Swearing

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Abiyah, Aug 16, 2002.

  1. Abiyah

    Abiyah
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    I have been discussing the concept of believers
    using expletives. I just have not personally
    been around any believers who do.

    I am curious: is it normal for believers to use
    expletives? What about when they are angry?
    Hurt? Anxious? In danger?

    (If anyone wants to add to this topic the other
    concepts of swearing, I don't mind.)
     
  2. clipper

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    Unfortunately, swearing and foul language is so commonplace in our culture that it can easily slip into even the most watchful believer's words. I know many Christians try to substitute other phrases for expletives, but what I've found useful is to really examine my reactions when I am tempted to say something inappropriate -- is it something that I should really be that frustrated by? Am I merely being angry or selfish for not getting my way?
    Another point about the language we choose to use in times of frustration was really shown to me in this quote from Vonnegut's "Hocus Pocus": "profanity and obscenity entitle people who don't want unpleasant information to close their ears and eyes to you."
     
  3. Helen

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    My dad used to say that a person who swears is showing that he is not very competant in the English language.

    Personally, it takes ENORMOUS difficulty to get even a 'big D' out of me. Maybe once every couple of years??? But I do have expressions I have substituted:

    "What the bananas...?"

    "Oh blast!"

    "Good gravy!"

    etc.
     
  4. Abiyah

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    Okay. I have been known to be upset and shout
    "RATS!" when something went wrong, or "YUCK!"
    if something is gross or "STINKIN'!" when angry
    or "Ow! Ow! Ow!" when hurt. Are these consi-
    dered swearing, or is swearing only using so-
    cially unacceptable words?
     
  5. Baptist Believer

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    Currently my "favorite" expletive is "Mittens!"

    It is so silly that it reminds me how stupid it is to use foul language.

    When I became a believer, I habitually swore. My conversation was laced with profanities (it was considered manly among teenagers). The morning after I gave my life to Christ, I said the "d-word" in front of a friend. He nicely suggested that I shouldn't talk that way anymore and I agreed with him. I did not even accidentally use another profanity for many more years thanks to a simple sincere commitment and the grace of God.

    But when I was in seminary, I worked in a department store where I had to literally take down shoplifters and other criminals who were trying to steal merchandise or sometimes even hurt people. I found that an "appropriate" obscenity used in a takedown threat/promise ("If you fight me I'll break your &*%^ing arm") was a very effective way for an unarmed person to get a potentially dangerous person to give up. Without the obscenity being used to make me sound mean, they tended to fight more which could get one or both of us hurt and may well turn into something more dangerous.

    As a matter of daily living, I only use profanity very intentionally, while quoting someone else or writing dialogue for a character in a book to reveal character (or lack of it), breeding and social status. I consider it a very low form of expression and certainly something that Christians should avoid.

    (Now I've given everyone something to disagree with me about!) :D

    [ August 16, 2002, 07:15 PM: Message edited by: Baptist Believer ]
     
  6. Justified

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    We pray and sing unto the Lord with our heart, mind, and mouth, and then unfortunately, we use the same to utter such words. And I am very ashamed to admit, that these words sometimes come from my heart, mind and mouth, too! [​IMG]

    "It is always better to stand up for conservatism, then to fall into liberalism" Justified Version ;)
     
  7. Abiyah

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    Speaking of favorite swear words, mine,
    spoken only in jest, used to be "Shigatoshi
    Hasegawa!"

    A police officer said the same thing--that
    criminals did not take him seriously unless he
    spoke that way, a concept I never understood,
    because he was about 6'7" and weighed around
    250.

    Basically, I think that I was being called a "'fun-
    damentalist pharisee" for thinking that the
    average believer did not use what I would call
    "gutter language." 8oD Am I really? Or is it just
    that I haven't been "around" very much? 8oD

    [ August 16, 2002, 07:27 PM: Message edited by: Abiyah ]
     
  8. Mike McK

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    One of the funniest scenes in the movie, "Signs" is the minister, played by Mel Gibson, being urged to cuss by his brother in law in order to scare off an intruder.

    He tries and tries but just can't bring himself to do it and can only manage, "AAARRRGGGHHHH! I am insane with anger!"

    That's already become the catch phrase du jour around our church.
     
  9. HankD

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    Some cultures don't have "bad" words or at least they don't carry the same weight as in English/American.

    My Italian grandparents had some colorful verbal public expressions for their kids and grandkids, which, if translated into English would be shocking.

    HankD
     
  10. ChristianCynic

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    Some cultures don't have "bad" words or at least they don't carry the same weight as in English/American.

    The reason English has a certain few short words regarded that way is really just language snobbery. Those words herein referred are some of the oldest words from the Germanic tongue. But when English became as much Latin and French as Germanic in the Middle Ages, one result was something of a double vocabulary with, for examples, Germanic pig and Latin pork, Germanic farm and Latin agriculture, Germanic trade, and Latin commerce. But since French and its ancestor Latin were the languages of the 'higher' class, meaning sources of power and authority-- government, church, and nobility-- the Latin-based words were the "better" sort and the simpler Germanic words were the "meaner" sort. Hence, the Germanic words pertaining to the body and its functions were unacceptable in 'nicer' society, making then unspeakable, per se. And then since people are prone to do and say things normally 'unacceptable' when they are angry or astonished, one result is the use of these words to express such thoughts, with some latent idea that's just how anger and astonishment are expressed. In the minds of many, failure to express negative feelings in this way means one is not "mad enough to fight," so then it may be taken as cowardice.
     
  11. Abiyah

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    Thank you, everyone.

    Cynic --

    Yes, I remember this from college days, but
    up to this point, those who use such words
    are convicted by their use, wish they did not,
    are embarrassed by them, etc. I think that if
    such words ever came out of my mouth, I
    would fall on the floor in shame. Perhaps it
    is snobbery on my part (I can understand that
    this might be so), but it would be difficult for
    me to sing a hymn to my God the next time
    afterward. I would be thinking, as one men-
    tioned here, "Can it be sincere, coming off the
    same tongue that spoke THAT way?"

    So perhaps I am not a fundamentalist or a
    pharisee but a snob? 8oD
     
  12. stubbornkelly

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    I've known many Christians who alter the traditional curses' spelling and pronunciation, but I've always felt that that's no different than using the actual word. I mean, you're thinking it, and everyone knows what you're saying, it's just disguised with spelling differences. I mean, I hear people say "frickin," and I don't see the difference between that and, well, you know.

    But you know, I occasionally use some British curses, and those aren't really any better - it's just that Americans don't know what they mean, so they don't think they're bad. :eek:

    I'm pretty convinced, though, that words aren't inherently bad. They're bad because we think they are. We've given them negative power they don't really deserve. That's not to say we can just ignore those negative connotations, though. Because the same argument (about man-given negative power) can be made for some pretty bad racial slurs, and I don't think those should be flung around either.
     
  13. Baptist Believer

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    Yep, it's true. Being polite and courteous does not strike dread into the criminal mind. Little things like the threat of snapping someone's fingers when you have them in a complience hold usually keeps people from fighting you - even if they are going to jail. I'm 6'05" and was about 240 at the time I was doing that work, but that's not as much of a deterrant as you might think. People often try to fight you or break away from your grip unless you verbally intimidate them.

    When I was first starting out, we caught some teenage boys using a stolen credit card. I was friendly and courteous with the one I was leading to the security office when he suddenly tried to break away from my grip. In the midst of the struggle, he managed to slip away from me (the good guys have to use minimal force but the bad guys don't have to respect your rights) and ran toward one of the glass exit doors. I was running close behind dodging dress racks and other items he was knocking in my way (I got a nasty scrape from a display case) until he slapped through the glass door. He was running so hard that he slapped the glass door with his fist to open it, but instead his hand, followed by his entire body, went through the broken glass. He kept running and I gave chase after I carefully stepped through the glass. Suddenly he collapsed in the parking lot. I ran to him and saw that he was bleeding severely from cuts all over the front of his body. He had sliced up his face, hands (one wrist severely) and had glass shards sticking out of his body.

    Immediately I became his caregiver and called an ambulance while I tried to minimize his bleeding. I was his fault of course for committing a crime, trying to run after we had placed him under citizen's arrest, and for running through the glass door, but I realized that I needed to make sure that I would be intimidating from that point onward in order to save myself or someone else the potential of serious injury or death from trying to fight or escape.

    After I started using well-placed swear words with takedown threats, I rarely had another person fight me again. It's not something I'm comfortable with, but I didn't like the alternatives. This takes us back to the "Is it ever right to do wrong?" thread. [​IMG]
     
  14. Baptist Believer

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    Excellent point. Your post is a keeper.

    Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  15. Abiyah

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    Okay. 8o) I have come to the conclusion that I
    am a snob; I can see how it fits. I can see, too,
    that I don't get angry enough to use such words
    either, but I don't think that is all that bad.

    [ August 17, 2002, 04:44 AM: Message edited by: Abiyah ]
     
  16. latterrain77

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    The sin of bad language is more in the “inflection” – rather than the words themselves!

    Even relatively simple peppered words like “goof” or “boob,” if uttered with anger, or contempt, is a horrible sin (Matt 5: 22). Even the beautiful and lovely words “I love you,” if said with sarcasm, or if untrue, or with an intent to demean, is a SIN!

    It is ALWAYS a terrible sin to use phrases such as “___Damnit,” or “J____ Christ” when uttered in the horrible way that some often do (usually in anger, frustration, or bitterness). This is taking GOD’s name in vain, and is a grievous sin (Exo. 20: 7). Phony hypocrite religionists often take GOD’s name in vain too, when they constantly utter, in “knee jerk” fashion, phrases such as “praise GOD,” or “hallelujah thank ya Jesus” and other such phrases (which are glorious when stated with meaning) yet sinful when uttered without full attention or comprehension. When we use GOD’s name, it had better be with a clear and meaningful purpose, and not rote (Matt. 6: 7).

    The Bible mentions some words that we might call “cussing,” in our modern culture (Eze. 24: 12, Lev. 21: 7). Yet, we are to NEVER use such words in anger, or in unrighteous judgment of others (Matt. 5: 22).

    Apostle Paul cussed, calling the “high priest” a “whited wall” (Acts 23: 2-5). He was reprimanded for use of the phrase, so there is no doubt that it was a “cuss word” of the day. The “whited wall” was the equivalent to the “rest room” or "toilet" of our modern culture (1 Kings. 16: 11). There is a related word found in the Bible too (2 Kings 18: 27, Isa. 36: 12). I was going to write the word, but I’ll let you look it up for yourself. I am blushing! [​IMG]

    latterrain77

    [ August 17, 2002, 08:06 AM: Message edited by: latterrain77 ]
     
  17. post-it

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    My problem is that I am so even temper and nothing really surprises or shocks me, I'm also way to patient with people. So at work, my employees don't know when I'm really upset about something unless I throw in a few cuss words. When I'm mad, it doesn't show at all except in my foul language.

    Do others have this problem of being too unemotional about life's events that cussing becomes the Lazy way to show anger?

    I have also wondered how much my spiritual beliefs have devoided me of emotion. I accept everything as God's will and that no matter how bad something is, it will be ok in the end. Over a lifetime of this understanding, my anger (emotion) is almost nonexistent.

    [ August 17, 2002, 08:39 AM: Message edited by: post-it ]
     
  18. SaggyWoman

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    I have never cursed for the sake of cursing. I doubt I heave ever used a profane word in anger, just to be saying it.

    On occasion, in small groups and one on one, for effect, I may use a well chosen word now or then.

    But,I don't usually just off the cuff.
     
  19. Jim1999

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    Abiyah:
    Don't consider yourself a snob because you refuse to profane the language. Consider yourself blessed of the Lord, and in full control.

    Many years ago, a Christian wouldn't even think off coloured words, let alone actually swear. The times are changing. Modern Christians think nothing of drinking alcohol, swearing and profaning the Lord's Day.

    The Roman church used pagan festivals to attract the world to the church, ie: Christmas and other festive seasons, and I guess the modern thinking is that we can attract the world by being more like it.

    I am not shocked by anything I hear. Foul language is all around us, especially the pictures and the telly. I remember the day when in English society one would not mention ladies pants (under garments) in mixed company. We go far beyond that to-day.

    The bobbies of old were always respected and always gentlemen. They could be sacked for using foul language, and they always got their man. Perhaps it is an American thing that makes foul language appear tough,,,I don't know, and I am not being a critic in this area,,I don't have to deal with the criminals,,,and God bless those who do.

    I am not being priggish on this. My sisters are still living, and I am sure they could tell you stories.

    Cheers to all; God bless,

    Jim
     
  20. Abiyah

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    Thank you, Jim! 8o)

    The reason I decided that I am a snob, though,
    is because I realy do have an attitude toward
    people who swear. I have realized that I "look
    down my nose" at people who use such words,
    and that really is a problem. There is a Baptist
    minister on another forum whom I especially
    admire, and I actually argued with him about
    whether or not he would swear, because I
    would not accept that he was saying that it was
    possible.

    I feel I must accept that I am haughty about this
    toward others, changing this and my judgmental
    atttitude, but in the process, I reserve the right
    not to take on the language myself and to reject
    all criticism for my desire for a "clean mouth."

    Hm-m-m. Perhaps this is going to take a while.
     

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