Is Swearing a Sin?

SwearingAre Christians allowed to swear? Is swearing a sin? I have been thinking about this for some time.

I remember picking up Bono on Bono : Conversations With Michka Assayas at a Christian bookstore. In it, Bono is very explicit about his Christian faith, including his belief that Jesus is God.

But Bono also drops the f-bomb quite a bit and I was shocked such a book was sold in a Christian bookstore.

Is swearing so bad? We probably need more than the opinion of a rock star.

The first we need to ask is about makes something a swear word. Is “piss” a swear word? What do we do with the King James Bible?

But Rabshakeh said, Hath my master sent me to thy master and to thee to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you? (Isaiah 36:12)

Is piss a swear word now but not in 1611? Why is ass a swear word when it is rear end and not when it is a donkey (my daughter is offended when we sing Christmas carols that say “ass”).

What makes one word for excrement a swear word and not another? What makes one word for sexual intercourse a swear word and not another?

Is there anything intrinsic to the f-word that makes it bad?

But doesn’t the Bible ban swearing?

Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4)

Many interpret this as swearing but is it really? It seems to be talking more about the topic of conversation rather than the vocabulary.

You might wonder if I’m just trying to justify my own “trucker mouth.” The truth is that I haven’t dropped an f-bomb in twenty-five years.

While I began with a legalistic view of swearing, I now avoid swearing for a different reason. I’m not offended by swearing, but I think people sound foolish when everything they say is, “F this and F that!” It sounds crude even if it might not be swearing.

Having said this, I do think it is wrong to take the Lord’s name in vain. I do believe that it is wrong to Jesus’ name as a swear word. Not only is it strange (we don’t do that for Muhammad or Buddha), it is disrespectful.

I never tell non-Christians what to say, but Christians should definitely honour the name of the Lord.

Other swear words? I think it’s up the individual’s conscience.

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