On F Bombs and Christian Music: A Reflection on P.O.D.’s Newest Album, Murdered Love

Last week the Christian rap-metal band P.O.D. (Payable on Death) came out with their eighth album, Murdered Love. When I first heard that P.O.D. was releasing a new album I...
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Last week the Christian rap-metal band P.O.D. (Payable on Death) came out with their eighth album, Murdered Love. When I first heard that P.O.D. was releasing a new album I was quite excited. There was a time when P.O.D. was my all-time favorite band. Indeed, they functioned like a doorway for me into the world of metal (which has since become my favorite musical genre). I can remember the first time I was ever introduced to them. It was a Jr. High Summer Camp in Southern California and I saw their CD in the bookstore. I didn’t think too much about them the rest of the camp until a cute girl asked me on the car ride back to Las Vegas what kind of music I listened to. I betrayed my ignorance – and my earnest desire to impress despite my ignorance – when I said that one of my favorite bands was ‘Pod’ (as a one-word name). Of course, after the humiliation I went out and purchased their new album at the time, The Fundamental Elements of SouthtownThese are all good memories. It’s nostalgic really. And if you would have told me back then that eventually a P.O.D. song would include a few ‘F Bombs’ I would never have believed it. Intriguingly, the newest P.O.D. album contains just that: F Bombs.

In the first week since the release of Murdered Love the band has received harsh criticism from its Christian fan base on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. The question is, has P.O.D. crossed the line? Is this a compromise on their part? Can the album still be called ‘Christian’? I want to take a close look at their album and suggest that it is a thoroughly Christian one, and not despite its use of the F bombs, but including them. I will begin with some general remarks, as well as some specific thoughts related to Mumford & Sons’ album, Sigh No Morebefore analyzing P.O.D.’s newest album.

[SIDE-NOTE: I tried to be sensitive in my spelling of words, but of course the subject matter requires a certain straightforwardness in order to be understood. I sincerely hope that if you disagree with the point being made in this post that you at least will not be offended]

Are Swear Words Inherently Sinful?

I think this is a silly question really. Is sin bound to phonetics or intentions? Of course, the issue is not phonetic. It would be absurd to suggest that the F Bomb is sinful because words that begin with a fricative and end with a velar are evil. Well, here’s a made-up nothing word that matches that criteria: “Vug.” Try pronouncing it. It is phonetically very similar to the well-known F Bomb, yet apparently it would not be inappropriate to say! Now, this is an admittedly absurd example, but it helps prove the point. To go further, what of the halfway swear words that have appeared? When someone types “sh*t” on facebook for instance, are they trying to keep themselves from sinning? Has the removal of the “i” rescued one from moral downfall? Or by saying “freakin” instead of the F bomb are we saying anything different? Additionally, what’s the moral weight of saying “A$$” that “butt” does not possess? It’s arbitrary. Completely. Same thing applies to poop=crap=sh*t (it’s the same referent for goodness sake). I’m reminded of something Paul may have said about the letter of the Law here…

The truth of the matter is that swear words are cultural products that have come into existence in multiple contexts and in multiple languages. In fact, this is an evolutionary linguistic phenomenon as certain words become taboo over time (e.g. faggot). For our American readers, it is generally recognized that “crap” is a more sensitive word for refuse than “sh*t,” but in the UK many regard “crap” to be a cuss word. So words can contain cultural stigmas, but not inherent worth. The excessive use of swear words can indicate a certain heart attitude, such as a rebellious spirit, or indicate a dearth of active vocabulary. But these words per se are not sinful. Thus, there is no inherent moral value in swear words, or any other word for that matter. The Apostle Paul warns us to refrain from crude speech (Eph 4.29; 5.4; Col 3.8), which refers to being crass. Additionally the passages speak to belittling others. Berating a fellow brother — you idiot! — is far worse than saying, “I fell on my A$$.”  What truly matters is the heart.

And, one final word, context is everything. If one is in a context where swearing is not permitted and one does so, it is obviously sinful. Additionally, if one is preaching in Church, it is likely not the most appropriate place to use swear words often, especially since issues related to the ‘weaker brother’ from Rom 14 should be taken seriously in an ecclesial setting. So the question now is, is there such a thing as an appropriate use of the F Bomb? 

Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More

Truth be told I was originally planning on writing this post as part of a review for Mumford & Sons’ new album. I’ve been sitting on this post for quite some time actually. But in fact, I noticed today that they just announced the release date, September 24th, for their new album called Babel. The reason why this discussion would be relevant for Mumford & Sons is because their album Sigh No More contains many Christian themes, and yet, their hit-single “Little Lion Man” contains five F Bombs. Now, the band does not self-identify as a Christian band, though many know that the lead singer Marcus Mumford was raised by a Vineyard pastor in the UK. Thus, it is no surprise that the album contains references to God throughout. The most profound lines for me come from the song “Roll Away Your Stone.” I’m not exaggerating when I say that reciting this line out-loud often makes me teary-eyed:

It seems that all my bridges have been burned. But you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works. It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart. But the welcome I receive with the restart.

The line is obviously very powerful. But what are we to make of the song three tracks later that contains five F Bombs? In “Little Lion Man” it is very clear that Marcus is conveying deep remorse for something that he has done. I’m not quite sure what he’s done, but the chorus goes, “But it was not your fault but mine, and it was your heart on the line, I really F***ed it up this time. Didn’t I my dear?” When I listen to this song I can’t help but feel the remorse that is being conveyed. As a piece of Art it has achieved its desired end: empathy. It is rhetorically moving as an expression of remorse. Nothing could be more heartfelt and meaningful then to say it like it is. No sugar-coating. No censoring. Just real and raw remorse. That’s powerful and effective. In my opinion, the use of the F Bomb in “Little Lion Man” is appropriate. But what about P.O.D., especially since they do self-identify as a Christian band?

A Look At P.O.D.’s Murdered Love

There is no doubting the fact that P.O.D. is a Christian band. Their early albums Brown and Snuff the Punk are about as overtly Christian as possible. Perhaps one could say that with mainstream success they tamed their message a bit (of course, one could also say that this was for missional reasons). But the fact remains that Christian themes pervade every album they’ve produced. Recently P.O.D.’s frontman Sonny Sandoval has been heavily involved in the outreach movement known as The Whosoevers (so-called after John 3:16), which aims to reach the average concert-goer with the gospel. Undoubtedly, Sonny and P.O.D. has had an incredible impact for Christ. Intriguingly, since Sonny’s involvement with The Whosoevers it is noticeable how much more overt the Christian imagery is in their newest album, Murdered LoveIn fact, I’d say that it is the most overtly Christian album they’ve produced since signing a major record deal in the late 1990’s.

The album begins with “Eyez,” a visceral opener that is ostensibly about the Rapture (to be honest, this is the part of the album that offends me, but I’ll save that for another time). The song declares that “Death has risen, to meet His Majesty” and refers to the “Millenial Reign” from Rev 20. The second verse contains an amalgamation of 1 Thess 4 and Rev 19-20:

Awake and scream all who sleep in the earth. Hear his voice in the grave, arise and step forth, and make your stand while men run for the hills. Fill the valley with blood and flood the killing fields. Keep laughing now, you’re gonna regret it then. Cuz this day God will judge all the secrets of men.

The second track, “Murdered Love,” which is the title-track, makes several references to the death of Jesus. The pre-chorus declares, “he was numbered with the transgressors” and the refrain of the chorus repeats: “the day that they murdered Love.” The second verse states, referring to Jesus:

Eliminate the infinite, snuff the light and finish the truth. Kill the Immaculate. Condemn beautiful virtue. Assassination of individual redemption. Obliteration of this Undeniable One.

And in the bridge Sonny repeats: “Remember me when you come into your Glory!”

The third and fourth tracks, “Higher” and “Lost in Forever,” contain multiple references to Heaven and the afterlife (in many ways they sound like the same song).

The fifth track, “West Coast Rock Steady,” is lame and hardly deserves commenting (lyrically all it amounts to is: Hey, we’re from California). Similarly, the ninth song, “Bad Boy,” feels woefully out of place; essentially Sonny, the self-identified ‘bad boy,’ sings about how he wants a ‘good girl.’ Good grief.

The sixth track, rightfully titled “Beautiful,” is an ode to life directed towards the suicidal among their fans. It’s function is quite similar to the hit “Youth of the Nation.” It is a very positive song that I hope will reach many.

The seventh, eighth and tenth tracks, “Babylon the Murderer,” “On Fire,” and “Panic and Run,” are about the destruction of false idols and the ungodly system called, “Babylon.” In P.O.D.’s parlance, this is a de-politicized entity and in that regard unlike the biblical references in Revelation, yet it retains a certain biblical flavor.

The final track, “I Am,” is the one that has caused all the stink. Now, up until this track the album has been full of Christian imagery. Yet intriguingly, the most overtly Christian song in the album is the same one that contains the F Bombs. The song explores the gracious gift of Jesus in light of the depravity of man. Sonny sings in first-person perspective, but refers to all of humanity; he sings biblically as one in solidarity with Adam (cf. Rom 5.12-21). As an example, the verses include lines such as this from the opening line: “I am the Murderer, the Pervert, Sick to the Core. I am the Unclean, Dope Fiend, I am the Whore.” This leads directly into the Chorus. Here is it in full:

Are you the One that’s come to set me free? Cause if you knew who I am, would you really want to die for me? They say you are the cursed man, the one who hangs from this tree. I know this is the one and only Son of God, but tell me who the F*** is he?! So tell me!

Here Sonny is asking the right question in a rhetorically powerful and admittedly provocative way.  His response to our just God’s gracious gift is not cliché or trite.  Instead of asking, “How Could A Just God Do This?” he essentially asks a holy WTF.  He isn’t being crass and he isn’t calling anyone names.  He is expressing his deep amazement at the gift of God.  This question, “Who the F*** is he?,” is made rhetorically necessary by the dark imagery of depravity that fills the song.  The F Bomb is not out of place (just as we’d expect it in a Gangster movie it should be no surprise here).  Humanity is described as so wicked and depraved that there is no other response.  Why would God die for him?!  Again the “he” in the F Bomb line refers to humanity, as Sonny makes explicit in the penultimate line of the song: “This is Me, We are Him, and I am You.”  And beautifully Sonny ends the song with “Old things have passed away and all things become new!”

Conclusion

To conclude briefly, I believe that P.O.D.’s album Murdered Love is still a Christian album.  In fact, “I Am” is undoubtedly the best track on the album in my opinion and it ministers to me greatly when I reflect upon it.  You might say, Well why magnify Christ with such bad language?  Again I would direct you to my discussion above about swear words, but I’d also note the way that Paul chose to contrast his “righteousness” according to the law with what he had in Christ.  He referred to all he had gained as σκύβαλα (skubala; Phil 3.8), which was a profane term for refuse in Paul’s day.  Paul understood something of the rhetorical necessity regarding the use of swear words to contrast himself with the riches of Christ.  I say P.O.D. learned this lesson well.

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Christian Culture
John Anthony Dunne

John is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of St Andrews working under Prof. NT Wright.
69 Comments on this post.

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  • Jon Baker
    17 July 2012 at 4:44 am

    Your experience with ‘Pod’ and eventually metal sounds very similar to my own. :) Nostalgia included, this article was spot on–especially your analysis of the raw, rhetorical effect of vulgar language. I come from a similar conservative background in which willingness to swear was a breach of faith. Healthy as it may have been in childhood, it seems that life experience (especially international ones) inevitably requires a more dynamic context for such language, whether you use it or not.

    I also enjoyed your careful spelling and creative categorization (i.e. ‘a holy WTF’). However, you should know that ‘vug’ is not a “made-up nothing word”, and I’ve used it several times in papers at school!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vug

    Take care, John, and thanks for the update on P.O.D.

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  • John Anthony Dunne
    John Anthony Dunne
    17 July 2012 at 6:48 am

    Thanks for this comment! And I had no idea that Vug had some meaning in geological contexts! I think my point was made tho, yea?

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    • Jon Baker
      17 July 2012 at 7:19 am

      Oh yes, you made it well. And now I have a strange piece of trivia regarding the linguistic connection between ‘vug’ and…that other word. :)

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  • Raymond Morehouse
    Raymond Morehouse
    17 July 2012 at 7:29 am

    I really like this article, and I agree with nearly every point you make. However, I find that I am still a bit uneasy about the discussion.

    First, though, full disclosure: I use “swear” words pretty regularly. I don’t want to come across as hypocritical.

    I think my basic discomfort is that while most “swear” words have pretty innocuous meanings (human feces features heavily as a referent) but the “F-word”‘s basic meaning refers sexual intercourse, with the connotation of sexual immorality, even sexual violence (when someone says “F— you!” it doesn’t mean something like “I hope you enjoy monogamous, heterosexual congress with your marital partner!”). Like, all “swear” words I know that the f-word can now be intended to mean just about anything, saying WTF or “I don’t give a f—” really doesn’t intend to communicate the original meaning.

    But I would argue that the meaning of a word is not only in intention but in its wider usage within the culture, and the “F-word” is still used quite heavily in our culture in a very unwholesome way.

    This gets to the heart of Ephesians 4.29. You rightly point out that the problem is not the word itself, as in the phonetic components or arrangement of letters, but rather that meaning. Further, the intention behind the speech is crucial as well. (“Well, bless her heart.” could be just as bitter and angry as “F— you.”) I would add to this that the usage in the culture/context is also very important because Paul doesn’t just prohibit unwholesome speech, but actually limits speech positively to what will impart grace. This means that even if our intention is wholesome we still err if we speak in such a way that doesn’t impart grace or edification. I think my uneasiness stems from the worry that arguments like yours are often misused as a carte-blanche for “F-word” laced language as long as the intended meaning is harmless, when in fact we ought to be constrained just as much by how our words are heard, not just what we meant to say.

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    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      17 July 2012 at 7:39 am

      Raymond, thanks so much for commenting here. I appreciate your concerns. I do hope that my post isn’t misused. I’m not advocating the use of swear words for regular speech. I mentioned that this conveys a rebellious spirit and ignorance more often than not. But it seems like your main concern is this line: “Paul doesn’t just prohibit unwholesome speech, but actually limits speech positively to what will impart grace. This means that even if our intention is wholesome we still err if we speak in such a way that doesn’t impart grace or edification.” In response I’d simply say that this is why context is crucial. First, who are you talking to? And Second, what is the subject matter? With these two points in mind I believe one can “impart grace” by using the F Word. For instance, I mentioned that the song “I Am” on P.O.D.’s new album ministers to me as I reflect upon it. So I understand where you’re coming from and share your concerns. My only aim in this post was to suggest that there can be such a thing as an appropriate use of the F-word (unrelated to etymological heritage) and wasn’t too interested in feeling out the boundaries of what’s appropriate.

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      • Raymond Morehouse
        Raymond Morehouse
        17 July 2012 at 10:10 am

        Right on!

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  • Jacob Dunne
    17 July 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I hope everyone takes the time to read this because this is a profound and meaningful article on the views of the cussing stigma. As you know, I grew up in a Christian home and school where cussing out loud leads to suspension or being grounded (I have been penalized with both). Yes, when I did cuss it wasn’t intended for anyone, but because I said it, I was punished. It’s interesting to read a scholar’s view about cussing- a view that I have never heard the other side of the argument for until now.

    There’s something powerful about using the F bomb to describe a powerful mistake, and I very much enjoyed reading your thoughts on the Mumford & Sons album, because I feel the same way (and I also choke up during the song “Roll Away Your Stone”). Not to get off topic, but in their song, “The Cave” there’s a powerful lyric that always chokes me up and motivates me, “And I’ll find strength in pain, and I will change my ways. I’ll know my name as it’s called again.”

    I haven’t listened to P.O.D.’s new album, but this article make me want to listen to it because it sounds like they use real, and powerful lyrics (just like their previous albums did). I have heard nothing but good reviews about it so I will definitely look it up.

    Great insight and honesty, John!

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    • Jacob Dunne
      17 July 2012 at 1:10 pm

      Think of how many people this song could actually speak to, which are the lost and unsaved. If this song saves at least one soul that was destined for Hell, than it is worth the small amount of profanity in the song.

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      • John Anthony Dunne
        John Anthony Dunne
        17 July 2012 at 2:32 pm

        Thanks Jacob!! : )

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  • Taylor Heinsch
    17 July 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Loved it, John! Too many Christians do not take time to study or think through issues such as these. Immediately they hear the F word and quickly revert to their (often legalistic) upbringing and think swear words=sin. I’m thinking the next post should be a review on “The Dark Knight Rises.”

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    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      17 July 2012 at 3:48 pm

      Thanks for your comment man!

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  • Joseph Farrar
    17 July 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Words, are just words. As you pointed out however they come with cultural meanings. I feel as a Christian whether it’s at home or abroad the need to be sensitive to these things.

    The sad thing is that anyone who has disagreed or tried to present a point of view regarding this against it has been labeled as a perfect Christian or a self righteous one.

    Sonny himself in an interview said that everyone online complaining needs to “Wake the eff up”.

    Your article is by far the most thorough review of their new album. The conclusion you reach isn’t regarding “is cussing ok”, it’s was the use of this culturally profane word acceptable. I don’t know if I can answer that. I do know that while Paul utilized a word that easily could be a culturally profane word back then, Jesus (while we don’t have every word) didn’t need to use culturally profane words to get across emotion or the point.

    I think if I ask myself, does Jesus need me to add the F word into my song to reach more people? I don’t believe so. It wouldn’t be as powerful apparently to say “I really screwed/messed it up this time.” That’s probably just cultural though. Just like in every instance of the word, it’s not necessary.

    Just because it’s not necessary, does it make it wrong or a sin? I think it would require more study on my part, but personally if what I do causes a brother to stumble I need to consider my actions. I don’t have a problem with beer, but if I know my brother does then I don’t want to hinder him. My friend who sings in a hardcore band, used to be unsaved and then got saved. He struggled with cussing quite a bit. This son upset him, as a new Christian because he struggles with cussing. This song isn’t for him P.O.D. says, it’s for the unsaved. I dunno it doesn’t seem that clear cut for me.

    Last thought. The “Who the F**K is he” actually isn’t regarding Jesus at all. Sonny said it’s asking who are all these people between you (Jesus) and me. Why wouldn’t it have then said “Who the F**K are they” instead?

    No one unless they hear his interview understands this by listening. They think it’s a rhetorical question regarding who Jesus is, but it’s not according to Sonny. Hence why the “he” isn’t capitalized.

    Again, well written article and good conclusion. I just don’t think it’s as clear cut due to the cultural and stumbling issue.

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    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      17 July 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Hey thanks for commenting. Several thoughts:

      1) Your comment in the fourth paragraph about Jesus merely side-steps the issue. The fact is that Paul DID use foul speech and it’s in the Bible. This can’t be side-stepped by appealing to Jesus.

      2) The fifth paragraph about whether Jesus needs it is besides the point. He doesn’t need anything! He is more than capable of using anyone however he pleases. The question is: CAN he use this song? The answer is a resounding yes in my opinion.

      3) Your point about ‘struggling with sin’ is interesting. The ‘struggle’ is cultural. I tried to demonstrate that cuss words are not sinful inherently. Additionally, I did note that one should be careful with cussing and made a reference to the weaker brother of Romans 14 above.

      4) In your comment on the identity of the “he” in the “Who the F*** is he” line suggests that you misread me. Here are my words from the post: “Again the “he” in the F Bomb line refers to humanity, as Sonny makes explicit in the penultimate line of the song: ‘This is Me, We are Him, and I am You.'” So I never said that the he refers to Jesus.

      I hope this clears up some things. The issue is completely cultural. Is it appropriate to use the F Bomb the way that Sonny did? The answer must be yes. In fact, it’s the most appropriate context in which to use it.

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      • Joseph Farrar
        17 July 2012 at 3:36 pm

        Ah you’re right I did miss that line where you spelled out it’s use.

        Appropriate is subjective in my opinion. I think it’s odd to say that using the F word isn’t sugar coating. Will the song be used by God? Absolutely it will. Is the F word necessary? I’d have to say no, because it’s a choice. In my opinion, adding the F word in a context that doesn’t belittle or demean anyone but at the same time doesn’t make the song better.

        This is a label issue not related to the band, but it’s stupid for the label to make a record for Christian stores with the song removed from the album, and then have it on the album for regular retail stores. The label is playing the market.

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        • John Anthony Dunne
          John Anthony Dunne
          17 July 2012 at 3:39 pm

          Hmm, I’m not familiar with what the label has done in making two versions of the album. I was wondering how Christian stores would respond. That’s interesting. Personally I think the album with the F Bombs should be sold in Christian stores! (There are far worse things in Christian bookstores!)

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          • Joseph Farrar
            17 July 2012 at 3:46 pm

            Yeah I haven’t confirmed this for myself but the label apparently distributed different copies based on what Sonny had said in an interview.

            LOL yes, there easily are worse things in Christian bookstores these days.

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  • Dan Howen
    17 July 2012 at 2:24 pm

    From “Who Are You” by The Who (which also says ‘Who the F are you?’)

    There’s a place where I know you walked
    The love falls from the trees
    My heart is like a broken cup
    I only feel right on my knees
    I spill out like a sewer hole
    Yet still receive your kiss
    How can I measure up to anyone new
    After such a love as this

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    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      17 July 2012 at 2:33 pm

      Very interesting. Thanks for this!

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  • Brad
    17 July 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Good thoughts as usual here John. It does seem to be an area where we can be hypocritical (e.g. using “Christian cuss words”) I think this issue falls in line with other areas that have weak/strong brother dynamic. So it seems the context, audience, and intent all need to be understood. It seems from your analysis of P.O.D.’s latest album that these considerations were met and the language was appropriate. P.O.D.’s audience is most likely not largely offended (except for the knee jerk Christian base) and that word probably communicates most effectively the message they needed to convey.

    I love how you are challenging me brother! Its right on.

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    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      17 July 2012 at 2:34 pm

      Thanks Brad. I appreciate the comments! Have you heard the album? It’s very interesting how it’s been received by long-time fans.

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  • Daniel
    17 July 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Words sometimes are more than culturally contextual phonetic sounds. If this is true, a vital premise of this very interesting piece fails. Words often reflect realities in the external world and may convey attitudes towards those objects. Those attitudes and their relationship to sacred realities–e.g. the institution of marriage in any conjugal union–must be considered for the Christian to conclude that Is the attitude of the F-word toward sacred realities compatible with the greatest two commandments?

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    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      17 July 2012 at 2:35 pm

      Sure, words can have creative capacities but the example you give is sacramental in nature. This ought to be distinguished from other forms of speech don’t you think?

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      • Tanner Gish
        Tanner Gish
        18 July 2012 at 2:20 am

        John- does this mean that you are you arguing, then, for a “sacred/secular” division in the Christian life?

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        • John Anthony Dunne
          John Anthony Dunne
          18 July 2012 at 7:04 am

          No I’m merely saying that the speech-act “I now pronounce you man and wife” is quite different than lyrics in a song. Its not a sacred/secular divide, but its a different action. They do different things.

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          • Steve
            4 September 2014 at 11:11 am

            That’s like saying it’s ok to say, “I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now f your bride.” The context is it isn’t something dirty. It’s consensual sex between a husband and wife. Cursing is not ok under any circumstance.

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  • Andrew Faris
    17 July 2012 at 2:37 pm

    John,

    I mostly think this article is a swing and a miss. A few thoughts:

    1. I’m not sure about your comments about language. I’m no linguist, but it seems to me that you’ve made pretty massive leaps from “the formation of a few sounds are morally neutral” to “they become taboo because of cultural value placements” to “those cultural value placements are pretty arbitrary” to “therefore swearing is really not a big deal.” I guess what stands out to me about the argument is that language is so totally necessarily tied to culture (that is, its very nature is that of a too used for people in particular cultures to communicate) that generating an argument from the isolated phonetics is just silly.

    Maybe more simply I’ll put it like this: of course swear words are taboo, and of course that taboo comes from arbitrary cultural assignments. But that’s exactly the point: culture has called them crass and taboo, and that’s that. Arbitrary or not, they are crass and taboo. And that means something. So “poop” is less taboo than “crap” which is less taboo than “shit”. There is culturally assigned significance there whether we agree or not. Those words convey some level of meaning to the community in and of themselves. As Christians, it does seem fair to me to apply the biblical anti-crass-words passages to such words since they are in fact crass.

    2. I think you need to explore further why it is inappropriate to swear from the pulpit (aside from the weaker brother half-argument you give, on which: come on, John- you’re really the weaker brother if you’re offended by swearing?) but not necessarily inappropriate in the world. Why make that distinction? What about being in a church setting changes your language, and isn’t that itself an argument that as those who are called to walk in holiness in the world, our conduct in church and in the world ought to mostly be the same? Or something like that?

    3. I have a hard time imagining the godliest, most mature-in-Christ people I know swearing at all. Should that say anything to us younger people? That’s a more a side thought than a full argument.

    4. This may be personal preference, but I think that the rhetorical rawness you commend is cheap and lazy lyric-writing. It feels to me like a rhetorical shortcut to saying something strongly because it’s much harder to convey that sort of thing with other poetic devices. “I really f***** it up this time” has always felt like a heartbroken 15 year old’s songwriting to me. Really? There is no better way to say that?

    I suppose I can swallow that not everyone is going to be a Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, or for that matter, Aaron Weiss. And that’s ok with me. But I can’t swallow the idea that this is somehow brilliant lyric-writing.

    As always, my disagreement comes with no disrespect or lack of love for The Two Cities, and you in particular, JD.

    Andrew

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    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      17 July 2012 at 3:01 pm

      A. Joshua Faris,

      1. My example from phonetics was admittedly absurd. I wanted to show how obviously the issue is not phonetic. Additionally, the fact that certain words are taboo arbitrarily is the whole point. I admit in the post that some words have cultural stigmas. There’s no question to that. My point is that it’s one thing to suggest that culture says a word is bad and another to say that words are actually bad inherently. That was my contention. I was attempting to point out that cuss words are not inherently sinful. And I don’t think those Ephesians or Colossians passages apply personally. I think it has more to do with sexual joking and being crude (or belittling someone) rather than specifying that certain words are off-limits. Again, it’s about the heart attitude.

      2. I didn’t want to get into cussing within an ecclesial context as that is quite different (my concern was with art). Mark Driscoll did it often, though now he refrains. Though even Piper has done it before!

      3. As for the elderly Christians, this only shows how culturally proper they are. Again, these words aren’t actually bad! Furthermore, how about Paul and skubala there in Phil 3.8? He’s a pretty godly guy, right?

      4. You’re right about lame song-writing to a degree. Lincoln Park used to never use the F Bomb because they felt it was a cheap way to convey what one is feeling. And this is true to a large degree, especially as most bands use it over and over again. However, P.O.D. has only used it in one song (so far). And I find it to be rhetorically powerful. Plus, I never said Sonny was a lyrical genius! I would never say anything like that! My contention in this post was simply to ask the question: are there appropriate uses of F Bombs and is P.O.D. going too far? That’s it.

      PS Thanks for taking the time to read and critique my post!

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      • Joseph Farrar
        17 July 2012 at 3:43 pm

        Well Piper said crap I think. Cultural again I guess. Driscoll did it for shock value and I think he realizes that now as well was not according to the Word.

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      • Andrew Faris
        17 July 2012 at 5:04 pm

        JD,

        Thanks for the response. And the awesome authorial title you gave me.

        1. The problem is the idea of saying “cuss words are not inherently sinful.” You can’t go from the word “cuss” to a phonetic argument because “cuss” as a descriptor has basically nothing to do with phonetics. It becomes a red herring. A “cuss” word, by its nature, is a word that a culture has deemed explicit/offensive/taboo. My point is that whether or not it is sinful of course has nothing to do with the phonetics and everything to do with the cultural designation. The question then becomes: is there a biblical mandate against culturally offensive words.

        And maybe that’s the heart of it, and in my view, what you perhaps should have gone to first and foremost. It becomes an exegetical question. And there I think you unfairly limit Eph. 4:29. Are swear words good for building up? Do they give grace to those who hear? There is more here than just crude joking (which does seem more clearly in line with what Eph. 5:4, but even there, “filthiness”, “foolish talk”, and “crude joking” all go together, which suggests to me a broad purview). You could make the case that some swearing builds up when used appropriately, as you attempt to here. But I think we disagree on the application in both songs.

        2. Driscoll did it foolishly, in my view (and in his, since he repented of it), and I don’t know the Piper reference, but I’d probably be against it. But I still want to poke at this more: why is it not appropriate for an ecclesial context and possibly appropriate in Christian art (by which I only mean art done by Christians)? Why is that?

        3. But the words are bad! Again, the point isn’t phonetic. The point is cultural. And I was waiting for skubala to come up, and I’ll go with what most say: “skubala” does not appear to have been a taboo word culturally, so it doesn’t work as a biblical counter-example. That might lead to another question: is there any biblical swearing? I don’t think so.

        Thanks for the response to my response!

        Andrew

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        • Carrie Allen
          17 July 2012 at 5:32 pm

          Shockingly, 😉 I mostly agree with Andrew on this one.

          Andrew is so right when he says the most godly, elderly people we look up to wouldn’t cuss. So true.

          And as far as the POD album, I just feel like they are trying to push the culture lines of Christianity saying, “Hey everyone, look, we have freedom in Christ so we are going to put these cuss words in our album.” It seems totally lame to me. You don’t need cuss words to be cool. Think of all the secular artists that don’t need to make a statement with cuss words. I don’t know.. it just seems so lame I want to roll my eyes consistently for like 5 days.

          Take THAT from the “liberal” Carrie Allen!

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          • Andrew Faris
            18 July 2012 at 3:02 am

            A glorious day for me when Carrie agrees!

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          • John Anthony Dunne
            John Anthony Dunne
            18 July 2012 at 7:05 am

            So does this mean that I’m more liberal than “the liberal Carrie Allen”?!?! : O

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          • Carrie Allen
            21 July 2012 at 5:47 am

            Haha! Faris – it is a great day, indeed! And John – quite possibly. 😉

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          • Steve
            4 September 2014 at 11:27 am

            Absolutely. Carrie! Great post! I think scripture clearly states over and over again that this is highly inappropriate. God bless.

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        • John Anthony Dunne
          John Anthony Dunne
          18 July 2012 at 7:35 am

          Andrew, thanks for keeping the conversation going.
          Again I was focusing on one example of an F Word where I thought it was appropriate in its context (I am not advocating habitual cussing!). Additionally, I mentioned that it ministers to me when I reflect upon it. Thus, it satisfies the “imparting of grace” from Eph 5.4 in my mind. Again, about the verses, we’re simply going to have to agree to disagree.

          In regards to art, how much of the powerful art that affects you would you approve of in an ecclesial setting? Would you want a Christian hardcore band to lead worship? Is The Passion appropriate on Sunday morning? Many examples could be proliferated. I can think of powerful art pieces that I’ve seen in museums throughout the world that would not be appropriate for church but nevertheless have powerful resonances with me. Of course, I’m not creating a dichotomy between what one does on Sunday versus the rest of the week. The art can have a distinctly Christian message and still not be best suited for Sunday mornings. Additionally, what do you think about art generally Andrew? Is cussing okay in movies, especially for accuracy? Why not songs, especially in appropriate contexts? Do you not think that there is a broader reach to art than “preaching” entails?

          3. And on skubala… What “most” say? Who are your sources? Are these conservative Christians? Sounds like something that “most” of them would say. Lang in the TDNT writes, “The choice of the vulgar term stresses the force and totality of this renunciation.”

          I hope this clarifies things.

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          • Tanner Gish
            Tanner Gish
            19 July 2012 at 2:46 am

            This might be a bit of a rabbit trail, but I looked at what Lang had to say as well, and I don’t know if that phrase necessarily means that it is tantamount to swearing. Admitting that it’s use in Hellenistic Judaism was very similar to its non-jewish use, it is used by Philo and Josephus, and then Hellenist writers, also in a technical sense, in reference to the “refuse” of a sacrifice. Seeing its range of use in what seems to be a historical/scientific, as well as casual contexts… I don’t know if it’s most accurate to say that Lang intends to say “Vulgar” (words)= cussing. I believe we can think of many situations were vivid, and vulgar, descriptions can be used, but not carry the same connotation as a word similar to the f-bomb. I don’t want to burn you out on commenting, but, if this can continue in the tradition of the council to continue a conversation for mutual exploration and edification…

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          • John Anthony Dunne
            John Anthony Dunne
            19 July 2012 at 4:22 am

            Well I’m not saying that it has F Bomb connotations and Lang does show a semantic range to the word, but the way that Paul uses it is so often translated as “dung” and “rubbish.” So translator’s recognize that he’s referring to bodily refuse. And that would carry the vulgar connotations of the word I think.

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          • Tanner Gish
            Tanner Gish
            22 July 2012 at 5:54 pm

            I would say that translations such as ‘dung’ and ‘rubbish’ might be too “soft” or not as vividly descriptive of the sort of “filthy, cringe inducting” meaning the word can definitely bring within it’s semantic range. So I agree- it is a vivid, weighty word, and agree that it doesn’t have F-Bomb connotations (esp considering the variation in the original referents is one to decaying carcass refuse or fecal matter, and the other to violent sexual abuse), which is why I happen to believe it don’t seem to have much bearing on the particular conversation we’ve been having. It seems sensible to me to utilize picturesque and vivid vocabulary that paints a picture, it’s another to employ profanities.

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    • J Sizzle
      17 September 2012 at 10:03 am

      It’s always wrong to use profanity. Come on! If it’s wrong for children to use it, why would it be okay to use it in a song? Even if you stepped out of the Christian world view totally you’d still have a problem in the professional secular environment.

      Can you imagine buying groceries at Whole Foods, Publix or Walmart and the cashier says to you as she gets a scan error “Oh sh*t, this isn’t ringing up right. The register is fu*ked up. Can you go to the next register?”? You’d be appalled and insulted that they felt free to talk to you in that way right? Of course you would.

      -JSJ

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      • John Anthony Dunne
        John Anthony Dunne
        17 September 2012 at 10:09 am

        You badly missed my point about appropriateness. It’s not always appropriate. That’s obvious. My question is whether or not there can be such a thing as an appropriate use of the F Bomb. What sort of context could legitimate such use? That’s my question. Don’t post silly comments if you aren’t going to take the article’s position seriously.

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        • J Sizzle
          17 September 2012 at 3:58 pm

          It’s never appropriate to use an inappropriate word. I feel ya on the raw expression within the art form, but how far do you push the envelope?

          “…whether or not there can be such a thing as an appropriate use of the F Bomb. What sort of context could legitimate such use?”

          For the Christian it can never be used appropriately, unless a Christian journalist quotes someone, and even then critical lettering is removed to lessen the blow.

          For those who insist that since skubalon usually means excrement and is used in the Bible, therefore, its okay for Christians to use any profane expletive they wish to use, it should be noted that skubalon only occurs in classical Greek literature 211 times. It is most commonly used in Greek medical literature, where it occurs 98 times.

          Had Paul intended a shocking scatological reference in Philippians 3:8, he could have used the Greek words kopros or skyr yet he did not use those words. You can’t use Paul to defend your christian cussing. The point is that there are non-offensive words for excrement including dung (KJV), manure, feces and skubalon.

          Skubalon is a non-offensive Greek word, not a profane word used for shock value. Our conclusion is that the Apostle Paul did not engage in christian cussing in Philippians 3:8.

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          • John Anthony Dunne
            John Anthony Dunne
            18 September 2012 at 6:45 am

            How can you say this: “For the Christian it can never be used appropriately, unless a Christian journalist quotes someone, and even then critical lettering is removed to lessen the blow.” Where is the biblical basis for this? You’re simply conceding to cultural norms and haven’t actually addressed whether certain words are inherently wrong or if they carry certain values within certain contexts (like every other word).

            As for your excursus on skubalon you are simply making excuses and going around the point. For instance, you create a ridiculous straw man when you say: “For those who insist that since skubalon usually means excrement and is used in the Bible, therefore, its okay for Christians to use any profane expletive they wish to use…” This is not my position and you know it. You have badly misrepresented me in order to make your position sound more appealing. To get back to skubalon, the problem is that the Greek word is profane. And regardless of this instance, you still have to reckon with my question in the paragraph above.

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    • Steve
      4 September 2014 at 11:13 am

      You are spot on Andrew. It seems we are in the minority.

      “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (‭Matthew‬ ‭7‬:‭13-14‬ NIV)

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  • Kevin
    17 July 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Thanks for bringing this up (especially because I didn’t know there was a new album out!) I am still more scandalized by their use of the N-word on Brown, but that’s for another post :)

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  • Andrew Cowan
    17 July 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Any thoughts on Wayne Grudem’s argument that Christians ought to avoid “cuss/swear/dirty words” because they are seen as “unclean” (thus the label “dirty words”)? He basically suggests that certain words are recognized as offensive/unclean in our broader culture, and using them is like refusing to shower or wear deodorant: it gives off an offensive odor. He also expresses doubts about the Phil 3:8/skybalon argument. See http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/wayne-grudem-on-offensive-language

    Whether you buy his argument or not, what does it mean that our culture refuses to let children watch movies with certain words in them and punish children at school for using those words? I agree that you can say something just as wrong without using a “forbidden word,” but our culture generally does not treat them as “just another word” like your post seems to imply. This is not to say that there is no appropriate time for “strong language,” but I don’t think you can argue that the words are simply morally neutral given how they are still treated in our largely post-Christian culture.

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    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      17 July 2012 at 4:35 pm

      Thanks for your comments John. I wasn’t familiar with Grudem’s comments so thanks for the link. As for the way culture still prohibits certain words, it is fascinating to me. There definitely are cultural stigmas, and these are very real and should be taken seriously, but I just want to make it clear that they are indeed cultural.

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  • Kevin O'Farrell
    Kevin
    17 July 2012 at 10:40 pm

    John,

    Do you think language (specifically individual words) is morally neutral ground, if its usage occurs in a permitting context?

    That is a loaded question and can be taken in a number of ways. So lets say you are at a California high school where a certain group of students think f*ck is a helpful synonym for intercourse, is it a morally neutral word in that context, since the unanimous opinion of that ‘culture’ is that the word is not taboo?

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    • Kevin O'Farrell
      Kevin OFarrell
      17 July 2012 at 10:42 pm

      John,

      Do you think language (specifically individual words) is morally neutral ground, if its usage occurs in a permitting context?

      That is a loaded question and can be taken in a number of ways. So lets say you are at a California high school where a certain group of students think f*ck is a helpful synonym for intercourse, is it a morally neutral word in that context, since the unanimous opinion of that ‘culture’ is that the word is not taboo?

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      • Tanner Gish
        Tanner Gish
        18 July 2012 at 2:52 am

        Kevin Ofarrell and Kevin, 😉

        Perhaps your example is a little more “difficult” to respond to (which is what I believe you’re getting at), if this sub-culture uses it as a helpful term for “messing up” or for expressing dismay. My understanding is that even if it’s common vernacular for intercourse, even in high school, there is a more demeaning, “using you for your body,” or even violent connotation, when referred to intercourse. Would you agree (I’ll admit you are closer to the cultural beat here).

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    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      18 July 2012 at 7:10 am

      Kevin, I think words are neutral and only carry cultural stigmas. To your example, the semantic range of the F Word is obviously very wide. Certain sub-cultures no doubt have no problem using the word frequently. However, I’m not advocating its usage on a frequent or even semi-frequent basis. I think one sounds totally ignorant if F Words find their way into every other sentence. As I said, it displays a lack of active vocabulary. Additionally, as I mentioned, cussing can display a rebellious spirit. If their parents or their teachers/administration has asked them not to cuss then they are being disobedient. It’s that simple. In the example you provided they are quite clearly being crass with their use of the F Word and so they are obviously violating Eph 4.29 and other passages.

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  • Tanner Gish
    Tanner Gish
    18 July 2012 at 2:49 am

    John Anthony Dunne (I still don’t know why you didn’t opt for any initials, or the use of Pepper, in your authorial title. But, maybe like your Doktorvater, you will change your publishing name throughout your career),

    I’m really looking for what seems to be a full address to Andrew’s challenge around this question one learns the first day in his or her biblical language class “words are not defined by their etymology or their definitions: they’re defined by how their used.”

    That being said, Kevin and Kevin Ofarrel’s question becomes interesting (is it then ok for vernacular use when engaging in a profane subculture?), and thus I see why you devote so much time to your “these words aren’t inherently sinful” argument, but as you admit, the phonetics of a word have NOTHING to do not with it’s morality, nor it’s meaning(since no one disagrees that the assembling of certain letters is evil, we can probably cut that out of any rebuttal response).

    So, if meaning is defined by use (and that within a culture), then the choice to use a taboo word will then bring with it the vulgarity and crassness that culture has assigned to it. And you’re right, John- it is about the heart: why splatter this crassness into one’s communication? “It’s not what goes into a man that makes him unclean, but what comes out of him” (Mark 7). And again- I don’t at all mean the sounds he makes- but the message he is intending to communicate, and the degree to which love, sensitivity, being “others focused,” and pursuing things that are pure and lovely (Phil 4:8).

    Thus, I think this is the question on Andrew and other’s mind… as well as why it would be appropriate in some contexts, but not in “sacramental” or liturgical ones?

    Looking forward to the reply…

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    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      18 July 2012 at 7:17 am

      Hey Tanner, thanks for the comments. I kind of already responded to some of these suggestions with my response to Kevin above and my second response to Daniel. Again, my aim in this post was not to advocate cussing as part of one’s lifestyle. I simply wanted to look at ONE example and ask, is this an appropriate use of the word? That’s it. My contention is that it is and that’s it’s rhetorically justified by the CONTEXT.

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      • Tanner Gish
        Tanner Gish
        19 July 2012 at 2:48 am

        Thanks, I see you replied to the others above after I posted, and was able to read your thoughts there. I guess my concern, or better hope (perhaps its simplistic and naive) that we could arrive at a more absolute rule regarding the permissability of the f-bomb and cussing, rather than a subjective one (“it ministers to me” seems to leave the answer in the realm of relativity more than the realm of the objective).
        GREAT post and discussion!

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        • John Anthony Dunne
          John Anthony Dunne
          19 July 2012 at 4:19 am

          Hey Tanner, thanks for commenting again. As far as the subjective issue goes I think Paul is quite happy to keep things subjective! There’s quite a bit of freedom in our new covenant context and the main rules seem to be about one’s own conscience and the conscience of others. There is an objective realm to morality and ethics are certain issues and that is clear. But I’d say cultural cuss words aren’t those things.

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  • Jason
    18 July 2012 at 3:03 am

    This article seems to neglect the fact that cuss words while having the same denotation as the words they replace have the added effect of causing offense (to some people, if it wasn’t we wouldn’t call them cuss words or be having a discussion). It seems like the presumption should be to not offend unnecessarily, and therefore the presumption should be to not use cuss words if other words would be equally effective.

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    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      18 July 2012 at 7:13 am

      Agreed. We should aim not to offend. My contention was simply that there CAN be such a thing as an appropriate use of the F Bomb. I offered ONE example from P.O.D.’s album. I’m not advocating cussing.

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  • Andrew Kelley
    Andrew Kelley
    18 July 2012 at 9:56 pm

    For me, the most surprising thing about this new album is that P.O.D. is still a band. DC Talk anybody?

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    • Tanner Gish
      Tanner Gish
      19 July 2012 at 2:23 am

      A decade ahead of their time. Are you down with the DC talk?

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    • John Anthony Dunne
      John Anthony Dunne
      19 July 2012 at 4:20 am

      Ha yea it is surprising!

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  • Marcus Kent
    22 July 2012 at 7:08 pm

    One important aspect of the language debate is that it isn’t really about “language” at all. Some of the above comments that I read were debating the propriety of strong language usage – mostly from within the Christian culture.

    In the larger arena of public evolution, strong language has always run side by side with cutting edge experiments in new ways of thinking and doing, viz-a-viz Rock music of the 60s and since; as well as other art forms. In this context, and perhaps in the Christian also, it is an in-your-face cry that “my thinking has been liberated from the constrictions of the old religious and authoritarian mindset and lifestyle: and sex is beautiful and all words are up-for-grabs.” Something along these lines. While this MO tends toward moral and social anarchy, it seems to be an inevitable upwelling from within the soul of the frustrated and yearning social, and spiritual, meta-heart.

    Furthermore, the very fact that it offends little old ladies and Sunday School prudes – proper “anythings,” in fact – is precisely the intent. Rough language has always been associated with the assertion of free-wheeling manhood, and a sign that the swearee is NOT religious, moralistic or tied to his church’s apron strings. Perhaps the rise of militant feminism has also contributed to the rise of hard-language male protestations – and love of the UFC.Ha (I love it! blood and all – guess my roughneck phase is not quite over!)

    I think the same dynamic may be in effect in the Christian metal genre as well. It resonates with all of the emergent, anti-traditional, experimental forms of contemporary life-expression. The old is effete and on the verge of death. Something new and “virile” must replace the tired maudlin sentimentality of throwback Christian expression and music (BBN). Radical action requires radical language.

    While all of the above is highly debatable and worthy of hard scrutiny, it may help to clarify the current melt-down of churchianity and the implications thereof.

    Although, since my liberation from “traditionalism,” I probably curse way too much for my own good, I found it a ready-to-use tool in distancing myself from the useless and banal religious fantasyland I had plodded through many a lame year (as a Reformed pastor).

    Although I now see that my roughness and “rebel” ways were a transitional tool, it enabled me to find expression for my fierce and “violent” search for a brave new Church and world. Even now I listen to metal when working out, and will definitely pick up P.O.D.stuff ASAP to add to my ipod. Marvelously strange this juncture in human history, but damn exciting!

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  • Kyle
    22 July 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Hey Guys,

    I think that the problem here is not so much one of cultural attitudes toward curse words, but more about our call to be blameless before the world in our attitudes and actions:

    Philippians 2:14-15  Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

    Maybe not everyone was offended by their use of language, but I guarantee that with an audience as large and diverse as the one that they have they have put a blemish on their testimony. I’m not someone who easily takes offence to f-bombs (I hear them hundreds of times a week where I work) but I know for a fact that people notice when I don’t use it and are watching for me to mess up. Not swearing has given me many opportunities to share the gospel, whereas cursing even once would blemish my reputation and that opportunity to be a light to the world would be gone.

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  • francisco
    23 July 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Not surprised by your comments…use whatever language you want but it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish between the holy and the profane. Maybe that’s the point…maybe we can get as close as we can to the profane that no one will know.

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  • Joshua Castleman
    9 August 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Johnny Pepper,

    Thanks for tackling such a controversial topic. This has been something that I have thought a lot about, as being someone who grew up in a strongly conservative household, and as someone who doesn’t really swear myself. But I have plenty of friends who do swear, including good, strong Christians. I really enjoyed reading your arguments along with many of the following comments. Someone had posted an article that was a copy of a letter that Wayne Grudem had written to John Piper. I know that your argument was more to do with art and lyrics as opposed to vocabulary in general, but I’d have to say that what Grudem says seems to really hit the nail on the head for me.

    As someone had mentioned earlier, there are some people in our lives (such as some grandparents or other role models) that it would seem impossible to imagine them swearing. I think, along with that image being impossible, it would also be really sad and somewhat shattering, disillusioning. (Personally, to hear that POD have put some f-bombs in their lyrics make me a little sad in knowing that I will not be able to fully sing along with that song, and I will admit I suffered a little of that shattering disillusionment. Just like I do whenever I hear some other Christian band member or artist swear in an interview, or turn out to be much more ‘worldly’ than I would have liked. But that’s another can of worms.)

    Having said all that, it is hard to disagree that sometimes strong language really hits the mark, when used properly (i.e. conservatively). I also think it is true that a good vocabulary can get by without needing to ‘resort’ to such words, making this all something of a moot point.

    On a side note, I wonder what biblical characters talked like in life. I found myself wondering if David ever swore, being the man of passion and action that he was, and finding himself in plenty of situations where I wouldn’t hold it against him if he dropped an f-bomb. (Although I find myself thinking that I would admire him all the more if he didn’t, especially in those situations. Now what does that say about swearing? Hmm.)

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  • Mumford Review: Babel | The Two Cities
    2 October 2012 at 8:17 am

    […] On F Bombs and Christian Music: A Reflection on P.O.D.’s Newest Album, Murdered Love […]

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  • Happy New Year! | The Two Cities
    1 January 2013 at 2:56 pm

    […] I wrote that received the most hits was on P.O.D.’s newest album, Murdered Love (see “On F Bombs and Christian Music“). No doubt the interest in this post was due to the subject matter: cursing in […]

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  • Steve
    4 September 2014 at 11:02 am

    With all due respect I am quite shocked at the blog and the comments. You can’t be serious. Cursing in any form is unacceptable. Will you go to hell for cursing or listening to curse words? No, but you shouldn’t knowingly continue to do it. It is not Christ like whatsoever and is absolutely a sin. The bible talks over and over again about words and the tongue. It’s not like it is a murky, debatable subject. It’s not. It’s clear. I’m sure I will get a lot of hate for my post. We are called to go out I to the world but not be of the world. I think this is something that many of the commenters and you want Tao bad for this to be ok because your flesh enjoys it and wants to justify that it is ok. It’s not. Can you really imagine Jesus listening to music with curse words, no matter the intended use? I used to think just like all of you so I totally understand. Hi k if everyone in the world was going around and singing these doings out loud. I could post a lot of scripture to back up my thoughts. I’ll just post two. Try to use scripture and what a Gods Word says when trying to discern. Thanks for letting me share. God bless you all!

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭29-31‬ NIV)

    But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (‭Ephesians‬ ‭5‬:‭3-14‬ NIV)

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  • Steve
    4 September 2014 at 11:51 am
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