What do you call a person who doesn't believe in something but still saying things about it?

For example let's say Mario doesn't believe in God (he is an atheist) and something bad happens to Mario so he says:

Why me God?

What did I do wrong to deserve this God?

closed as off-topic by WS2, tchrist, Drew, andy256, Brian Hooper Dec 31 '14 at 16:59

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about theology or psychology, not the English language. – WS2 Dec 27 '14 at 9:47
  • I would call that person normal. Just as there "are no atheists in a fox hole", it can be said that there are no atheists when someone is looking for a cosmic force to blame. Blaming the Fates is outdated. O, Fortuna isn't very satisfying. Personifying "the cosmos" is pretty normal in this situation. – anongoodnurse Dec 27 '14 at 18:57

I think the closest word to describe Mario would be a hypocrite, defined as one whose actions belie their professed beliefs. Note that hypocrite is a fairly derogatory term in modern parlance - but then, it's hard to describe the behavior you're talking about in positive terms. Still, if you were looking for a more "oh, well, there he goes again!" type of noun (i.e. "being silly" rather than "betraying his beliefs"), hypocrite is probably too strong/negative a term.



I don't think there's a noun referring to that person, but I have a verb and an adverb.

Mario is 'speaking figuratively'. You would have to explain elsewhere that he is an atheist.


I think the phrase "habitual vocabulary" applies here. Mario is not necessarily using the term "God" to refer to some supernatural creator who he believes in, though I think your examples could be taken either way. He is potentially using the term out of habit, in the same way that other habitual vocabulary creeps in to our verbal communication.

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