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Gott weiß, ich will kein Engel sein.

This is a song lyric from German metal band Rammstein. I wonder whether this lyric could also be phrased using dass:

Gott weiß, dass ich kein Engel sein will.

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If you take the literal meaning, yes, you can rephrase it with a subordinate clause (but don’t forget the comma):

Gott weiß, dass ich kein Engel sein will.

But if you take a more abstract meaning with a not-religious-anymore approach, I would hesitate. This construction feels more like a set phrase, an exclamation; other similar/related expressions would be

Weiß Gott …
Weiß der Himmel …

compare the use of the English

Heaven knows …

Or French

Dieu sait …

They have evolved from a religious statement to phrases that will simply emphasize the following statement or rhetorical question without much of a religious undertone in modern usage.

Your substitution, while it can be read the same way, is more likely to be taken in the literal sense.

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  • I know the song and I never thought of the link to "Weiß Gott". +1
    – Iris
    Oct 16 '15 at 12:04
  • I actually doubt that "Weiß Gott" fits here - had they wanted to express that, they could just have said it, as it fits the metrum as well. Oct 17 '15 at 20:46

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