Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In the News: A Profane Nation

Image I received an email a few days ago, from the Bible Questions website (biblequestions.org). They frequently send out examples of the questions and answers that are archived on the site. The question in this email was, “Why is profanity so common?”

I liked the answer given. First, it was noted that the frequency of public profanity has skyrocketed. One stat given was an 800% increase in frequency over earlier periods. Now, the survey date was not given, and the time frames were not clear, but it is obvious that profanity is heard more and more often in public. It is not only uttered by men, but also now by women and children.

The answer alluded to societal influences such as the entertainment industry, with television being singled out as an especially strong influence upon many. Then, scriptures such as Ephesians 5:4; 4:29, Matthew 15: 20, Colossians 3: 8 and James 3: 10-12 were referenced to show how God’s word clearly condemns profane speech.

The simple answer to the question, “Why is profanity so common”, is that we live in a profane society. The word profane, if defined precisely, contrasts with the term holy. It has reference to that which is secular. However, it carries a negative connotation, referring to that which is unholy, defiled or polluted. If people generally have corrupt minds, then they will think nothing of uttering corrupt and abominable speech. It will be common and expected rather than having the effect of shocking the sensibilities (as in earlier generations).

I came across another example of our profane society, when it was recently reported that the United States military allows the sale of Playboy and Penthouse magazines on Department of Defense properties. There is a federal law in place that prohibits the sale or rental at military exchanges of material in which “the dominant theme … depicts or describes nudity, including sexual or excretory activities or organs in a lascivious way.” However, an assistant secretary of defense, Frederick Vollrath recently indicated that a review board had examined the magazines, and determined that “based on the totality of each magazine’s content, they were not sexually explicit under [the federal law].”

Imagine, as a matter of comparison, Playboy and Penthouse are so “mild” as to no longer be considered sexually explicit by the military. This is not because the magazines have become any less graphic in their depiction of nudity, or their inclusion of sexual content. It is because of how much worse other purveyors of pornography have become. On such a sliding scale, the two magazines are considered by many as respectable reading. This could only happen in a profane nation.

Profanity and nudity are common, on the internet, in movies and now on television. Though formerly limited to “premium channels”, it is now common on virtually every channel. Homosexuality and other forms of promiscuity are portrayed as normal and socially acceptable.

In the face of the profane the Christian should remember Peter’s admonition, “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries” (1 Peter 4:3). The Christian should have no part with the profane. He should not practice profane things, and should seek to limit his exposure to them. Remember, a little leaven corrupts. Instead, consider the words of Paul, in Philippians 4:8-9, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”