[CS-FSLUG] Words and the Usage

Timothy Butler tbutler at ofb.biz
Wed Dec 15 19:48:08 CST 2010

	I think the interesting thing here is to ask precisely what the word "damn" means. Obviously, in its original sense, to damn would be to send someone to hell; to be damned would be to already have been made reprobate; damned ______ would be something that would be working towards damning people.

	But, if someone says, "That was a damned good meal," I don't think he is making a suggestion that a good meal has gone bad. So my question is -- and I am not advocating the use of the word "damned" in normal conversation, mind you -- what makes it unbiblical to use the word? Words are merely signifiers. If no one could possibly be confused about the signified intent of the word, on what basis would we critic it? In such a usage, the word is essentially a synonym for "extremely." 

	I think communicative intent means more than the words themselves. If one uses the most polite words in the most hateful of ways, that is far more problematic than the most coarse of words used in kind ways. 

	I think this becomes especially interesting as we mull it over more generally. Organizations like the AFA were in a big huff when a show came out this fall (or was it last? I forget) called "$#*! My Dad Says" on one of the major networks. Interestingly, when Paul wanted to say something was of terribly low value, he said essentially the Greek equivalent to the bleeped out word. 

	All that to say, while I prefer to stick to proper grammar and "polite" language, I'm not sure coarse language is necessarily prohibited by Scripture. Obviously invoking the name of God is troubling, but that is a different linguistic matter from the one present here... Is this instead just a -- quite literally -- damned waste of time intended to keep us from actually being a light to the world? 

	The Pharisees were very good at demonstrating their purity by various cultural means while having exactly no effect concerning bringing the Gentiles to faith.


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