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Does "God willing" have a religious connotation to it? What are some other phrases that mean the same thing but don't have this connotation?

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A similar expression exists in Spanish (deriving from the Arabic) - "ojalá". It also means "God willing" or "hopefully". –  user8927 May 21 '11 at 8:03
    
    
I have been taught (Spanish foreign language classes in American schools) that ojala que can be used in a similar manner as espero que. Great for generating variety. –  Anonymous Jan 29 at 1:23
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My favorite variant is the phrase Hank Williams Sr. sometimes used to end his shows: "Lord willin' and the creek don't rise, we'll see you before long." –  MT_Head Jan 29 at 19:34

9 Answers 9

up vote 6 down vote accepted

"God willing" means "If God allows this to be so," so it has a religious connotations.
Other phrases that do not have religious connotation include "If Fate decrees", and "If the wind blows right", or "Hope its my lucky day", all of which relates to the future, but does not have the religious connotation "God willing" has.

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How about the expression knock on wood.¹

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Nice alternative! Don't forget the variant "touch wood". –  hippietrail May 21 '11 at 12:05
    
In my experience, “knock on wood” is more usual in AmE and “touch wood” in BrE, though I don’t know how universal that is. –  PLL May 21 '11 at 14:54

The phrase "God willing" is of the type of phrases that are added so that the speaker does not jinx their good luck by speaking to freely about it.

So, equivalent godless phrases are other kinds of protective magic against the envy of demons (like knocking on wood).

I don't know if there are many people who want to avoid using a religious phrase, but need to protect against demons, though.

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One of the origins for the phrase "God Willing" or the Latin deo volente is in the Bible from the letter of James 4:14-15

14 Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.”

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Here are some:

Barring some unforeseen (circumstance/incident/accident).

If things work out.

If things go according to plan.

If the Fates decree. (This phrase used to have religious connotations, but who believes in the Fates any more?)

If (I/we/they) get lucky.

If luck is with (me/us/them).

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"God willing and the creek don't rise": google.com/… –  Wayfaring Stranger Dec 21 '13 at 18:14

it's the direct English translation of the Arabic phrase Inshallah

The word Inshallah (Arabic: إنشالله‎), also spelt in various other ways, ("Inshalla"; "Inshala"; "Inshaa'Allaah"; Ishallah), is a transliteration of Insha'Allah, (the Arabic: إن شاء الله‎) meaning "God willing".

so in Arabic-speaking countries, it could have a religious connotation

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I don't know why the downvote. Perhaps for not providing some reference that the English is due to the Arabic and not just a similar phrase that happens to exist in both languages. It is an interesting question. –  hippietrail May 21 '11 at 6:52
    
Also I just found out there is a Latin phrase deo volente which could be an alternative source for English God willing. It's even possible that the Latin is a calque of the Arabic. –  hippietrail May 21 '11 at 7:06
    
+1: although Inshallah is used in non-Arabic countries with no specific religious intent. For instance, you may hear it (not too rarely) in the South of France where there is a big North-African influence. However it has lost its religious connotation or, at least, it's Islamic religious connotation. –  nico May 21 '11 at 8:46
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@pageman, @hippietrail: Never say never, but I would be astonished if it truly could be established that English speakers only say "God willing" because of translation from the same mundane sentiment in Arabic. Next we'll be told that if God isn't willing, we only say "That's life" because it's translated from "C'est la vie". –  FumbleFingers May 21 '11 at 14:12
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@pageman: I wouldn't want to decry such usage by individuals in those areas. As you say, it's part of the culture. But I live in the UK where public life is far more secular. I'm no more fanatically anti-religion than I am homophobic, but by and large I'd rather not have such things paraded in front of me. Do it in the privacy of your own home by all means. Just spare me the details. –  FumbleFingers May 23 '11 at 1:36

"God willing" or "If is God's will", sometimes spoken as DV; the Latin abbreviation for Deo volente or simply "God willing". In Arabic speaking countries the term is used by members of all religions; meaning the term in and of itself does not denote a religion, but simply means "God willing."

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"Lord willing and the creek don't rise" is a sort of backwoods phrase that has the same meaning, but is more folksy and less devoted.

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I'm a Muslim and an Arab, the word "inshaa Allah' 'إن شاء الله' means ' If God Wills' . It's like saying " I'm gonna visit you tomorrow inshaa Allah". It means I am gonna visit you tomorrow if Allah wills.

This is because we don't know the future, only God knows and everything is under his control and his will.

We say this expression because it is in the Quran, the holy book of Islam when Allah commanded prophet Mohammad (pbuh) to say it in these verses :-

(18:23) "And never say of anything, "Indeed, I will do that tomorrow," "

(18:24) "Except [when adding], "If Allah wills." And remember your Lord when you forget [it] and say, "Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct." "

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