Monday, February 20, 2006

What's in a name?

I see that the Kaiser Chiefs did well at the Brits this year. Good for them; I quite like their music. However, I have not bought their album, and neither do I plan to.

Why?

Because I am quite a stickler for the Commandment "do not take God's name in vain". It annoys me when people use "oh my God" as an exclamation and though the song with that title is (irritatingly) catchy I don't get on with it lyrically. To say I find it offensive might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I certainly don't want to endorse it.

I guess that in a world of free speech people can sing about what they like. There are doubtless many Christians and Jews who find The Kaiser Chiefs' song offensive, but who just get on with life quietly. But would the reaction be the same if the song was about Mohammed for example, or would we see more extremists inciting murder and burning embassys?

The lack of respect for God's name which has developed is quite interesting; no-one ever exclaims "oh Buddha!" if they do themselves an injury, and no-one ever invokes Mohammed's name when they receive bad news. So why is it acceptable to treat God (or Jesus, or Christ...) as a swearword?

On another note, Ian popped up for dinner last night, and it was a quality evening, and good as ever to catch up.

11 comments:

James.R.Skinner said...

I quite agree JP. Call me "over the top", but i do get annoyed when people exclaim "Oh my God", and use blasphemy as an exclamation. And its quite true what you say; why is it acceptable to use blasphemy in this sense, but yet offensive to do the same against gods of other religions? Yet again it is Christianity that seems to be victimised by todays British politicians in their quest for political correctness.

Mikey said...

I agree with your point, and it is indeed a pity that the phrase you mention is becoming further desensitised when used by the likes of Big Brother's Chantelle, and even Michael Gove MP (in mock reference to Chantelle at the Channel 4 Political Awards recently). But I don't find it as offensive as when Jesus's name is used as a swear word, as "God" could be seen as being less specific. Even so, I did think it rather inappropriate that the song you mention was selected to be performed on Top of the Pops on Christmas Day.

dave said...

I show the same disregard for every religion and will continue with my blasphemy, it just so happens that "oh my God!" is already in my vocabulary. "Oh my Allah!" just hasn't got the same ring to it, but my joke about nuclear weapons and tea towels will live on. Congratulations on decent music taste as well.

JP said...

A good set of comments so far, keep them coming. I'm surprised by the number of people who have voiced their agreement - both here and in person.

It's also nice to hear Dave's viewpoint. I thought that it was interesting that he acknowledges it could count as blasphemy, though I suppose that if you have no regard for any religion then it is irrelevant. On the whole however, no-one has come up with an acceptable reason for using God's name as a swear word, even though lots of people do it. Interesting.

PS - What's the joke, Dave?

dave said...

The reason I acknowledge it as blasphemy is because that's the dictionary definition and I do understand that it can cause offense to others, but I'm not going to let that stop me.

The joke is not a joke as such, more a quip about the current nuclear quandry in the world. The American/Western argument that some states need nuclear weapons for legitimate defence reasons, the implication of this of course that other states if they had nuclear weapons would use them for attack. So the line is, anyone who uses tea towels to dry dishes needs nuclear weapons for defense but anyone who wears a tea towel on their head needs nuclear weapons for attack.

Davey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Davey (who can't log in now?!) says...

Hmm, I'd never really thought about it. I suppose in ye olde days people would say "Oh my lord" or "oh my God" or whatever in a genuine sort of "give me strength" appeal to God when something shocking happened, and it's just evolved over the centuries into a commonly thrown around phrase. If I got something to say though I normally just use proper swear words anyway...
Maybe if people who want a tame way to curse were provided with a decent alternative to "oh my God" they could start using that instead (things like "oh my gosh" just my you sound like a posh weirdo, and are probably derivatives of "oh my God" anyway).

James.R.Skinner said...

I quite agree with Dave here. It has evolved, but i cant exactly say thats a good thing. I am the sort to say "Oh my gosh" as im quite supportive of not taking Gods name in vain....however, i do tend to sound like a snobby little rich kid when i say that sometimes...so i can partially see why people do refere to the "Oh my God" comments these days, even though i feel it is wrong.

By the way JP, whats you opinion on the death penalty? Me and Royston are having a never ending argument about this on my blog, and i would be very interested to hear your views.

JCB said...

Of course, 'God' isn't God's name, but what He is. YHWH (with added vowels) is.

Davey said...

Death penalty eh?
Well, personally, I don't think anyone has the right to take another human being's life. In doing so you'd be putting yourself on the level of a god, which is surely blasphemy? Life imprisionment should be the punishment for murder.. that way the criminal can pay their dues and think about what they've done and maybe become a better person before their life is over. It's not going to bring the victim back, but then neither is executing the murderer.
The whole idea of killing people, for any reason, makes me feel a bit sick really.
Mind you, I'm a vegetarian...

Anonymous said...

had a thought on this today. It's dead easy to get annoyed at this, but actually, are we equally annoyed at ourselves? For instance, what about God's commandments about say, sabbath, or murder, or adultery? Are we equally harsh on ourselves when we get angry with someone, don't take a day off in the week, or lust after someone?

the answer's probably no, which is probably why we're accused of hypocrisy

dwong