Swearing and Religion


According to the Researchers from the school of psychology at Britain's Keele University, cursing could possibly help people deal with pain. The study had volunteers immerse their hand in a tub of ice water for as long as they could stand while both refraining from swearing and while repeating the curse word of their choice. The results of the study found that when people cursed, they could handle the ice water for an average of 40 seconds longer. What, you may ask, does this have to do with religion?

Online and in person, I have repeatedly been told by religious people that my use of curse words is offensive to them because of their religion. What specifically does the bible have to say about cursing? This is what I could find:

Matthew 15:17-20: "Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man."
I have heard a myriad of complaints from christians in particular regarding swearing, all of which amount to the position that swearing is a sign of an evil or impure soul.

According to this study, swearing is a means for people to withstand pain and is likely an instictual response.

This, to me, is a perfect example of one of the biggest issues I have with religion: the insistance that human nature and instinct - reactions and emotions which occur inherently and therefore are often impossible to control or produce negative results when controlled - is evil or impure. This seems like a way to make every person born an evil and impure entitiy regardless of their merit and accomplishments and then presents religion as a kind of cure all for these impurities when there is nothing impure about instinct!

Yes, there are some instincts that we no longer require as an evolutionary imperative because of how we have progressed as a society technologically and intellectually, and we have learned as a community to control these instincts for the sake of the community we belong to. I'm not saying screaming 'fuck' in front of a group of pre-schoolers when you stub your toe is acceptable or even uncontrollable. However, I do grow tired of being told as an adult by other adults that I should censor myself because their religion tells them what I'm saying is offensive. I respect people when they ask me to curb the swearing because they personally find it offensive, but that respect is immediately lost when that offense is righteously attributed to a religion - which transforms the request for respect into a demand for me to augment my behavior because they choose to follow a religion. All I have to say to that is: no fucking thanks.