Profanity and the Breakdown of Society
Written November 30, 2009
Copyright ©2009-2012 by
Craig S. Stevenson
I have tried all my life to foster a more civil tone in public discussion. I think it is wrong to use profanity, whatever the reason or excuse. Unfortunately, most people don't seem to think that way. Over the years, standards of conduct have slipped markedly. Words and actions that were rare and condemned when I was young are now common and accepted. I have noticed this change most prominently in women. They try so hard to make themselves pretty on the outside. Hair, clothes, makeup, exercise, etc., are all meant to make them appear beautiful on the outside. Then they open their mouths and the most vile forms of obscenity, profanity, and vulgarity come out. It sounds as if they were raised in a bar, a barn, or a brothel. Most of the time they don't even realize how ugly that makes them appear. When will people learn that it is more important to be beautiful on the inside, than it is to be beautiful on the outside? Many of the actors, actresses, and musicians who are admired today for their physical beauty and/or talent have an abundance of ugliness on the inside that manifests itself when they speak. And it isn't just limited to the rich and famous. This problem is epidemic throughout our society.
Take an objective look at modern day television and movies. Listen to the music of today. Listen to the lyrics. Is this the type of society that we want? Where every foul word in the book is used in any and every situation? Where nothing is sacred and off limits? Where setting a good example isn't even considered? Think of the legacy that we all leave behind. Think of what this is doing to our kids and society in general. Is this the best we can do?
I recall when a church located about a block away from where we live was in the process of building an addition to the church. The workers were laying the brick on the wall facing our house, and were placing the bricks to form three black crosses. During this process, I heard one of the workers using profanity. That really is a microcosm of the evil in our society today. Working on a church building, creating three crosses, one of which represents the cross that held Jesus Christ, and using profanity. How disrespectful can you get?
And it gets worse. I normally don't take sales calls. It is a waste of my time and the caller's, since I already have my own banker, broker, and suppliers. So, I asked my wife to just tell these people that I'm not available. Most of the time that works fine, but recently there have been an increasing number of callers who simply will not take "no" for an answer. They get angry at my wife and let out a string of profanity at her for following my instructions. Recently, we had a caller who called my wife every profane name in the book. My wife asked me to take the call because he was so difficult. As soon as I got on the line, he let out a string of profanity and asked me who answered the phone. I told him that she was my wife, and he let out another string of profanity. I have never heard such a string of profanity in my entire life. I told him we were Christians and that we didn't use profanity, and that he should stop. He let out another string of profanity. The guy had no shame at all. He didn't care that he had insulted my wife. He didn't care that he had offended me. He didn't even care that he might have offended God. No morality, no civility, no respect, and no professionalism. Why would I even consider buying anything from someone like that?
Yet people in the media can't seem to figure out why there is such violence in our society or why there is so much disrespect for women. I contend that the increase in general violence and specifically violence against women can be directly traced to the increased use of profanity and the overall lack of civility in our everyday conversations. If we respect others enough to speak to them in a civil manner, even during times of disagreement, we will be much less likely to mistreat them in any other way. That goes for men, women, and children, and I believe it applies to the Christian and non-Christian community.
The Christian community is just as guilty, because we are intellectually lazy. How many times have you heard a supposed Christian take the Lord's name in vain by using euphemisms? In my own experience, it happens a lot. I've heard pastors use these euphemisms! Christians in general don't even know the meaning of the words they use. If they would take the time to look up words like, "gee", "gol", "gosh", "jeez", and many others, they would likely be shocked at what those words really mean. And there are many other words that Christians use daily that are exactly the same as the secular community. (The difference is that many in the secular world know exactly what those words mean.)
If you are a Christian, then act like one. Think about the influence you have on the people around you. Maybe you are a sports star, TV personality, or an actor or actress. You have influence! What do you think would happen if every major sports star and actor would stand up and say, "Profanity isn't cool." "Incivility isn't cool." "Bullying isn't cool."? We would have an entire generation of kids (and hopefully parents), that would have a whole different outlook on life. Instead, we have the same group of people (sports stars, TV personalities, comedians, actors, actresses, etc.) who have contributed mightily to breaking down the very society in which they live.
It certainly isn't easy to resist the influence of the world, but that is exactly what we are supposed to do. Don't just do the easy thing, do the right thing. Using profanity isn't right, it is wrong. Don't do it, and don't let it spread and corrupt our society. A society that doesn't know the difference between right and wrong when it comes to speech won't have much success knowing right from wrong when it comes to anything else, either. The Bible says, "But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips." (Colossians 3:8, NIV) As Christians, have we done these things in our own lives? Are we setting a good example for other Christians and non-Christians? Are we truly making a difference in society?