I was sitting in a café having breakfast this morning when a gaggle of 20ish to 40ish women came in and sat down at the table behind me. They were talking loud and being a bit obnoxious, but I tried to ignore them and read my book while eating breakfast. Soon, however, it became impossible to concentrate because they were talking over each other, squealing, and generally trying to out talk each other. One phrase kept coming up, over and over and over…. “Oh My G-d.” It was used so often I actually started counting the number of times I heard it. In a 25 minute stretch, it was said 44 times by different females, with different vocal expressions. It was used to convey everything from awe to anger, to agreement, to disappointment. It was, quite frankly, annoying beyond words.
I guess that three word phrase is today’s equivalent of earlier generations catch words such as like, you know, just too…whatever. And it is designed to make whomever utters it sound like some empty headed wannabe (another catch word) who has no idea how to make a cogent remark of exclamation.
However, the reason this constant utterance of Oh my G-d bothers me so much is that it seems, well, offensive to those who are Christians. I was taught that to use the word G-d in casual language, or even more so, as part of a swear word, was highly offensive to the Divine. When one calls His name, one is asking for His attention. We say in in reverence and supplication in prayer, we say it in times of dire need for direction or help, we call upon Him in rejoicing and thanks, but we do not simply use His name as an expletive or common exclamation of surprise or shock.
I always remember the prayer of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane when he calls out in spiritual agony, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, KJV) That is the standard of emotional being that would result in the need to cry out to the Father in such a way. Not just because someone has spoken about a juicy bit of gossip, and everyone responds with equally juicy surprise and avid curiosity for the speaker to tell more.
I recently had an bit of a verbal discussion with a woman who was allowing her children to jump off a retaining wall into a very busy car park. At least I thought she was allowing it. She had her face buried in her phone text messaging. Three other adults asked the children not to jump off the wall because they could get hurt as there was so much traffic. Finally, after the children ignored everyone, I asked where their mother was. They pointed her out. I walked over and told her that her children were in danger of being hit by cars since they kept jumping into traffic, and if she didn’t get off her damned phone, I was going to call the police and let them sort her out. She looked up at me in surprise and said it was none of my business what her children did. I told her it certainly was if I ran over one of them when they ran out in front of me. I calmly started to dial the emergency number, but before I hit send, she screamed, Oh My G-d, what the hell are you doing? I told her, I don’t know what He is doing other than keeping your kids alive, because you are too busy playing on your phone to pay attention to your children. I, however, am trying to get you to be a responsible mother. Then she upped the ante with Oh my F-ing G-d. I responded with the comment that the as far as I knew sex had nothing to do with the conception of Jesus Christ, and the Divine probably wouldn’t have sex with her no matter how much she begged. She threw her hands in the air and stomped off to her car, only remembering to call her children when she was half way there. When I passed her car, she was still texting. And probably using the OMG comment every two seconds. Some times sarcasm is just too intelligent for people to understand.
My point, however, is this. There are many of us who find the causal used of the name of the Divine in common vernacular, to be offensive and rude. Please, just stop and find a better way of expressing yourselves. To me it is just as offensive as being called the N word is to black people. Remember, when you use the word G-d you are asking for the attention of the Father. And if you add the word damn to the first word, you are asking Him to bring damnation down on someone. He probably won’t, but asking him to might bring you more attention that you would care for when you get to the other side. I don’t know about you, but taking on a deity is not my idea of smart.