Profanity: Is It Just Words? Or Is There Something More Going On?

Marijuana is considered by many as a “gateway” drug. Meaning that the prolonged use of marijuana almost always leads to the use of harder more deadly drugs, thus the reason that in most places it is still illegal. 

Profanity, like marijuana is the “gateway” so to speak into a world where there is more violence. This, at least according to a study done by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Despite the theological differences between Christianity and Mormonism, this isn’t about that, nor is it about marijuana so those of you who support its legalization, don’t worry. 

Nope, this post was inspired by a recent journey I took to my sons’ bus stop. It was while waiting for my little blessings to arrive when I overheard a conversation between some of the other parents also waiting to retrieve their little ones that I realized that I am in the minority, at least when it comes to the use of profanity that is. 

The men and women in this group made frequent use of the F word and all of its variations, they also used the Lord’s name in vain as if it’s a normal, everyday occurrence. I suppose that perhaps for them, it is. The part that bothered me was the assumption they made that I, the bystander wouldn’t be bothered by such talk, the fact that you’re reading this should confirm that it does. 

This is not to say that I have never used a bad word, because I have. I’m also not saying that grown men and women shouldn’t have the right to free speech, because free speech is something I support. The point I’m trying to make is that this type of speech is usually indicative of other, more concerning actions and behaviors that infringe on the rights of someone else, most often that someone else is their children. 

But this isn’t really about rights either, it’s about the use of profanity and it’s link to violent behavior. The study I alluded to earlier, nor any other of the hundreds of studies already done can provide a direct link between the use of profanity and violence. There is no rock solid proof that if a child learns the F word today that tomorrow he will go to school and punch a school mate in the face. 

I don’t think we need to prove it though, I think it’s quite obvious. If you don’t agree with me consider this. When I was a kid I loved ninja movies, ever so popular in the 90’s ninja movies made big bucks! Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan and Jet Li became household names, especially in mine. I thought it was so cool how they could take on twenty bad guys and never take a hit! After the movie was over my brothers and I would do what most boys did after watching a suspenseful, action packed movie, we went outside and tried the moves we saw in the movie. Kicking and punching and trying to perfect that roundhouse kick that Chuck Norris was known for. In short, monkey see = monkey do. 

If a child watches an action movie and immediately after goes and tries out what he saw, how would profanity be any different? When I heard bad words as a kid, I also used those bad words and more often than not profanity and action movies went hand in hand. Kicking someone’s butt followed by a string of expletives was cool, at least according to Hollywood movies. 

Back to the group of parents at my son’s bus stop, I couldn’t help but wonder if their vocabulary in front of strangers was the same as it is when they’re around their kids. If anything most people are more comfortable around their kids saying things they wouldn’t say around complete strangers, why would the use of profanity be any different? 

If the Church of Latter Day Saints is correct in their study, and I believe it is, than the probability of violence also being a regular occurrence in the homes of people who have no qualms dropping F bombs like it’s WWII is much greater. 

I should say that not every person who curses like a sailor is a violent person, some have just gotten into the habit of it and never gotten out. Likewise not every child with a potty mouth is going to be a bully. The likelihood though of foul mouthed people to turn into violent people is far greater than those who choose not to use profanity.

Having said that, my aim as a Christian parent is to protect my children from such talk. But when I hear parents at the bus stop going on and on I can’t help but think that their kids are probably going to use the same language, and their kids and my kids obviously go to the same school, some in the same class. Protecting them from bad language becomes much harder when it’s so close to them. It then becomes my responsibility to counter these words with more positive ones and this is where us Christians excel. What we may not realize or think about even, is that as the kids who mimic their foul mouthed parents our kids mimic us! 

It’s almost like a battle is going on that we can’t see, the enemy encourages the use of vulgarity and God encourages the use of good and helpful words. The children of each side are the soldiers who’ve learned from their parents, parents need only to pick a side, and remember not choosing is in effect still making a choice.

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

Ephesians 4:29

Think of it like this, if my language as a Christian is supposed to point people to Jesus, someone much greater than myself. Than the language of someone who doesn’t belong to Jesus will point people to someone much worse than themselves.

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