Xian Cursing

I posted this at thexiansatirist.wordpress.com, but it’s worth re-posting  🙂

If you have a sensitivity to coarse language you may want to skip this post…

So the other day I played a little game with some friends. I asked a group of people to help me come up with as many Xian swear alternatives as we could (those are words Christians use when we feel a need to swear but don’t feel comfortable using any of the words the world uses). Keep in mind that Xians have different standards of what is or is not acceptable. But here is the list we came up with.

1. **#%%#*#&#*
2. Fahrvergnügen
3. mother frito
4. Shazbot!
6. Jeepers!
7. Jinkies!
8. Zoinks!
9. cheese and crackers.
10. “crumb” instead of “crap”, for the very conservative 🙂
11. oh my word, oh my stars
12. Gadzooks!
13. crappydoodle
14. Holy Canoli!
15. Horse feathers!!
16. Crapola
17. oh my Gosh!
18. Cat Hair
19. Shut the front door!
20. Well I’ll be dipped in buttermilk
21. Ticked Off!
22. Razz ma-tazz!
23. Freak
24. Frickin’
25. Frickin’ A.
26. Jumpin’ Jehosaphat!
27. Good gravy
28. D’OH!
29. fudge ripple
32. son of a biscuit
33. He’s full of shiitake mushrooms!
34. Goshdarnit
35. What the frick?
36. sugar
37. shoot.
38. Crap
39. fudge
40. snap
41. darn it
42. good grief
43. Goshdarnit
44. Holy Schnike
45. oy vey
46. garbanzo
47. crud
48. durn
49. darn
50. poodledoo
51. shut the front door
52. fiddlesticks
53. fiddledeedee
54. Bob Saggett
55. What in the blue bless?!
56. Oh. My. Cow
57. Jeez Louise
58. Jesus, Mary & Joseph.
59. Poodle-fruiter!
60. dad-gummit!
62. gee whiz…
63. ska-douche!
64. Sugary pops
65. Peas and Rice!
66. Dag nab it!
67. Fudge Buckets!
68. That sucks!

Goodness! That’s a long list. Every once in a while I’ll get someone who asks me a question about what the Bible says about swearing/cursing/profanity. The truth is that the Bible doesn’t say a whole lot about it.

There are two verses in the Bible that most Xians use to justify a no-profanity position.

a) Exodus 20:7 – You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain…
b) Ephesians 4:29 – let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.

While these are great verses, neither one is talking about profanity. In Exodus God is commanding the Israelites not to use his name lightly. There is a little bit of ambiguity here, because the Bible never says exactly what it means to take God’s name lightly. It could mean not to use the name casually. It could mean not to use the name to back up your promises (swear to God…). There is no general prohibition here on profanity.

The Ephesians verse seems compelling at a cursory look, but Paul isn’t talking about profanity. In Ephesians he’s talking about not lying, speaking truth, not sinning in our anger, and building people up. In the context of the passage it would seem that “unwholesome talk” is not profanity but is language that seeks to hurt or damage others. The Greek word can literally be translated as “trash.” It’s like Paul is saying, “Don’t engage in trash talk against each other. Use your words to build each other up.”

On top of the lack of biblical direction against foul language we run into the problem of the fluidity of language. That is to say, language changes. What words mean now could be very different from what they meant 300 years ago. So which culture and era do we use as the standard for acceptable and non-acceptable words?

I grew up in a conservative home, where there were very few acceptable alternatives for swearing. I have a very clear memory of the first time I EVER used the expression, “Man, that’s screwed up!” I felt like such a rebel.

In our home “sucks” was not an acceptable word. But I remember the first time my mother was so upset about something she declared, “Well that…that just SUCKS!” She doesn’t use it regularly, but she needed to express the depth of her emotion and used that phrase to do it.

In the end it is another case of Xian liberty. If God’s Spirit is convicting you and telling you not to use certain words – DON’T! If you have freedom in Christ to use certain words – FEEL FREE! We just need to make sure that we’re not imposing our freedom (or lack of freedom) on others.

In the end, it is always better to err on the side of caution. Even if I’m free to use words it doesn’t mean that I should flaunt my freedom in front of others. Out of respect for people I can choose to change my language to fit the circumstance.

That’s the Xian thing to do.

And it doesn’t suck.


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