Mudcat Café message #1713484 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #90369   Message #1713484
Posted By: Uncle_DaveO
08-Apr-06 - 09:41 PM
Thread Name: BS: Book of Judas
Subject: RE: BS: Book of Judas

Taking God's (or Jesus's) name in vain, to me, is essentially using the "power" of his name for one's own ends, unrelated to what one would call a valid religious use. Remember that in many strains of Judaism names are taken to have what one might call "mystic power" in themselves. Thus a Jew does not pronounce the NAME of YHVH (even in a reverent manner), but refers to "The Master of the Universe" or some equivalent

To use His name in vain is to throw it around lightly, as it were. For instance, it's clear, I think, that that Commandment would proscribe the exclamation, "God, I hate beets!" or Germans, or bloated plutocrats or whatever, just for example. The fact that "God" is not His NAME is irrelevant, because it's clearly being used as a direct equivalent to that unutterable name.

And of course the proscription of "swearing" is really no such thing. The Commandment prohibits FALSE swearing--that is, calling on God to witness the truth of what the person knows to be false. In a court of law, taking the standard oath to testify the truth is okay (in most people's eyes) because (a) it's not taking the name of God lightly, but solemnly; and (b) if the testimony then given is true, it's not false swearing.

Then (though not, I think, dealt with in the 10 Commandments, there's "cursing". It's verbally calling down grievous consequences on the person cursed: "May you go to Hell!"

Then there's other "bad language" that people sometimes call swearing, but which is merely vulgarisms such as shit, fuck, and the like.

Dave Oesterreich