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If a person says in English the word g-ddamn (or G-d damn) does that transgress the sin of cursing God?

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Are you specifically interested in cursing, or also about other ways this could be a sin? (The plain meaning of the phrase seems to be that you're asking God to perform that action, not applying it to God.) –  Monica Cellio Oct 25 '13 at 15:22
    
@MonicaCellio I have seen Christians explain that the word is blasphemy, not taking the "The Lord's" name in vein. From what I can tell various dictionaries seem to indicate that it is just used for emphasis, not necessarily having a meaning of its own. –  please remove my account Oct 25 '13 at 15:52
    
Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/18222/… –  HodofHod Oct 25 '13 at 16:24
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1 Answer

No, it does not.

"Cursing" someone in a Biblical sense means saying "may G-d strike you." Thus a person would only be liable for cursing their parent if they said "may G-d strike you" to their parent.

When someone says "I hit my thumb with this G-ddamn hammer!", an English professor would tell you that means "may G-d damn this hammer because I am mad at it." In effect you are cursing the hammer. It may be a wasted use of G-d's name, but it's not "blasphemy" per se. (Many people today might actually intend "this G-ddamned hammer", i.e. "I assume G-d has already cursed this hammer", which means you're not cursing anything with your statement. Just like calling something "G-dforsaken.")

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 56a) explains that the only form of true "blasphemy", as described in Leviticus 24:15, would then be to curse G-d in a biblical sense, i.e. to say "may Joe strike Joe" (or "may Joe damn Joe", for that matter), substituting "G-d" for Joe. (Which is a bit strange, if someone doesn't believe in G-d, why they're calling on Him to smite anything, but never mind.) Maimonides, Laws of Foreign Worship 2:7 discusses the severity of punishment may depend on exactly which name of G-d is used, but in conclusion:

  • "G-ddamn it", "this G-ddamn hammer", and the like are wasteful uses of G-d's name and should be avoided, but are not "cursing G-d" or "blasphemy."
  • Do not direct a "G-ddamn you" towards any person; especially not towards your parent; and definitely not towards G-d.
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why do you use the term "should be avoided"? Isn't it a transgression of the Second Commandment? –  Menachem Oct 25 '13 at 18:13
    
@Menachem you mean the Third, no? That wasn't the scope of the question, and we'd get into a discussion of how it applies to translated names of G-d. So I left it at just "don't." –  Shalom Oct 25 '13 at 18:23
    
I did mean the third –  Menachem Oct 25 '13 at 20:37
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