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Monday, June 16, 2008

Question Of The Week


I need help on something I think might be a problem but then it might not be a problem and I can just go on as usual.

Holy Cow!

So is that a bad thing to be said by a person who believes in the Holy Lord God Almighty?

I'm not looking for another rule to follow but I'm not sure I want to hear "if you're feeling convicted..."

I do not desire to be a follower of what other people do but I want to know what others think about this saying.

And not just holy cow but holy moley and a host of other holys that aren't so stinking holy. Only our Father in heaven is truly Holy. He asks us to be holy because He is Holy but are the phrases: holy cow, holy moley, holy toledo (spellings are questionable) a trivialization of the concept of Holy?

Isn't that what taking our Lord's name in vain actually means anyway, that we trivialize Him into a declaration of pain or disappointment or even pseudo delight?

And then when we realize that we can't do that then we make up stuff like holy moley or pinkandstink or oh my gosh. What is the purpose in these declarations anyway?

1 comment:

mikeSTONE said...

Here's my two cents (I seem to have a lot of pennies, but I try only to give out two at a time)

I had a couple of Christian friends growing up who weren't allowed to say things like "gosh" because they were substitutes for taking the Lord's name in vain. This idea is hard to swallow. Taken to it's logical conclusion, we should never use a word that expresses emotion other than the exact word for that emotion (that is painful, that is surprising) because someone somewhere may have used the Lord's name for that purpose. That's what those phrases are used for right, Expressing emotion? Using words, tone, inflection and gesture to communicate a complex series of thoughts and emotions. I suppose they are unnecessary, but in the same way that art is unnecessary.

A lot of people will say that intention is the key to the "rightness" of what you do or say. Like if I meant something for good, it was good. Obviously the Bible tells us otherwise. It says that we should not do things that would make our brothers stumble. So intention AND reception are both necessary. Therefore, I think if you don't intend to disparage the concept of holiness and the person hearing you is not struggling with whether a cow, or the city of Toledo, is holy or not, you're alright. I hope I don't sound overly flippant about this because I don't mean to.

And I don't think I would classify this with taking the Lord's Name in vain. The word holy does not carry with it any inherent power the way the Lord's Name does. The Name of the Lord has weight and effect as a word in itself, the word holy does not.

So, I guess it does boil down to conviction. But you should really only feel convicted if you are in fact using those phrases to cognitively trivialize the idea of holiness, or to ascribe holiness to something unholy. In which case, I think those are the least of your worries.

I would probably compare things like this to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. If you're worried you did, you probably didn't.