Monday, September 22, 2008

Dirty Words And Blasphemy

Over here, we see an interesting discussion on the whole issue of what constitutes blasphemy. After linking to this rant by comedian Margaret Cho, ER opens up the floor, and by some great stroke of luck, ELAshley comes around not only to scold us all for celebrating all those dirty words, but to inform us that our status before the Almighty is in question because we do so.

I will be clear. Compared to tossing around a few expletives - which I will stipulate is both shocking and could be offensive to some - claiming to know another's status before God is a far worse offense, to me at any rate. Indeed, that is the point of Cho's little rant. Her righteous anger is directed at those who deem themselves the sole arbiters of God's justice and love. It is one thing to read Cho's post, or even it's title, and click one's tongue and shake one's head. It is quite another to claim that those who read this with a certain amount of approval (and, yes, I am one of them) are on their way to hell. Personally, I would much rather face the Throne of the Almighty with this on my conscience than having to answer the following question:
So when, exactly, did you realize that you knew how We determine who goes to hell?

An even better question such individuals might face (and I want to be clear that, while ELAshley is the only person who responded this way at ER's, this represents a much broader swath of a certain perspective held by some Christians) would be:
There are children dying of diarrhea - DIARRHEA - in Third World countries because pharmaceutical companies refuse simply to send these countries the medicines necessary to help. And you're worried about some words some people think are dirty?

It's about time that something explicit (no pun intended) was said about this particular point. All the people who get the vapors over the sight or sound of foul language, insisting that such paves the way to hell, really, really, really need to get over themselves. There might be all sorts of reasons not to use such words in every sentence, but these reasons have little to do with one's ultimate status before God and more to do with social etiquette and acceptability. I realize that there are verses in the Bible that some people can point to that seem to refer to Divine Displeasure at vulgarity. If you want to read them this way, and apply them to your own life, that's OK. I don't read them that way, though, and that's alright, too.

Even more important, however, is this. Arrogating to oneself the role of arbiter of Judgment is the root cause of the rage evident in Cho's piece. I would disagree with Doc in comments, by the way, when he says there is no love evident in Cho's post. On the contrary, the reason for the rage is the love not only for God, but for other Christians, for the message of grace. When that is stolen by those who believe themselves somehow more qualified to understand that grace and love, and denies it exists for some individuals and groups, is it any wonder it inspires anger?

Virtual Tin Cup

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