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    Using God's name in vain

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    Rickster

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    Using God's name in vain

    Post  Rickster on June 24th 2013, 3:14 am

    what do you think using the LORD's name in vain mean?
    Does it just mean saying "oh my God" etc. or does/can it mean something else?

    (I'll give my thoughts on this later)

    Paeter
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    Re: Using God's name in vain

    Post  Paeter on June 24th 2013, 2:12 pm

    From my article "Questionable Content" at http://www.christiangeekcentral.com-

    "TAKING THE LORD'S NAME IN VAIN"

    Exodus 20:7- You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

    First, it's worth noting that the Hebrew word here for "take" does not mean "say", despite the fact that we tend to automatically interpret it that way. The Hebrew word for "take" here means "to lift, bear up or carry".

    This command goes far deeper than simply verbalizing a reference to God. God commanded his people not to "carry" his name with them if they weren't being genuine about it. This command is a warning against religious hypocrisy. In part, God was saying "Don't identify yourself with me unless you really mean it."

    Also, the Hebrew word for "name" here refers not just to God's proper name, Yahweh. It refers to his entire reputation. The Israelites were being commanded not to speak of, mention or represent God in a thoughtless or disrespectful way.

    And although we are not bound by Old Testament law, a similar idea is expressed in Mathew 5:33-35 and is naturally included in the greatest commandment, to love God with every fiber of our being. (Mark 12:28-30)

    To use references to God(God, Christ, Jesus, Yahweh) as slang or thoughtless exclamations could be argued to be disrespectful. However there are times when people can use these references to God as exclamations in which they are genuinely thinking of and directing their thoughts toward God, so we should not be too quick to judge others in this regard.

    Some may also argue that words like "gosh" and "jeez" are disrespectful as well, since they find their origins in an effort to substitute for words referring to God. But I don't see a good argument here, unless we can prove that when someone says "gosh" or "jeez" they are really disregarding or making light of a name that refers to God. "Gosh" and "jeez" are nonsense words. Even their origins (which have no relevance I can see to their actual use) are an effort to avoid offending God, rather than making light of him. So if anything, the natural intent in using "gosh" and jeez" seems to lean toward respecting God, rather than secretly disrespecting him.

    I'm inclined to think we need to give people the benefit of the doubt on this one since mind-reading is not a spiritual gift. But I'm open to changing my position in light of a better argument.


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    45shiro45

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    Re: Using God's name in vain

    Post  45shiro45 on June 24th 2013, 3:21 pm

    Fantastic, Paeter! Such a comprehensive, biblical yet gracious view! Couldn't have said it better myself! (I was going to respond to this topic later this afternoon after work, but now I don't have to!) Thanks! ;-p

    Paeter
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    Re: Using God's name in vain

    Post  Paeter on June 25th 2013, 7:05 pm

    45shiro45 wrote:Fantastic, Paeter! Such a comprehensive, biblical yet gracious view! Couldn't have said it better myself! (I was going to respond to this topic later this afternoon after work, but now I don't have to!) Thanks! ;-p
    Glad it came across well for you.

    I'm very interested in hearing how others approach this issue, too! Any other thoughts on this one? A great question for discussion!


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    Rickster

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    Re: Using God's name in vain

    Post  Rickster on June 25th 2013, 7:27 pm

    I agree with the above statements but I also think it can apply to a lot of items found in Christian book stores that puts Jesus' name on them just to sell it to Christians.

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    Re: Using God's name in vain

    Post  Paeter on June 26th 2013, 2:25 pm

    Rickster wrote:I agree with the above statements but I also think it can apply to a lot of items found in Christian book stores that puts Jesus' name on them just to sell it to Christians.

    Ooh! That dig made me laugh out loud! But I think you may be right. And in broader contexts as well.

    As Christians we can sometimes "spiritualize" things that are really serving our own agendas. I think this behavior could also be qualified as "taking Yahweh's name in vain".


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