain makes me realise that some people really seem to take affront to blasphemy, which can sometimes be almost amusing, but mostly not because If people are so wrapped up in their religion that they cannot see its pitfalls, hypocrisy and down right scientific impossibility, and refuse to discuss these things without reverting to scripture or blind regurgitation of teachings, then I’m sorry but I find it hard to respect that. I don’t often talk about religion because I know it grants a great deal of comfort to very many people and I dislike the idea of them having that taken away but I just find it crazy that people can be so blind, so accepting of their ‘faith’ yet ignore the real world around them. I am talking largely of the monotheistic religions, I don’t have much of a problem at all with polytheism or paganism or such, theirs tend to be more balanced, harmonious, intuitive ways of life. Don’t get me wrong, I rarely have a problem with any individual who has strong religious beliefs, not unless they try and force them down my throat, or ask my opinion on religion because I will never be able to talk to them without seeing pity in their eyes that I am a lost sheep etc and you know what, I’d rather have my opinions somewhere anonymous where your pity cant reach me because I am not the one who requires pity – the human brain is capable of so much more than just following a set of rules and beliefs, hat if you made your own belief system, what if you lived by the rules which felt right to you?
Oh dear that wasn’t meant to happen. well at least that was only the tip of the thought mountain, but seriously, sneezing – I hate when someone says ‘bless you’ I cant say thank you back – lets face it – it would kill the fairies.
what I have learnt is this: you sometimes have to listen to puscifer with headphones and not sing along – you get funny looks for singing
“It’s always gonna be
Sour grapes with you, boy,
Until you get right with Jesus”
I mean, what if they didn’t realise it wasn’t serious now THAT would be awkward
I almost wet myself laughing at this version of sour grapes!