Where did the idea that it is sinful to use "curse words" come from?

The Bible only says one thing about "cursing": Don't take the Lord's name in vain.

If I say, "What the f*ck is that?" the Lord's name does not appear anywhere in that sentence.

I think what has gone on here is a conflation of upper-class behavior with righteous behavior.

Cursing is something done by dirty, sweaty, working men when they are angry.

When a rich person is angry, he has other outlets: he forecloses on your house, or fires you. So, no need to curse!

6 comments:

  1. Doesn't Paul say something to effect that it is not very christian like to use profane language. I don't believe that he considered it a sin or anything. I don't have my bible with me, so I am unable to verify.

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  2. Gene, doesn't the belief that profanity is sinful come from Ephesians 4:29, which says "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."?

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    1. Right, be see me remark about the little Italian grandma in my comment below: I say that is just a way of speaking, with nothing unwholesome about it. And that you can talk plenty unwholesome without using any four letter words!

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  3. Gene, there are several passages that could plausibly mean, "Christians shouldn't swear."

    Here's a list, though some of these I think are goofy examples, meaning they aren't talking about swearing, even though the people making the list are arguing that they do. But some (mostly from Paul) are pretty clear-cut.

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    1. I'd argue that what these amount to is, yes, one shouldn't tell someone, "F*&k you, you assh*&les," as a prominent Yale philosopher recently wrote. But if someone in Brooklyn vernacular, as I heard an old nonna do on her stoop, says "The f-ing beef stew Friday, it was f-ing fantastic,"I'd argue that the f-word has escaped its original context, and is merely a non-obscene intensifier.

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  4. St. Paul uses the Greek equivalent of the S word in Philippians 3:8.

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