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It bothers me when I see or hear an atheist or agnostic using the cliché "passed away." We all know that the term came from religion, supposedly describing passing from moral life to eternal life in heaven or the alternative. We all know that heaven and hell do not exist and that eternal life in a religious sense is a false myth. Om a physical on if gone and will never exist again. We need to rid ourselves of these religious hang-ups.

We do grieve the loss of the physical presence of a loved one. But our memories of the person will be with us as long as we live. And, while we live, our thoughts, actions, and words influence others. In turn, many of them will pass on some of those influences to others. It may be generations before our influences cease to exist.

By wordywalt8
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Meh. The thing I like most about being an agnostic is that no one can tell me what to do or say. Why do we need to constantly police one another over stuff that's just inane? Wasted time, effort and mental energy imo.


I don't believe passed away has religious origins. I know of dozens of colloquial expressions for dead and died because people don't like to say those words. Would you prefer "was called home to Jesus." because that's one of the ones I can't stand.

For what it's worth. I don't think the word we choose changes the fact that people die.

JimG Level 8 Dec 13, 2018

"Passed" meaning "elapsed" or "go" or "leave", "Away" meaning "not here" or "gone" or "absent"... Your claim of religious connotation is superceded by the simple grammatical syntax of the English language.

Kafirah Level 8 Dec 13, 2018

I have bigger issues to worry about. Semantics.


Passed away implies religious ideology how? As far as I can tell it simply means to leave the mortal coil.


To be honest, most of the common sayings we use come from some religious background, even as far back as ancient Greeks.
So I really don't mind any kind of saying. I know what they mean, and that is all that matters.


I don't think its religious but even if it is why does that bother u. Nothing says others have to conform to ur way of thinking, just like nothing says u have to conform to theirs


". . .Passed away. . . We all know that the term came from religion"

Guess I am not a member of the set "all" as I was completely unaware of your definition known by everyone. I, raised a theist but figured religion was BS as a young person, figured "passed away." meant no longer living, dead, gone. I never assigned a supernatural component to this phrase.


I used passed away. I do not see the connection your making. If you do not want to use it, fine. I do want to use it.


I never had a problem saying someone has died. Dead. Fini. Croaked. Gonzo.

Use whatever works for you ...

evergreen Level 8 Dec 13, 2018

How great of you to volunteer yourself as a censor I mean I have been someone to take the place of religion in this aspect.
And if you could please make a list of socially acceptable words and phrases for the atheist/agnostic believers ( is believers acceptable?) that would be great ??

Thank you and have neutral day ??

48thRonin Level 8 Dec 13, 2018

I don’t understand what is wrong with ‘passed away’, it does not at all imply that there is something after. Are you getting confused with ‘passed on’?


i don't care for the phrase myself but just as i will say omg without calling on a deity (and oh shit without ordering anyone to defecate) i don't actually mind passed away for religious or antireligious reasons. it bothers me more that folks can't just say DIE. i don't take passed away automatically to mean pass from one form of existence to another. it could as easily mean pass from being alive to being dead, the end. so on THAT level it doesn't bother me one bit. i just don't like euphemisms that must unless they're funny.


genessa Level 8 Dec 13, 2018

It’s always our choice to feel whatever we feel about what someone else says . Are atheist and agnostics starting their own set of what’s acceptable or not ? You are welcome to your feelings and thoughts, but the undertone is no different than that which you seem to be against. We are so fragmented, we are .


Passed away simply implies that the deceased has died and infers nothing more. Now, "crossed over" is a different story.

jlynn37 Level 8 Dec 13, 2018

It is a softer word for death. Lighten up.

Sticks48 Level 9 Dec 15, 2018

"We all know that the term came from religion, supposedly describing passing from moral life to eternal life in heaven or the alternative," is news to me. It's just a synonym for died.

EdEarl Level 8 Dec 14, 2018

Not a synonym, but a euphemism.

@wordywalt OK


Mid-90s, there was a crash outside my wife’s place of business. The mother, who was driving, was unconscious. As was the boy in the rear seat. The girl in the passenger seat was semi-lucid.
There were more than a dozen standing around the car. I went to the girl and asked if there was someone I should call?

“Yes.” This was before I had a mobile phone. I asked for a phone. I dialed the number and left a message.

“What is your address?” She told me. I returned the phone and drove to the address to find the father behind the house. “Come with me now!”

During the drive to the hospital, I told him to use my car phone (a big thing) to call everyone he thought should know. He called his pastor.

We got to the hospital before the ambulances. He and I were shown to a small room adjacent to the emergency room entrance.

Soon his pastor arrived. They spoke. And then, the pastor held out a hand to me and to the father and the father to me. It was prayer time. Who was I to deny them this moment of yearning for happiness?

I left as his family was brought in for treatment.

Jacar Level 8 Dec 13, 2018

So much agree with u. Just bc ur a nonbeliever doesnt mean u can't respect another persons belief. I have a aunt that i have the utmost respect for that is highly religious. Shes the one i went to church with as a kid. Her and her husband know im atheist and me and my uncle on occassion debate religion, science, philosophy, etc but we do it respectfully. And there is not a meal we sit down that i don't bow my head while they say me im not abandoning my beliefs as some would suggest, im merely showing my aunt and uncle and their beliefs respect.

@RickyAdams . . I think, not so much respect as empathy. They are humans. Only an evil thing would interfere with their fear in any such manner.
I feel "blessed" to have been there for him.

@RickyAdams . . . get a digit recorder and ask her to tell you why she believes. No conflict. Aske her to clarify repeated.y. Get her to talk. The recorder will fit in your shirt pocket. And can be set to voice-activated.

Do this like now, before she leaves the planet. Do this for all of us.


I stubbornly insist on using the term died, since I hate euphanisms and weasel words. Plus, I enjoy how much it makes so-called polite people( who would prefer I conform with modern terminology and say "passed" or "passed away" ) uncomfortable. Lets them know I believe that this life is all we have.


Passed away perhaps meaning past tense?

Just euphemism. I don't need to use cold clinical words just not religious ones.

RavenCT Level 9 Dec 13, 2018

I get where you are coming from. But to me "passed away" or "passed on" sounds a lot better than "they died" or "went on ahead" or all these other blunt terms. It's just one of those sayings that is a part of our embedded culture.

To each their own I think. Words like that only have power if you believe them. Otherwise you are just respecting the dead.


I do this to be polite. I never engage the stoopidity of believe during moments of sadness.

Jacar Level 8 Dec 13, 2018

Personally, I think death can be such a hard subject, if someone feels better using the term passed on or passed away, I'm not going to judge them. Death is really final, there are no do-overs, and I'm all for grabbing whatever comfort you can until such time as you can find peace with the cold hard truth.


I was confronted with death suddenly at a rather early age. The euphemisms like passed away grated on me a little, but the outright denials like the condolence card that read "he is just away" really pissed me off. There are times you just can't sugar-coat reality.

alliwant Level 6 Dec 16, 2018

I don’t view it as a religious hangup. It is just an that is sensitive to the emotion of the situation, for those that need some emotional consideration.

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