Profanity: Yea or Nay?

Profanity. Cussing. Swearing. Cursing.

Whatever you call it, do you do it?

The other night, I was watching Bill O’Reilly. He was talking with a guest, about what I don’t even remember. But he brought up swearing, and said basically, “Everyone swears.  You do it. I do it. It’s really not a big deal.”

That stopped me, because — I don’t swear. Sure, I say gosh, golly, gee — some people even consider those off-color. But I don’t think I’ve ever said anything stronger than that. I’ve certainly read my share of cursing. There’s way more of it in many books today than I’d like to see.

But saying curse words myself? I can’t imagine. In fact, if I did utter an off-color word, I think I’d immediately burst into laughter. It’s just so … not me. I think most of that is because I grew up profanity-free. My parents didn’t use it, and I’m thinking that this is probably largely why I don’t.

Another related topic is misusing God’s name. I hear that a lot, and I just cringe whenever I do. It occurs a lot in one of my favorite family-friendly shows, and the “oh my G__”  seems wrong each time I hear it slip out of one of the characters’ mouths, especially the kids. I’ve emailed them about this, to no avail.

Sigh. Or perhaps I should say #0//*!

So I’m wondering: how common is it to use profanity? Do you? If you do, did you grow up hearing it said in your home?

4 thoughts on “Profanity: Yea or Nay?

  1. Students I work with use profanity a lot! Not all of them do.

  2. Definitely nay. I did not grow up in a Christian home and I did grow up with a lot of cursing and taking of God’s name in vain. Every now and then one of those words comes into mind and I pray it never comes out of my mouth. I knew of one man’s whose godly mother started using awful profanity when she had dementia – they had never known she ever knew any of those words, but somehow she encountered them, and when she lost control mentally, they came out. I pray that doesn’t happen to me. I pray these often:

    Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3).

    Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14).

    That’s one reason I don’t read books with much profanity in them – I don’t need to reinforce those brain patterns. I wrestle with it some – I just read Fahrenheit 451, which has more than I had realized it would. It’s a classic and has other thought-provoking features, and I know people really do talk that way, but I just don’t want to fill my head with it.

    I am distressed, to, by the Lord’s name being used so lightly and vainly.

    It’s distressing to me that some Christians authors are debating about using profanity in their novels to make it more “real.” There are ways to convey that a character is profane without treating us to the details, just as there are ways to show that a couple has sinned (e.g., David and Bathsheba) without causing wrong thoughts in the reader. “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:5) and “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29) are among the many guiding principles of the Bible. Even with questionable words, I like to take the high road.

    Sorry to go on and on….this is something I’ve thought a lot about. 🙂

  3. I appreciate Barbara H’s thoughts. I can see no reason for reading a book that is filled with profanity, or that even has a bit in it, be it a classic or not. I don’t even like the words “darn” or “dang” etc. Authors who use those words have kept me from recommending their books. The English language is rich and it is totally unnecessary to use those kinds of words to express strong emotion.

    So now, I’ve had my say, too.

  4. I was brought up with parents/family that did not curse. Even my non-Christian/religious relatives refrained from cursing around us kids. I went thru a brief episode as a teenager where I “tried out” cursing but frankly I hated it – it didn’t seem “real” to me at all. It felt fake, forced, crude and crass and after a few weeks of that, I dropped it for good. I absolutely HATE hearing cursing on TV / movies. In books it’s easier to skim over it without it really sinking in but if a book is riddled with it, I have to put it aside.
    It’s just so unnecessary to me to curse. I have never heard of anyone “politely” cursing – so basically I view it all as rude and disrespectful.

    I have also thought a lot about this topic as well and am disappointed that – along with many moral issues! – people ASSUME “everybody does it. It’s no big deal.”

    It’s a big deal. Communicating properly and respectfully is a big. deal.

    The problem is – garbage in, garbage out. If we keep allowing our kids’ heads to be filled with this kind of talk, what do we expect them to turn around and do? It is no wonder kids talk to adults the way they do b/c that is all they see everywhere! Rudeness, disrespect, and simply being vile with their language.

    And… as a Christian, it’s an even BIGGER deal that we not use corrupt communication. I would pretty much despise an author that called themselves Christian but felt the need to add actual curse words “for effect” – To me, that is selling out. They can just say the character cursed. I don’t need to fill my head with the exact foul language, thank you, the rest of the world does that enough for me.

    Okay but enough I am writing a book! 🙂

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