Isn’t it amazing how quickly we adapt. I was chatting with an eighty eight year old today who after lots of encouragement from family has just put down two years as a computer owner and Skype user. He was telling me how he couldn’t cope now without it. We adapt to our environment, we learn quickly the rules of that environment and we conform.
Lemon, last night said, ” aitch. eeee, double hockey sticks” and it took me a good few seconds to translate into my language. She said ‘hell’. I was more surprised by her spelling it out than by the many times a day I hear the word in Kerry, maybe it’s the rain.
It got me thinking and I used the tardis mind for this so it might go a bit tangentially at times:
Why can’t we say hell?
Is it superstition – like when people jinx or knock on wood or cross themselves or cross their fingers or don’t walk under a ladder or like black cats or don’t like black cats (can never remember)
Does hell exist? Well if heaven exists and by faith I believe that to be true although how it exists I don’t know then it is logical that hell exists too. Again no idea what form except it isn’t going to be a hot place like Lanzarote or a sauna or a steam room or a Bikram yoga room. It isn’t going to be pleasantly warm. I suspect that even a hot flush (and they are quite uncomfortable) do not give us a foretaste of hell. And I don’t have to think of it because I am not going, I have been given that assurance.
Why is hell a swear word? My grandmother used to say heck and sugar. But isn’t the avoidance of the word by substitution the same as saying the word because a thought process has taken place to use the substitute.
I said “bollocks” in church on Sunday. There was no other word I could think of that would convey the desperation I felt at a situation that I was in and totally out of my depth. I don’t normally swear and so logic – I don’t normally swear in church. If I was a person who f’d and blinded outside of church I would continue to do so inside. It’s a building.
I don’t use the words “God”, “Jesus” or “Christ” in any way except reverently and it is surprising to me therefore how many people do use God’s name in a derogatory fashion. The word “Geez” or “Jeez” could come from Gee Whizz but I think it is probably a shortened Jesus.
Is there a difference between swearing and blaspheming? One of my children does swear. He swears and blasphemes all day and all night long. I haven’t stayed up to listen but I suspect he swears in his sleep. We have talked about it for many years and he always has an answer. He has learned that it is unacceptable in certain situations like at school but he swears and blasphemes everywhere else including church.
Hell cannot be a word associated with blaspheming as it is the opposite so it should be the word we are allowed to use when we hurt ourselves, or need to use an expletive. The first time it is mentioned in the Bible is
Deuteronomy 32:22 (KJV)
For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
Interestingly hell is used in the NIV from Matthew onward. The Old Testament translation uses other terms like the realm of the dead.
1 : a place where souls are believed to survive after death
2 : the place or state of punishment for the wicked after death : the home of evil spirits
3 : a place or condition of misery or wickedness
4 : a place or state of great confusion, disorder, or destruction : HAVOC, PANDEMONIUM
5 : something that causes torment; especially : a severe scolding
1 : SKY 1 — usually used in plural
2 often capitalized : the dwelling place of God and of the blessed dead
3 : a place or condition of complete happiness
These are examples from a children’a dictionary, not sure the first definition of hell would be enough to explain it.
Do children even get the concept of hell now that movies and games are so explicit in their violence and torture. As human beings did we know innately that torture would hurt. Are there certain things we have always avoided without being told? Do we only learn from experience?
After thinking about this for some time I am left wondering what other people think. My opinion is I would rather hear someone say hell than O M ….
And then this got me thinking about other people’s concepts of heaven. Like I don’t know and don’t need to know. Some people want to know if their relative will be there, will there be animals, will there be birds, what food, what drink. It is like they are going on a nature ramble with a picnic. A common conversation thread goes something like this:
“If (such and such) is not in heaven I don’t want to go.”
“What will we do all day in heaven?”
I am more shocked by such statements by mature Christians than by all the swearing and blaspheming a child can do. Like (why am I using like to start a sentence?) isn’t it dissing God if we put codecils on what we want in or out of heaven.