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One is not allowed to take God's name in vain, and certainly not allowed to curse the name of God (chas v'shalom). I'd like to understand conceptually why these things are considered such grievous sins. Why is misusing God's name so bad?

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@IsaacMoses, that's the one I was thinking of! Thanks. –  msh210 Jan 4 '13 at 19:30
    
@IsaacMoses the tag wiki on that one limits it to the written form. if you want to edit it I suppose that could be acceptable. –  Double AA Jan 4 '13 at 19:38
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With regard to taking God's name in vain, the Chinuch (Mitzva 30) goes into great detail why it's forbidden, but basically

1) swearing unnecessarily in God's name shows that you have no respect or fear for the Master of the universe (and all the other attributes the Names of God encompass)

2) swearing falsely in God's name is forbidden because God is Emes and by doing that you imply that something related to God can be false chas v'shalom

edit: Hey turns out I have the volume of Artscroll Sefer Hachinuch that covers "blessing" God as well:

Says the Chinuch (Mitzvah 70),

And, among the underlying purposes of the mitzvah, with regard to "blessing" Hashem, because by way of this evil utterance, a person becomes emptied of all goodness, and the very glory of his soul is transformed to destructiveness. Indeed, he is comparable to animals; because with that very thing through which Hashem, blessed is He, distinguished him for goodness, and by which he becomes human, namely, the speech through which he is distinguished from the species of animals, he distinguishes himself for evil! Moreover, he completely removes himself from any framework of intelligence, and becomes comparable to a loathsome and detestable vermin, and lower than that. Therefore, the Torah warns us against such speech; for the Almighty, Who is Good, desires our benefit, and each and every utterance that brings about the withholding of benefit from us comes in conflict with His desire, blessed is He.

Both this and Mitzvah 69 (the prohibition to curse a judge) are derived from Shemos 22:27, אֱלֹהִים לֹא תְקַלֵּל.

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Just to clarify, is your quote directly from Artscroll's English translation? –  Double AA Jan 6 '13 at 1:31
    
@DoubleAA yeah, without the interstitial words they put in to clarify the text, similar to the way the translation is written in their Gemaras. –  Izzy Jan 6 '13 at 1:40
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