Taking God's Name in Vain

Just out of curiosity, what exactly does this mean? Technically. I’ve usually heard it means saying or thinking any names or titles of God, whether God, Lord, Yahweh, Jesus, etc., in an irreverant way of any kind. Is this accurate or does it mean something more specific, and are your intentions with the word important, like if you’re just saying it as a phrase rather than to actually mean God?

I am taking a hard line on myself and making sure I get rid of such words out of my vocabulary that even hint at taking God’s name in vain, like; ‘gosh’, ‘crikey’, ‘jee’, ‘jees’ and the like.

From the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:


  1. How does one respect the holiness of the Name of God?


One shows respect for the holy Name of God by blessing it, praising it and glorifying it. It is forbidden, therefore, to call on the Name of God to justify a crime. It is also wrong to use the holy Name of God in any improper way as in blasphemy (which by its nature is a grave sin), curses, and unfaithfulness to promises made in the Name of God.

  1. Why is a false oath forbidden?


It is forbidden because one calls upon God who is truth itself to be the witness to a lie.

“Do not swear, whether by the Creator or by any creature, except truthfully, of necessity and with reverence.” (Saint Ignatius of Loyola)

  1. What is perjury?


Perjury is to make a promise under oath with the intention of not keeping it or to violate a promise made under oath. It is a grave sin against God who is always faithful to his promises.

More here: vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P7I.HTM

The Ten Commandments demand of us to imitate God. He dose not desert us, nor break any promises or reject us, nor dishonor us, nor disrespect us, nor kill us, nor be unfaithful to us, nor lie to us, nor steal from us, nor is He jealous of us, nor dose He covet anything of ours.

What it means to take God’s name in vain is to say “I swear to God”. Have you heard of people saying that all the time? Yes, i bet you have and that is what is prohibited and forbiden by the Church.

You should never say “I swear to God”, because you are speaking in front of the Lord and in his face. it is especially wrong to say that phrase when you are lying and puting God into your lies. That is somethin sinful.

So, then, does taking God’s name in vain just mean saying it and any form of it, or even thinking it? Or does it mean making an oath, promise or swear to God or in God’s name?

taking the name of god in vain means what has been said above and also means using it to glorify yourself i.e. “look at all the good things I do in jesus name! look at me look at me!” it is using god’s name to make your self look better in the eyes of the world instead of using it to call the world to llok better in the eyes of god.

It’s self-explanatory. The word vain used in the commandment brings to mind the words futile, superfluous, unnecessary, malicious, slanderous, insulting, etc. It simply means to use God’s name or any word referring to him for no good purpose. You can swear by God or make oaths if you are honest and being truthful to the oath or swear. But, if you’re lying while under oath or swear or intend on breaking a promise explicitly made to God, then it is a most grievous sin. It is important to be mindful also that swearing by God should be reserved only in rare important situations when someone suspects you have wronged them when you didn’t. If you use the name of God while cursing or use it while in the process of committing a sin, it’s also taking God’s name in vain. Examples would be saying damn or the f word, etc. after saying God, or while in the process of some evil lustful act one moans “Oh my God,” or you use God’s name while in the process of slandering or maliciously insulting someone. **Etc. **
Now, it is important also not to go to the extreme of some Jews and fundamentalists who blur out the word God every time they write about him or some others who condemn using “God bless you” when someone sneezes or the invocation “Oh my God” when in shock about some bad event or in distress. Saying “God bless you” when someone sneezes is intended to wish that God heal them of a possible flue, severe cold, or severe allergy, and saying “Oh my God” can be used as a consoling prayer whenever life throws curve balls at us or even provides good joyous gifts. The intention of using God’s name is very important when evaluating the morality of it. If one intends evil or irreverence, then it is obviously wrong. It can either be a venial or grave sin depending on how serious and whether or not it is intentional with deliberate consent.

Well, I think you answered it completely Roman Army. Thanks for the assistance. :slight_smile:

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