I was at my desk one day when something really unexpected happened to my detriment.

“Jesus Christ!” says I.
“Gasp!” my co-worker responded.
“Why did you just say the word gasp?” I asked. “Most people just inhale really loudly to indicate surprise.”
“Never mind that” my co-worker says, “you just took the Lord’s name in vain!”
“No I didn’t. I just said Jesus Christ.”
“You can’t say that!”
“Why not? It’s in the Bible. Is the Bible wrong for saying Jesus Christ?”
“It’s in the way you said it.”

Thus my co-worker and I reached an impasse as to whether or not I had taken the Lord’s name in vain.

That was a year or two ago but I have had many such arguments in my life all having to do with that same nebulous phrase. It has always been my position that to do something in vain means to do something you know isn’t going to happen, like if I command a mummy to get up and scare the shit out of everyone in the museum. Thus I’ve always regarded taking the Lord’s name in vain as saying God told me something when I know very well He in fact hadn’t. For some reason most people believe the phrase refers to saying things like ‘goddammit’.

For help in understanding this issue I turned to the internet. My search brought me to this website which seems to back my argument. Specifically it says:

The second unfamiliar idea is taking that name “in vain”. The Hebrew word for “in vain” may equally well be translated “in falsehood”. Hence the text of Exodus 20:7 becomes: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in falsehood; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in falsehood“. This is clearer in meaning than the words “in vain”, and begins to reveal a wide application.

This interpretation seems to make more sense than the more common one. If there really is a God, why would He be upset and regard it as a sin if you say things like goddammit and Jesus-lucky-Pierre-Christ? Common sense says He wouldn’t (unless he was a most insecure fellow, which I would have trouble believing in an omnipotent deity). But there would be a valid reason for Him to be upset, it would seem, for people to use His name falsely for their own purposes. After all who likes being lied on?

Therefore, “Those goddamn hippies are really pissing me off” would be a perfectly acceptable sentence, whereas “God has revealed to me that we should pull all the skin off the hippies and throw salt on them”, while perhaps being a good idea, would technically run afoul of the whole taking the Lord’s name in vain idea.

As an advocate of freedom and rationality I prefer my interpretation rather than the commonly accepted one. What the sphincter-clenching religiously uptight seek to do with their version is to limit free speech and, by implication, free thought (kind of like this annoying asshole who actually went to the next table at a restaurant and started hassling people he didn’t even know about this issue).

Setting certain words off limits is just as piously comical (some would say vain) as prohibiting flag burning. Burning the flag, while shocking to the sensibilities, is just as much a symbol of political dissent as burning political leaders in effigy. If we prohibit the former we may as well prohibit the latter. And once we do that we are just another step from banning political cartoons and artistic depictions of any of our various secular prophets altogether. When we reach that stage we will have then violated everything that the American flag stands for and we might as well raise the hammer and sicle and call it a goddamn day. I am seriously.

So in summation, while individuals have a right to hold whatever ideas they want to as sacrosanct, none of these people have a right to trump the ideals of freedom of speech and thought. If you think differently then you are gay. Not the good kind of gay either, but the bad kind. So go slam your head into a wrestling ring turnbuckle until you get it.

That is your political enlightenment for the day. Fifty dollars please!

12 Responses to “Goddammit!”

  1. Phelps says:

    I always understood it as swearing a false oath, like when you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so HELP YOU GOD, and then you lie your ass off… well, make sure you are buried wearing asbestos underwear.

  2. mexi says:

    Yes, I can buy that interpretation. I don’t know whose big idea it was to say it means saying “Jesus Christ!”

  3. guy in the UNLV Jacket says:

    Instead of saying Jesus Christ you should say Muhammad Jihad

  4. mexi says:

    What’s this white stuff in the tabooli???

  5. L says:

    OMG! thats what an emo is?!!- Well, I AM NOT GIVING UP MY NERDY GLASSES OR MY PAIR OF CHUCK T’S!!!

    p.s. that white stuff in your tabooli is wheat. we use wheat in a lot of things.

  6. mexi says:

    omg! that reminds me. . . I bought some buckwheat about two years ago. . I think I got it from the Halal market but I can’t be sure. I cooked it and ate it. I didn’t like it. I only ate it to see if it would make my hair stick up like Ben Wallace’s but it didn’t. I do some really strange things some times. I know that sounds like a made up story but it really happened. I should check myself into a crazy home.

  7. L says:

    no we use bulger wheat not buck wheat.

  8. mexi says:

    Well what does THAT do to your hair? Whatever it is it must have been extreme because Yassar always threw something over it.

  9. guy in the UNLV Jacket says:

    Saying “God Damn it”, Is using God’s name in vain bacause you are commanding God to Damn something or someone and we all know the mortals can’t command God to do anything so ordering God to do something is therefore in vain. Saying Goddamned hippies is not using God’s name in vain because we all know that God damned the hippies back n ’68. I want my $50 back suka!!!

  10. Mexigogue says:

    I wonder if God says “ME DAMMIT!!!”

  11. Phelps says:

    When God gets mad he yells, “MUFFINS!” in a cross voice.

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