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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Question for atheist/agnostic/other-nonbeliever Berries

    Do you think it'd be weird to use a name with "God" in its meaning? Have you taken that into consideration with your name choices?

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Excellent question! This is something I've thought a lot about. I'm Jewish and consider myself an observant atheist, which basically means I attend a progressive synagogue and observe the Holy Days but consider the whole God thing strictly metaphorical. Because my heritage is important to me, I love and would love to use Jewish names like Dov, Rafael, Aluma, Abram, Gabriel, Oz, Talia, Judah, Zev, Simon, Moses, Gideon, Marnie, Mordecai, Reuben, Orli, Asher, Miriam, Ruth, and Devorah (to name just a few favorites)...despite the fact that pretty much all of their meanings invoke God. I definitely want discuss the concept of God with my kids, and I think that giving them names with these meanings could be a good jumping-off point.

    That said, there are some names I adore but would feel uncomfortable using because they seem so inextricable from a religious context -- specifically, a Christian context. Mercy and Salome are big ones. Obviously, cool Bible-centric names like Galilee, Judea, Bethel, Jericho, Vesper, Jubilee, Magdalena, are totally off-limits. I'm even shaky on Balthazar and Jasper (two of the Three Kings present at the birth of Jesus). Lourdes and Mary are out -- though I do like Mary variations like Marigold and Maris, which feel more secular. I guess my self-imposed restrictions are that God names are okay, as long as they're Jewish and thus culturally (if not spiritually) relevant.
    Simon, Eloise/Louise, Faye, Judah, Thea, Felix, Iris, Cordelia, Roscoe, Lydia, Jasper, Phaedra, Adrian, Lucinda, Jane, Conrad, Wallace, Finnegan, Sylvie, Charlie, Dashiell, Juniper, Atlas, Matilda, Julian, Alice, Marlowe, Octavia, Jack, Marigold, Archer, Gabriel, Persephone, Raphael, Dov

    Just a grad student, dreaming ahead...

  3. #5
    We take it into consideration but it hasn't been much of an issue. A heavily religious meaning pretty much strikes a name off the list, but the only names that are very religion-oriented that I like are Castiel and Marina. Although if I wanted to honor a family or friend in the middle spot and their name had a religious connection, that might not sway me away from the name.

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    I wouldn't have any problem with the Hebrew Biblical names that have god in their meaning, but you can't really tell without looking it up (unless you speak Hebrew, I presume?), e.g. Elísabet, Matthías.

    I would definitely avoid all names that explicitly mention god or Christ, e.g Guðjón, Kristín - and Helgi/Helga (meaning 'holy'). I think these send too blatant a religious signal, despite being very common names.

    I specifically talk about names related to the Judeo-Christian tradition because it's not likely a name would come up that had to do with another religion. Apart from Ásatrú - I have thought about that a bit. Like, if I wouldn't be willing to use Kristinn, should I also strike off Þórarinn, because I don't believe in Thor anymore than I believe in Christ. I think I would on balance prefer to find names that don't explicitly mention any gods, but I would be far more willing to reference Thor than Christ. Maybe that is hypocritical of me?
    Freyja Elísabet - 4 June 2015
    Possible future brother: Benedikt - Elías - Emil - Jóhann - Matthías
    Possible future sister: Elsa - Elva - Inga - Salka - Sóley
    Other loves: Ingimar - Kjartan - Óskar - Róbert - Rósa - Sólveig - Svala - Ylfa

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Sydney, Australia
    I personally do take it into consideration, but if the connection isn't really obvious, then I'd probably still use it if I liked the name enough. Names like Magdelene, Noah and Mary are too obvious for me, which is kind of disappointing because I love the way both Noah and Mary sound.

    As for names with god in the meanings, sometimes you can find secondary meanings to the names; ones that aren't as common. On nameberry for example, Arabella means 'yielding to prayer' which doesn't really suit me. And yet, if you google 'meaning of arabella', it comes up with beautiful (Dutch) and, apparently, eagle heroine (German), because the name has more then one root. So I can choose to take those meanings instead of yielding to prayer.

    I'm also pretty much the same as @jackal - I'd be willing to use other gods and goddess names then names with a connection to an abrahamic religion. I love names like Persephone and Thora and Artemis and Ares and Perseus for example, because of the stories and personas behind the namesakes. I think I'd be more willing to use them because in todays society, they're mostly recognised as JUST ancient stories and myths, and, for most people, not part of a legitimate religion (although there are pagans, but paganism isn't a major world religion and accounts for less then a quarter of religions internationally).
    Last edited by mckaylalove; July 27th, 2014 at 05:39 PM.
    c a r a

    love each other, respect all life and don't run with scissors.

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