I appreciate their dilemma and sometimes chide a class of students to "get over it" because I intend to use the term in part because it's so easy to use as shorthand.
The question is, though, "God" is shorthand for what, exactly?
My prior blog article spoke of a new dispensation wherein a growing understanding is evolving of "God" as something far different than the anthropomorphic "man" on a throne far away who watches our every move, eager to toss most of us into the fiery dustbin at the slightest infraction!
So if you, or a friend or family member, bristles at the notorious "God" word, I have a few simple suggestions:
1. Should we use a new word? That's been tried and like the gender thing (she, he, "they" etc.) it's still a bit awkward. Fellow teachers I know often like to use the phrase "the Divine," and I use it too, but it seems so lifeless, so pallid. God isn't a mere "thing" or dumb "force" like "the Force" or electricity. There IS a personal element to "the Force." Who can love the Cosmic Ground of Being? At Ananda we often follow Yogananda's lead (and Swami Kriyananda's, our founder) in referring to God as Divine Mother. I do too but that's most comfortable among fellow members and less comfortable in public settings (though I still use it there, too). But it can prompt further questions of its own.