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The Green Test For Dropping The F-Bomb


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1 hour ago, Wes B said:

there are lots of years-worth of 5% exceptional stuff to draw from.

 

I'm guessin' that they produced tons of miserable drek back then, too, but we never see any of it; it's forgotten.

...no pressure right?

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According to a friend, arguing requires a lot of thought. Swearing requires none at all.    

I'm sorry but I highly disagree. Kids do learn them at home even when they are small. If you've never heard or read the comments of others especially about political arguments, you've never heard/seen

One great thing about old movies (or old music, or old anything, I guess...)   In any given year, the creative "stuff" produced will contain a lot that's just poorly done, plenty that's medi

4 hours ago, lynnmosher said:

I'm sorry but I highly disagree.

I taught high school for many years. Walking the halls I heard a lot of language coming out of mouths of young people whose parents would be absolutely appalled at what they hear. Yes, many times it does come from, but I would not make that a generalization.

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9 hours ago, quackingpenguin said:

I'm really not offended by profanity.  Blasphemy, a little.  Swearing no.  I often feel like our hyper offence by swearing creates a bit of a worship of sex

 

Sometimes I feel like our reaction to profanity just creates more desire to do it.

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15 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

 

Sometimes I feel like our reaction to profanity just creates more desire to do it.

Yes, both negative and positive reactions can.  Positive reactions enable people to swear in situations where it's not appropriate and negative ones can make a mockery of hurt feelings by being overblown.  If someone takes the offence of someone saying a mild swear to the same level as taking the lord's name in vein than I feel like they're not really acting Christian.  (Exceptions like using the swear to diss the lord excluded of course.)  That's part of why I think that it's important for people to consider why they find swearing offensive.  Because otherwise they end up missing the wood for the trees.

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I feel a bit dumb that I didn’t realize how even “mild” cuss words can really turn people away. Even two or three instances in an entire book are enough to lose you the title of “clean Christian fiction.”

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I appreciate all the discussion about this, it's interesting to see how people feel about it. I wanted to add, and I think this was mentioned briefly, but I don't think the point is to never use swear words in writing. I don't think it's lazy to let your character say it if they are that type of person (though as a sensitive person, I strongly appreciate those who say "they swore" or cut them off before typing the full word. Especially when I read to my husband, since we like to enjoy books together, I won't read those words aloud). But if you're writing an essay for school, as the example showed, saying, "f-ing sky" doesn't really convey what you're trying to say. It's like saying, "he made a face." What kind of face?? So what exactly is wrong with the sky that you're trying to describe? Whereas a character muttering, "f-ing sky" isn't the worst because it conveys how that character feels about the sky, and you can describe it so we know why the character isn't happy.

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8 minutes ago, JosiAtara said:

 if you're writing an essay for school, 

      Things really have changed since I attended high school in the early 1960s.   Are students today actually allowed to use obscenities, profanities, or other offensive words, in their homework assignments?  Whatever grade I was in, those words would have never been allowed.  I can't imagine any of my classmates even thinking of doing so.  Not even the ones who did use dirty words; and that was only when the teacher wasn't around.

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I personally don't use cuss words in my writing. I do my best to glorify God with my writing-not saying I'm anywhere close to perfect-and I don't see how cussing can bring glory to God.

 

If I'm reading a book by a Christian publisher and find a cuss word in it, I normally put the book down because I hold those books to a higher standard. If I'm reading a book by a secular publisher and find a cuss word, I'm not surprised. I expect that kind of language from a secular book.

 

It's kind of like people. I wouldn't raise an eyebrow if a coworker cussed, but if my preacher got up behind the pulpit and started spewing cuss words, I'd be shocked...

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40 minutes ago, William D'Andrea said:

Things really have changed since I attended high school in the early 1960s. 

I was actually thinking about college, but to be honest? I think my high school would have allowed it. My high school seemed to be lenient on a lot of things though, and it's one reason I hated it so much.

 

Edit, my husband did in fact use the f word in an essay. Different high school. Didn't get in trouble. Not that he condones it anymore.

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6 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

Walking the halls I heard a lot of language coming out of mouths of young people whose parents would be absolutely appalled at what they hear. Yes, many times it does come from, but I would not make that a generalization.

 

Oh, yes. Agreed.

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Thinking about it more I have two more points to make.

 

1. I feel like I'm less offended by blasphemy than I should be.  Looking at each kind of swearing this is clearly the worst.  I feel like here in England it's considered like a C list swear.  If I was offended every time I heard a blaspheme I would run out of energy quick.  Running out of energy feels like a sucky reason to not be offended.

 

2. A lot of people who do blaspheme don't know God and sometimes I hear how they describe our god, I have to admit, the god they think our god is sucks.  Like if I thought that that God was a petty control freak who kills people for cheep thrills, I'd be annoyed to.  This doesn't change that they shouldn't.  Like I think that a certain god is a horrible god, but I wouldn't use a certain god as a swear word and not just because people would mistake that for disliking muslims.  (It is possible to hate a certain god and like some muslims and I really don't get why that's so hard to understand.)  It's also that by taking a certain god's name that way, it normalises thinking about him in times of distress.  Then that can easily lead to bad things.  Plus poo makes good compost so it sort of feels like a compliment which would not be my intent.

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But in regards to blaspheming, is it not interesting that the only names that are abused are God and Jesus. You just don't hear people going around using Buddha, Allah or even satan as a curse word.

 

Although, they don't use satan as a swear word because he has invested a lot of time in public relations convincing the world that he doesn't exist 😛

 

But in all seriousness, I think the only reason people use God and Jesus as swear words is because those names carry power and are the only true God, all others are false gods. If the names had no power or personal meaning to other people, there wouldn't be the same effect when using them. 

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When I hear nonbelievers blaspheme, my response is maybe a little offbeat, as usual...

 

It looks so analogous to me to the huge mastiff who's totally unconcerned with the tiny teacup poodle that yaps furiously at it. The poodle actually thinks it matters, and the scene is mostly hilarious to us. Some might say, no, the situation with blasphemers is much different, and I'd partly agree.

 

God is much bigger and more powerful than the mastiff.

 

So, if we lived in an honor/shame society, and God were so weak and powerless that He needed us to defend His honor, them maybe I'd see it differently, but we don't and He ain't. Now, I get it, it would be real nice if nonbelievers acted like believers, but maybe that's expecting too much. (A lot of the time, even believers don't act much like believers. Still looking in a slightly offbeat way, the lost are more consistent in their beliefs than I am in mine. That's maybe a little humbling...)

 

One verse I don't think I've ever heard preached on is 1 Cor 5:12... What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 

 

I'm much more likely to do the opposite. The outsiders are such easy targets, while those inside can easily judge me back. That's no fun. Much easier to quietly deal with the plank in my own eye (which to be honest, is substantial) before helping my brother with his speck of sawdust. No muss, no fuss, everyone gets along.

 

If you're expecting a conclusion here, I don't know if I have one. These are just some confused Sunday morning ramblings...

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3 minutes ago, Wes B said:

God were so weak and powerless that He needed us to defend His honor, them maybe I'd see it differently, but we don't and He ain't.

I agree with your thoughts. I myself have wondered how many un-needed situations, arguments, disagreements or debates develop because of well-meaning believers who feel the need to defend God as if He is incapable of doing it Himself, and most of what I have seen is not done in love.

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9 minutes ago, Amosathar said:

I agree with your thoughts. I myself have wondered how many un-needed situations, arguments, disagreements or debates develop because of well-meaning believers who feel the need to defend God as if He is incapable of doing it Himself, and most of what I have seen is not done in love.

I suspect that if we could really step back and see ourselves, we'd largely see a bunch of squabbling children. Yet I do think 1 Cor 5:12 that I'd quoted does set some boundaries, in setting our concerns inside the church, rather than outside. Outside the church, that's God's territory for dealing with troubles. Our job, I guess, is to be salt and light to them, so they might more easily see God for who He really is.

 

In another offbeat thought, I suppose if we were such intense salt and light that they became believers because of us, then they'd be part of the church, and then we could judge 'em... 

 

But if we were that spiritual, we'd likely have progressed way beyond wanting to judge 'em, and it wouldn't happen.

 

Ahhh the irony...

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In my personal conduct, I always avoid using bad language. Most other Christians I know embrace the same goal. The rest of the world, however, usually doesn't share this sentiment.

 

On 1/8/2021 at 11:11 PM, Johne said:

Within a given manuscript, replace the “f” word with another word, like “green”. I laughed at the simplicity and finally understood why I didn’t like the word beyond its vulgar connotations.

 

This makes me laugh, too, but for a different reason. In reality, and in my experiences, most of the world couldn't care less about using the "green" rule when they talk.

 

On 1/8/2021 at 11:11 PM, Johne said:

Dave's note: The F-bomb is like body odor, if you use the word a lot, you might not notice it, but everyone around you can't help but notice.

 

Again, this is something that makes me chuckle. Maybe in our Christian echo chambers, and in some secular circles this rings true, but the world is unfortunately nose-blind to this. 

 

Back in my college days, I spent a summer working at a warehouse. If I didn't already know all the bad words, I did after that job - and then some. I've encountered plenty of foul language in my professional career since then, and have learned a couple of things:

 

1. Stop expecting people to adhere to a code of personal conduct when they haven't made any commitment to do so. Holding them to my Christian standard is completely unrealistic.

 

2. It's not about me. People aren't dropping F-bombs to get under my skin (unless they are actually trying to insult me). It's usually the way they choose to express themselves. No offense is intended.

 

What I'm leading up to is that while curbing bad language is an easy decision when writing in Christian genres, those of us who write to a secular audience don't always have that easy. If I applied the same code of Christian conduct to my non-Christian characters, and even this "green rule," they will probably come off as inauthentic to many readers. Of course this depends on each specific character, as some will use foul language more freely than others. 

 

As far as the strategy of referencing the use of foul language ("he/she cursed"), that can work great for something like Christian fiction. But in most cases it rings hollow to a secular readership. Besides, if I write that a character "cursed under his breath," didn't I just put a bad word into the mind of the reader? So what then is the difference between that and actually writing the bad word? It seems to me that this is just a way to get around a rule without legally violating it. 

 

In conclusion, I understand and respect those who disagree with me. Plenty Christians have over the years. In fact, some of my harshest critics over my characters uttering bad words have been Christians. I don't mean this to be offensive to my Christian brothers and sisters, but you're not the audience I'm trying to reach.

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Late to the party.

 

I write "hard" science fiction and I'm sure that the language taboos of the present won't carry over to the future. My children still talk about how we taught them that "stupid" was highly offensive. Imagine the words "idiot" and "ignoramus" as endangering one's mortal soul.

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13 hours ago, Accord64 said:

I don't mean this to be offensive to my Christian brothers and sisters, but you're not the audience I'm trying to reach.

oh no I get that! I'm not, either. I mean, I talk about God (and they're Christians) but I do use some swears (although I blank them out) so I get it! books sell better when pitched to the general audience then the Christian audience. It's a sad, but true fact

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On 1/10/2021 at 4:13 AM, quackingpenguin said:

 Like I think that a certain god is a horrible god, but I wouldn't use a certain god as a swear word and not just because people would mistake that for disliking muslims.  (It is possible to hate a certain god and like some muslims and I really don't get why that's so hard to understand.)  

 

@quackingpenguin, could you clarify what you meant here?

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@ZeeI would rather not.  Mostly because I feel like I'm not speaking from a place of that much knowledge.  My knowledge is that there are plenty of nice muslims out there.  How am I to judge a god when people will quote sources that have no English translation?  How can I judge a god that has so many political sides in the presentation of distorting the view and encouraging people to make stuff up about?  I could learn Arabic yes, but it seems like a bit much for a faith that I'm only passably interested in.  My ignorant view has shown me reason to dislike this god.  However, I won't sit here and pretend that even if every negative thing that I've heard about Islam and it's god is true (which I do doubt tbh since some of the negatives are insanely negative), that that means that all muslims are evil.  The muslims who are decent are too decent for me to give them anything but respect.  Sure if some of the worst things are true, then they are good despite being muslim, but that doesn't undo that they are kind people.

My only reason for bringing anything to do with this up in the first place was better expressed by others pointing out that it's only the Christian gods who get brought up as swear words.  Now part of that is that religions like Shintoism and Hinduism have different ideas about their gods, but still, it is notable.

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I was panic typing because I really don't want to come off as an Islamophobe so I made a typo.  Honestly I was in the middle of editing that out of fear of not explaining the Hindu and Shinto point.  Like Shinto comes from Japan that's mostly atheist and the religion was more about finding spirituality in all things.  In Hinduism, there just isn't the same resentment towards 'shoving faith down people's throats' because it's nature is to say that other faiths are fine and being a lot about having a happy community.

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