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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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Friday, April 28, 2006
"Adult Language"
As a parent, I have had the displeasure of having to address others in public whose use of profanity in the proximity of my own children, was both vociferous, and unbridled. People are usually apologetic when you explain that they are using language that is not entirely familiar to the impressionable minds of your children - and they usually can appreciate how a parent might wish for such language to remain unfamiliar to their children.

Now, the fact that (at one time at least) we didn't want our children to hear this sort of language, is likely the reason it was originally labeled as "Adult Language" - to identify it as so corrupting, that we didn't want to expose children to it.

This distinction did not imply that such language was ever "acceptable" conversational language for mature adults - but rather being entirely unacceptable a manner of locution, right thinking people not only didn't speak that way themselves, but would even protect others from having to endure it.

Yet nowadays there seems to have been a shift.

Now we see disclaimers to links and what not that patronizingly warn us that "this site uses Daddy and Mommy language" and the like. The unspoken message is easily picked up however - profanity (corrupt speech) isn't bad if it used nicely. This view holds profanity as a emphatic device, or even as a way of coloring one's speech - a veritable "tickle trunk" of vernacular goodies just waiting to be used by the mature, and "artsy" wanna-be poets of our modern society.

I say to this, (ahem)... Hogwash!

Have you ever talked to God that way - that is, do you cuss when you pray? I don't cuss when I pray and I am an adult. If profanity were simply adult language (language that is appropriately used in mature conversation), I should expect myself to be cussing up a storm in my prayer time, I would expect the same from you too! Can it be that there are more serious, mature conversations than the ones we have with our Father in heaven?

Somewhere along the way we stopped calling corrupt speech "profane" - and decided that it was perfectly acceptable language (except for children and prudes). Indeed - The world really is waxing worse, and worse.

Some simply accept the premise that foul language isn't really foul anymore, but now it is okay for "grown ups" since that is what the world says and believes - and unless you love the things the world loves, you are going to be called a freak - and ostricized for your prudeness (read: obedience to the word of God).

So, I take a stand here today. I don't care for profanity, not one bit! I used to cuss before Christ came into my life - but the moment he did, I had absolutely no desire to speak or communicate using such language - and every time I even thought of it, it made me feel physically sick. I didn't make this happen either, nor was it something I tried to bring about so that I could be more prudish - I just was suddenly sensitive to the fact that I was using language that offended the Holy Spirit within me.

Woe to you if you are already dull His voice that profanity is not only unoffensive, but even acceptable.

I didn't want to say "woe to you" btw, but I couldn't avoid it.
posted by Daniel @ 4:31 PM  
17 Comments:
  • At 6:15 PM, April 28, 2006, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    !@#$%^&*

    Hey, I'm only being authentic!

     
  • At 12:35 AM, April 29, 2006, Blogger Bryan said…

    I think your missing it Dan.

    What is wrong with "swearing" is not the words. Words have no power whatsoever. It's the intent behind the words. Someone can in anger "swear" or they could say "Dang nabit" and one is not worst then the other. Besides what is considered a swear? Is crap a swear?

    This obsession people have with eliminating swaering from their vocabulatiry has baffled me for a long time. They don't want to say what they mean so they attempt to use nice flowerly words instead of swears but keep the same meaning. This is the true Hogwash. Forget the fundementalist view that swearing is a sin, and look at the biblical view; speaking against someone in anger is the sin!

    I don't swear often (although I am by no means not perfect in this), but I try not to say anything in anger even more. Sometimes however I will swear on purpose to get a person's attention becasue I do it so little it does get their attention. When I am around people who I know have the fundementalist view on swearing and not the biblical view in speaking in anger I redouble my efforts not to say anything offensive to them.

     
  • At 1:29 AM, April 29, 2006, Anonymous bobby grow said…

    I say AMEN AMEN AMEN AMEN to your post here Daniel--I have the same passion (in fact I feel so passionate about this that I might cuss ;)!

    While attending seminary I had a prof who would use the "S" word quite a bit in the class-room setting (he is the assoc. prof. of the theology of culture--of course). "It was when he was being genuine and passionate about an issue that he would break out in a tirade, and for mere 'authenticism' and 'shock' value he felt justified." After all the apostle Paul counted all things as "dung", as this prof. would rationalize, didn't he?

    I would argue, as Eph 4 does, that we should avoid foul/course language. This imperative pre-supposes that whatever socio/cultural context we are apart of, that as Spirit-filled people vulgarity is discernable--and should be avoided for the testimony of Christ (at least)!

    The argument that words are only symbols, which they are, engages in fallacious reasoning ("relativizing")--since "symbols/words" capture concepts--and concepts are imbued with meaning via cultural contexts. Vulgarity, of the kind that you mention, Daniel, does indeed reflect our current social makeup--and these words, as far as I can see, via their usage in various contexts, reflect an anti-establishment/authoritarian (physical level)--indeed an anti-God (meta-physical level)perspective that seems to be driven by an "consensual autonomy" (i.e. individualism) that reflects an attitude that is enslaved by a love of self (sin) rather than a love of God--and others.

    I'll stand down now! I thank you, Daniel, for "hitting" this timely topic in our "Christian sub-culture"!

    In Christ,

    Bobby Grow

     
  • At 5:56 AM, April 29, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just agree ...beep... couldn't ...beep... agree more. I just ...beep... love ...beep.. sarcasm. beeeeeeeeeeep...@%#%^#%& [...sounds become unintelligible and more like grunts trying to prove "evolutionary" link to gorrilla "cousins"....]

    well to get serious I here and there used these kind of words(from my wicked past ofcourse) when I came to Christ, and my brothers would keep pointing that and I could see why and I changed it and wow these now I need to put up with words like cr*p and the like all the time atleast its not Code Red horrible. I just consider all this as vain things by humans just going astray each their own way and being proud of their arrogant ignorance, it doesnt help our brothers to use such words in this unbelieving world.(btw I played Counter Strike Source recently after a while, wow look at all those custom sprays, all so horrible pictures, even gay stuff, I am going to delete it soon, hmm wow that is just what I would be and worse if not for the mercy of God in Christ). Hey Dan your God centered posts are very appreciated for poking the closet of a struggling feeble weak calvinist meeting a gazillion Arminian brothers every day, Lord bless you Dan.

     
  • At 8:31 AM, April 29, 2006, Blogger Susan said…

    In my son's last year of high school, we curbed his speech from profanity, to which he'd reply, "Everyone speaks that way."
    We gave him countless of examples of people who do not, so he learned not swear around us. Now that he's in the military, I'm sure he gets an earful of "colorful" language.
    What's a bone of contention with me is that Hollywood actively reinforces my son's notion that "everyone" swears. Outside of G-rated movies, I'd be hard pressed to find a film without such language. That's part of the reason we just don't go to movies anymore. We don't watch TV either (don't have cable or satellite). The few times I've turned it on, I've been shocked by the "colorful" language and inuendo there.
    Amen to your post. The hair always raises on my neck when I hear such speech in public. Or anywhere.
    Incidentally, I see your avatar has changed. I hate to ask, but is that a mug shot? ;-) A photo from your more colorful days? Or maybe just a photo BC - before coffee?

     
  • At 8:52 AM, April 29, 2006, Blogger Susan said…

    I should add that labeling profanity as "adult" is in the same vein as labeling sex, drug use, gratuituous violence, and the like as "mature" for movies and games.
    In my book, this is calling evil good.

     
  • At 12:30 AM, April 30, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Bryan - I think you missed the point of the post. Corrupt speech is biblically a no-no.

    I agree with you - that wrathful ejaculatory remarks are a no-no as well, but unlike you, I do not reason that the two are one and the same.

    Putrified, rotten, unfit for use - these are English synonyms for the word translated as "corrupt" in Ephesians 4:29.

    There is nothing especially spiritual, and certainly nothing academic, in ignoring the plain meaning of the word in the context - it means do speak "foul" language.

    The point of the post was to highlight how some people have accepted the lie that corrupt language is okay if you are an adult, and that those who are sold out to this idea, and go so far as to support and promote it will patronize the Lord by calling such language "grown up" and "Daddy and Mommy" talk etc.

    If you see it and refuse to accept it, that is one thing - but if you don't see it, that is another.

     
  • At 12:42 AM, May 01, 2006, Blogger Bryan said…

    But what makes words corrupt? It is not the letters in the word, nor the sound the word makes when pronounced, but the intent and meaning behind the word. To simply group several words together and say that they are swear words which are wrong to use, serves no purpose.

    Bryan
    SDG

     
  • At 10:14 AM, May 01, 2006, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    Bryan,

    You're right, it's not the letters in a word or the sound of the word that makes it corrupt, but it also is not the intent behind the word. It is the meaning of the word. Words have meanings that are entirely objective. You don't get to decide what your words mean. You have to choose your words according to what they already mean. Words mean what they mean, period.

     
  • At 10:48 AM, May 01, 2006, Anonymous bobby grow said…

    I guess you didn't get my point, Bryan. Words do have semantic ranges and domains per their historical context . . . as David said, words aren't neutral! Your view of language presupposes a normative relativism that is self-refuting.

     
  • At 10:54 AM, May 01, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    David & Bobby - exactly. I was going to post a big old post, but you guys have really nailed it.

     
  • At 12:03 AM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Bryan said…

    Thirstydavid, I did give meaning a place in language, but I think the biblical prohbition on corrupt speech is directed at intention more than meaning.

    I don't think this makes me a moral revelativst (I hold to Divine Command Theory BTW). I just think that the Biblical commandment in this area was not a prohibition against certain words, but against the intent behind them. I understand why you guys disagree, I just don't buy it. I think it makes the prohibition agaisnt corrupt sppech more narrow then it was designed.

    Bryan
    SDG

     
  • At 10:01 AM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    I think your position Byran also gives the post modern sell-out the freedom to comply with the culture.

    More importantly however, your position is that language is only corrupt when you choose it to be, such that there is no profanity, only profane people. This is like saying there is no murder, only murderers.

    Consider that. I think your initial premise has merit - just not when it comes to public speech.

     
  • At 11:52 AM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Carla said…

    Daniel,

    I know I'm a bit late in the game on this post, but I just had to comment anyway.

    First, I agree with your post completely.

    Second, I always find it bizarre when writing about this topic (and I have, several times) you can almost guarantee a professing Christian will show up & more or less demand you to explain to him or her why cussing & swearing is bad, or wrong.

    It's as if you're writing about beating your wife or robbing the local bank, and a Christian comes along and says "but why is this wrong???"

    To me, this is just another indication of why you have to write about it in the first place. Disturbing, isn't it?

    SDG...

     
  • At 6:58 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Bryan said…

    This is like saying there is no murder, only murderers.

    The difference here is the bible specificly defines and forbids murder. The instructions with use of language seem to go with intent, not specific actions (words).

    Bryan
    SDG

     
  • At 9:21 PM, May 02, 2006, Anonymous Elizabeth said…

    Matt.12:36: "But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."
    verse 37: "For by thy words shalt thou be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."

    Sobering words indeed! For most of us, at one point or another in life, I fear. Even many Believers today use by-words and sometimes even use God's name in such way I certainly do not feel comfortable. I grew up partially on a farm, so some words were common, but not so sure if they were the best choice! Descriptive to be sure! Thanks for the pondering.

     
  • At 11:34 AM, June 10, 2006, Blogger J'onn J'onzz, Martian Manhunter said…

    Generally I don't swear very much. If I'm the only one in the house, and accidentally hurt myself (this generally happens on weekends) I may mutter one of the tamer ones but that's about it... My friends were shocked when I called someone retarded, and another appologised to me specifically when she said the s word... That will be all. My blog metaphored College Station to a "hellhole" once, but that was a metaphor... so it doesn't count.

     
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