The Big, Big D
Bad language or abuse
I never never use,
Whatever the emergency;
Though “Bother it” I may
I never use a big, big D.
W. S. Gilbert, H. M. S. Pinafore
In the recent past I have used two profane expletives in this column—in quoting others, of course—and have received a couple of negative responses.
Christians differ about this. One Christian friend of mine who teaches at a secular university says he regrets the casual and indiscriminate use of profane and four-letter words among college students today because it leaves them with no reserve ammunition when they need a strong expletive—as Shakespeare said, “a good mouth-filling oath.”
Another Christian I know who formerly taught in a Bible college feels that all expletives are forbidden to the Christian. He even extends his prohibition to such a seemingly innocuous expression as “for Pete’s sake” on the ground that it is a reference to the Apostle Peter and is therefore a profane use of Scripture.
A few years ago Elisabeth Elliot caused a minor shock wave with her novel No Graven Image: upon breaking her fingernail the heroine utters the word damn.
My own feelings and practice are somewhat mixed. Under trying circumstances when I resort to the use of an expletive it is considerably more embroidered than simply damn.
On one occasion I was visiting in a nearby church. The minister, whom we entertain occasionally, had launched into a condemnation of the heresy of original sin and was exalting the doctrine of original goodness.
Filled with hearty disagreement I muttered an eight-letter scatological expletive. My teen-age son, who isn’t keen on theological debate, declared, “Boy, I’ll never sit next to you in church again.”
One strange thing about our society is that ...1
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