Or, Why I Don’t Give a Flying Fuck About Swearing
There has been a scientific study indicating that swearing can relieve pain faster than chanting a neutral word
Using religious words to swear have been in literature for centuries. Chaucer used old English forms of swearing, but recanted his works on his deathbed (perhaps to hedge his bets in the afterlife).
In his Catholic culture, using invective was a deitific invocation without authoritative permission. “Bloody” and “bones” where derived from “by God’s (or Christ’s) blood” or “by God’s bones”. People where essentially calling on God for succour without a priest as a sanctified, sanitized intermediary. Baaaaaaad.
In our plugged-in world, people’s words are viral in seconds. And these words display a person’s mindset, character or attitude to others that may not know the speaker from personal experience.
For example, when we hear of celebrities’ politically incorrect gaffes, we are shocked by their character. Without knowing them personally, we have no way of knowing how accurate these words are—we don’t know the celebrity from our own experiences that would belie the words they’ve reportedly said.
How true is this for people who have little experience with the God from the Bible?
Let’s say you’ve never heard of Christ. Quietly, you listen carefully for his Name, out of curiosity. You see these examples of Christian speaking for God (which I’ve experienced):
-A person who has applied for a church job goes up for prayer. One of the “prayer partners” is on the hiring committee. Suddenly, this asshole “prayer partner” has a “word from the Lord” about the outcome of the hiring process (duh!).
-A church is making a major decision about its future. People on either side of the issue insist they have God’s word supporting him, and each side is spouting Scripture and/or “prophetic words”.
-A couple is getting divorced. Without information or support, dumbasses judged the individuals to their face and behind their backs with the scripture “God hates divorce” [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Malachi+2%3A16&version=NASB]. If the Bible-thumpers were challenged for this ignorant and inappropriate response, they replied, “These are God’s words, not mine.”
Which instance is more likely to put someone off God’s character—someone in pain howling “Jesus H Christ on a stick!” or the prig who tells others they have a personal in with the Almighty Creator, and this allows them to dictate to others how to act, think, or speak?
Which misuse of God’s name is more likely to negatively affect a person’s future relationship with God—to scream “Oh my GOD!” when seeing an email revealing a spouse’s infidelity, or to say to that spouse that she should make her husband the head of their household, submit to him as she would to God, and devote herself to forgiving him when the "wayward” spouse has no intention of changing?
Words have power. Will you focus on words that people use to express pain, anger, derision, or other human sentiment? Or will you focus on your words that portray a Being whom you represent?