Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Swearing, etc.

Regarding my book, which contains some swearing, Bob commented:
I realy don't understand your logic about reconciling faith and reality. If you think you can write profanity and describe some"college situations" in language that is of the world. Who do you think your fooling? Is this book about making money? We are to be different in all things,even evangelizing. Just another opinion that I am sure you will be able to justify in your own mind.

I find this puzzling.

Paul was willing to become all things and to compromise anything, except the gospel. (1 Cor. 9:20) Far from being “different in all things”, he would adapt his behavior based on his company. The true meaning of “different in all things” is living out one’s faith and, as with Paul, never compromising the gospel.

When I was in college, the fundamentalist evangelical types had no effect when they buttonholed me—I made fun of them. And yet a scientist, who taught of the evidence for God in physics, and who occasionally had some salt in his language, had a profound impact. If he had been different in all things (as Bob means it, if I understand correctly), including his evangelism, I would have ignored him just like I ignored the others who were different in all things.

Once I asked a colleague and former student when he became a Christian. He told me that he was greatly influenced by one of my lectures when I snuck in some Intelligent Design arguments. That is the purpose of my book: to evangelize in the same way that I was evangelized, and the same way that I have evangelized others through lectures and talks.

It is also true that any admonition that we try to apply to “do not swear” is more accurately “do not curse someone" (something like ascribing false motives to their actions, such 'as to make money') or “do not swear an oath to God.” The swearing that I use in my book, e.g.,“Yeah, I was pissed off” is not of this type. Not that is to be preferred, but you cannot convince me from the bible that such a statement, which contains not a curse, a slander, gossip, or is intended to hurt, is sinful. After all, God’s law is absolute. Whether a word like piss, used to describe a mood, is “swearing” is completely subjective. At most, you can say that if you are in a situation where it offends, then don’t use it. Beyond that, it’s in the secular realm: don’t use it for it makes you look ignorant.

1 comment:

  1. Pardon me?!? There is a licentious interpretation of Paul's words and deeds if ever I saw one! Years ago I came across a comment by some chick who used "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus" as a proof text for tattooing her body. Clearly she had no clue what she was talking about and perverted the context of the verse, just as you're doing with 1 Corinthians 9:20. Your loose interpretation is twisted and perverted and in no way reflects Paul's mindset. Simply read all of Paul's writings and you'll quickly prove your stance in error. Paul did not become a drunkard to win drunkards; he did not snort rails of coke to win coke-heads; he did not curse like a sailor to win potty-mouthed individuals. You clearly pay very little to what your Bible actually says (except when it suits you to pervert a verse to your own agenda), otherwise you would have noted Ephesians 4:29 and 5:3-4. Read those verses and try to argue for your nonsense of using profanity whether in book or speech. I suggest you re-consider precisely what the Gospel is and what it entails, because it sounds as though your gospel is a false gospel.