Here is a little thing that I've always been wondering about.
The use of profanity, being atheist or religious alike, has always been seen as impolite.
Yet, a study seems to have shown that the use of profanity lowers stress and boosts morale. (If God should exist then he has a twisted sense of humour, doesn't he?) So yes, I profess to profanity and I am certain that I am not alone.
So here is my question on this. Assuming you just stubbed your little toe on the bed with unsettling force;
Do you use profanity and, if you use it, how do you use it? Do you reference God in it or do you stay clear of blasphemy?
For example, a very Christian lieutenant I once knew wouldn't swear but he'd freely call out Gordon Bennet's name every time he stubbed his toe.
An atheist I heard speaking on the radio said not to use profanity involving god references just because they do not believe in god.
I try to be creative but old habits are hard to beat and I will occasionally use the good old OMG! or JMFC! still.
Your opinions please?
I'd like to point out something that Christians never seem to realize:
To do something "in vain" means to do it with anger or hatred. Thus "You shall not use the name of the Lord in vain" means you can't say God's name when saying mean things. It doesn't actually have anything to do with words like "fuck", "shit", "ass", "bloody", etc.
Instead, it DOES mean that Christians shouldn't ever say things like "God's gonna send you to hell for that!" or "You atheist pieces of trash need to get some God in your life." So next time they tell you that, refer them to the second commandment.
Profanity offends only if you let it offend you.
I see no big deal with profanity. I am a big George Carlin fan... so profanity is no issue.
I know people who get offended if you say "shit" near them. To me, the word "moist" sounds more dirty than "shit."
As for religious profanity, I am fond of "Sweet zombie Jesus!"
And I do go out of my way to use god's name in vain. I don't say "God damnit," I go to the extent of using his first name. "Yahweh fucking damn it!"
Being something of a recluse who rarely ineracts with actual flesh-and-blood people, I don’t often get the opportunity to swear; but when I do, I scrupulously avoid any reference to god or other supernatural or mythical entities (like Jesus Christ). I do often blurt out four letter words when I’m alone - sort of like controlled Tourette’s - but no OMG’s or goddamns.
You say: "...I scrupulously avoid any reference to god or other supernatural or mythical entities (like Jesus Christ)..."
The question that immediately pops into my mind is: Why?
The second question is: What do you think is the root of the psychological pressure that causes you to do this?
@Amanda - you're probably too young to have reason to remember the late Allan Sherman, a chubby Jewish comedian with horn-rimmed glasses who wrote and performed the song, "Camp Granada" ("Hello Muddder, Hello Fadder, here I am at Camp Granada --"), but what many who may recall the song likely don't know, was that in the last year of his life, he wrote an incredible book, entitled, The Rape of the A*P*E* - "A*P*E*" standing for American Puritan Ethic. It's long since out of print, but worth a read if you can find a copy.
Your comment reminded me of it, in particular, a chapter he called, "Short Chapter, Long Footnote," in which the first page consisted entirely of the word, "FUCK," typed over and over again, for the length of the page. The rest of the chapter consisted of his footnote, explaining how he felt when he first sat down and typed the first "FUCK" - he was terrified that the police would come crashing through the door. By the time he had typed the last one, he had been cathartically cleansed, the word no longer held any significant meaning for him. He went on to describe what he felt WERE really bad words, hate, bigotry, intolerance, ignorance, greed, etc.
It might interest you to know that he also mentioned that "FUCK" is a euphemism, once quite in proper use in Merry Olde England, describing the shameful phrase no one was then allowed to say, "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge," and so, "F.U.C.K." was invented to take its place - he further remarked on how things have since evolved, to the point where we now need a euphemism to describe the euphemism.
I don't know, Amanda, I'm just repeating what Sherman wrote. Poor guy died at 42, sad.
Went there Amanda, and this is what I found:
Subtitle: Rumor has it
[Collected on the internet, 1999]
Followed by the definition. I'm not saying I'm right (sometimes I'm not entirely correct), but do you really want to take that to the bank?
Well, to be fair, it didn't really click for me until I met some fine German fellows. They said "fuck" or some variation of it in every sentence, and when I realized that they didn't apply the same stigma to it that I did, I realized that it wasn't the word itself, but how it was intended and how it was perceived. Intent comes wholey from the user, but Perception was on my part. I could CHOOSE to take offense, or I could make the word powerless by stripping it of its meaning. Once I figured that out, words became what I willed them to become. I could use them as an armor, or as a blade, as I pleased, and I could nullify their very purpose without so much as a wayward thought. It's a potent power, to be confident and intelligent. It's a remarkable ability to make these discoveries and use them to your advantage.
I don't disagree with you Grady, the use of profanity can, at times, be quite liberating and provide a great stress relief. However, growing up, I pursued a literary education, and have concluded that any good piece of literature doesn't require the use of profanity, rather, in fact, it weakens good prose, in that it leaves the reader with the impression that the writer's vocabulary is extremely limited.
Believe me, I do on occasion use every word I know, and I know some used only by an obscure sect of Portuguese sailors, but I find that frequent use, reduces its effectiveness.
Unless you're James Joyce.