Variable that addresses the problem of referring to specific beliefs when communicating in writing with individuals whose religious beliefs are entirely unknown or groups of mixed faith.

While names such as God and Allah are universally recognised, their use is not always considered appropriate. This variable offers a neutral means of including an expression that would normally refer to a particular divinity, e.g. "Thank $DEITY all went well." Nominal references to specific manifestations of the divine do not always go down well with correspondents and pose a dilemma for agnostics, but the use of "$DEITY" is generally accepted, even by atheists. It serves as a viable substitute for believers with objections to the gratuitous use of $DEITY's name, who do not wish to use its name in a humorous or facetious context, and by people who fear that someone may take offence to its use.

The substitution is not always clear to people with no knowledge of the concept of variables but its popularity among certain categories of internet users may (or may not) eventually lead to its widespread adoption as a generic term for whatever is considered divine, omni-anything, and liable to be pissed off when insulted.

A '$' is the prefix for a variable in Perl. So, in keeping with the Perl tradition, you would also have:

$deity = for monotheistic religions
@deity = for polytheistic religions
%deity = for rastafarianism

(@ and % being prefixes for array and hash, respectively.)

And an atheist can always set $deity = 0 and everything works out just fine...

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