When Did Profanity Become Acceptable?

I’ve observed that standards of language have changed over the past couple years, specifically among my peers. I’m not passing judgement, but even among the Christian circles I’m involved with, people with genuine relationship with Christ see no problem in throwing minor swear words into their vocabulary on occasion. Often I even hear the Lord’s name taken in vain.

Maybe it’s just the way I was brought up, but I’m often confused by the mixed messages this sends. This article expresses my opinion well. As a follower of Christ, I try to hold myself to a different standard than suggested by secular culture. It’s easy to fall short of God’s standards, but I still believe it is important to pursue them. Profanity (including crude jokes) does not honour my God.

Something I’ve been struggling with lately (in many different contexts) is where do we draw the line? Am I a prude because I don’t swear? What words are and aren’t acceptable? I  do use “dang” “heck” and “crap.” Are these obvious substitutes okay?

Language is one of the biggest tools we use to fit within a culture. If we travel, we study key phrases that will help us find our way to a bathroom, or order food. If we are in a church or among our elders we use more conservative language. If we are among non-Christian peers we adopt their vocabulary.

When we were redeemed, we accepted the calling to live in the world, but not to be of the world. We were explicitly commanded, “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain.” When did interacting with the world, living as salt and light, begin to include living to their standards?

I could extend this train of thought to many other things, but perhaps I’ll leave that for other posts.

For now, I’ll enjoy the looks of curiosity when I exlaim, “Hokie Dinah!”


4 thoughts on “When Did Profanity Become Acceptable?

  1. Keep using “Hokie Dinah”. My granddaughters love to laugh and imitate me when I say “Fiddlesticks!” 🙂 . I don’t know why we’ve moved away from respectable words that are honouring to God.

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