Disclaimer: Here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog, as the name implies, I strive to make sure the material I write is overall positive and non-offensive. But today might serve as a technical exception, as I think it would be interesting to learn about the history and psychology behind what makes a word not-so-family-friendly to begin with.
I think it’s safe to say that, my whole life, I’ve been fascinated by “what makes cuss words bad.”
Yes, ultimately, a word becomes “bad” or “inappropriate” because society collectively agrees that to some degree that the word deserves that title.
“Poop” is fine for kids to say, yet we obviously can easily think of another word for it that we as a society agree is apparently so bad that the major networks will rarely allow to be spoken.
Yet it means the exact same thing!
So to me, that ridiculous double-standard is fascinating.
However, I am completely uninterested in using those words that society considers as cuss words. If I was going to use a certain semi-taboo word sometimes, I’d rather just use themregularly. I’m one of those all or nothing kind of guys, as my wife often reminds me.
Therefore, I’m not in to using cuss words. Instead, I enjoy discussing what makes them cuss words. (I paid special attention to this kind of stuff while earning my English degree from Liberty University.)
I think the best word to start on is “damn.” Our society uses it more as an adjective and an exclamation.
But really, what makes it a “bad” word is the verb form. From a Christian perspective, to damn something means to curse it to hell for eternity.
Our society has been led to believe that “g.d.” is one of the worst cuss words there is, next to “the f-word” (which I plan to address in the near future if this post does well).
However, if you ask me, “g.d.” is essentially the same as “damn.” Because only God can truly curse something or someone to hell.
So if a person says, “Damn it!” in reference to their smart phone taking too long to load Family Friendly Daddy Blog on their screen, they are essentially saying this:
“God, I am asking you to transport my smart phone to hell, because I am concluding on my end, that’s how the situation should be handled from a spiritual perspective. My phone deserves eternal punishment in hell.”
The way I see it, it turns out sounding like a really bizarre kind of prayer.
Saying “damn” is indirectly, yet ultimately, asking God to curse something for you.
I think a misconception that people have about “g.d.” is that it’s cursing God.
That’s incorrect. People are not saying “[curse] God,” they are saying “God [curse] this for me.”
In my opinion, “g.d” is actually just as offensive, if not less offensive, than when people say “oh my god!”
Our culture has made the annoying phrase “OMG” a careless marketable catch-phrase; which is exactly what God commanded people not to do in the Ten Commandments:
So a person calls God’s holy name (“oh my god”) over an amazing sale at Old Navy and no one cringes, but if a person yells out “g.d.” over that same sale, it would be perceived much worse by most people.
To me though, it’s the same thing. Using God’s holy name in a trivial way is to use his name in vain.
Just look up “damn” in Wikipedia. You will be directed to “damnation,” which is also where “g.d” is directed.
My theory is that using God’s name in vain in any way is a sin against God; it draws us away from his holiness, not closer to it.
We are to praise God’s name, not use it thoughtlessly.
With that being said, the shortened phrase of “g.d.” is “damn.” Structurally, people are referencing God’s name thoughtlessly when they simply say “damn,” unless they are using to explain what it means (like I’m doing now), or use it in a non-spiritual context, like “damning evidence” in a court case.
I think a good example of an unabbreviated version of “damn” is in the famous 1968 movie, Planet of the Apes, when Charlton Heston speaks to the apes.
I’ll substitute the word “damn” for “curse”:
Most people hear that and think this: “He just cursed God!”
In reality, he asked God to curse the apes.
I say all this to explain why ultimately, “damn” is just not a word I am interested in using.
There’s too much responsibility, for me personally as a Christian, in knowing what it really means and how I feel it affects my personal relationship with God.
I feel it’s not a word to take lightly since it implies using God’s name in an unholy way.
But still, “OMG” makes me cringe more, because it’s so much more widely accepted.
In closing, I’m a Libertarian. It’s not interest to judge or care what other people say, whether they are Christians or not. People answer to God for their words and actions, not to me.
Not to mention, I’m a big advocate of freedom of speech and an enemy of censorhip. It’s not my business what other people say; it’s my business to understand what I choose to say.
However, I wrote this today to help mainstream America better understand why “damn” still has a stigma on it and why I personally choose to keep the word out of my vocabulary.
Take the Christian aspect out of the word, and really, you’ve got a word that would have never been considered profanity to begin with.