Sunday, October 21, 2012

Language/Cussing



The other day, I was asked about if non-religious people should refrain from religion related cursing, and my opinion on cursing in general. In my opinion, it all depends on the context. If every other word you say on a regular basis is one that has been deemed a 'curse word', then you will probably come off as ill-cultured. But if you hurt yourself and shout an exclamation, or are talking about something that makes you angry and use a word to display your true emotions on the topic, then I feel that such utterances are perfectly fine, and understandable.

I am against the vilifying of words no matter what. Words are simply a collection of sounds that we have given meanings to. There is nothing inherently 'bad' or 'good' about a word until we give it meaning. And like I said, intent and context are paramount. If you are asked what you had for lunch, and your reply is "I had a f***ing sandwich, you f***ing c**t.", than such usage would typically be considered obscene and unnecessary. However, if someone punches you in the face and you yell "F**k that hurt! F**k you, you c**t!", such a reaction would seem warranted. Same words used, yet context makes all the difference.

As for saying religious swear words, Ive said it before and I'll say it again. Don't worry yourself about it. Some will say it's inconsistent, but I don't see the issue. There is no rule that a non-believer can no longer utter the word god or Jesus if they don't believe. If that was so, parents could never tell their kids about the tooth fairy, Easter Bunny, or Santa. What about Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn? No one couldn't read that book unless we accepted that they were real people first. Also, the believers who will seize on it as a claim that we can't say that are guilty of the same 'crime' they accuse us of. They all still say Thursday, even though it is named after Thor. In fact, most of the days of the week and months are named after gods or festivals that they don't believe in either. Similar thinking goes in to atheist's celebrating Christmas. All the original meanings have been co-opted and destroyed through the generations. It's what it means to you that's important. After all... What's in a name?

-BH

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