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The Blasphemous Nature of “OMG”

If you want to upset a tattooed biker, insult his mother. Use the common colloquialism that informs him that he’s the son of a female dog. Even if you say it with a smile, you’re sure to end up with a rearranged face.

No one likes it when those we love are insulted. And, for the Christian, there are few things more grievous than to hear the world speak evil of God. I’m talking about the wildly popular catchphrase “OMG!” (I don’t even like quoting it.)

Today, there are a range of organizations called “OMG,” from Chinese jean companies to tech companies. Even TV programs, Japanese textbooks, movies, superfoods, stores, popcorn, songs, oils, hamburgers, bagels, singing groups, emojis, fashion accessories, party games, and kid dolls—you name it. They have all latched onto the name “OMG.”

“Jesus warned that on Judgment Day, men will have to give account of every idle word they speak. How much more will they have to give an account for the evil of blasphemy!”

The irony is that most who use it don’t think about what they are saying: “It’s just a phrase. It doesn’t mean a thing.”

“OMG!” is of course the shortened version of the exclamation “Oh my God!” According to the National Churchill Museum, the abbreviation originated back in 1917, in a letter from Lord Fisher to Winston Churchill.

The Smithsonian Magazine gives us a little more information about Lord Fisher and his letter:

This jewel of a letter reveals the first usage of the now-ubiquitous OMG.… Fisher was an admiral and naval innovator, who began World War I as First Sea Lord but resigned in 1915.

This is what Dictionary.com says of the phrase:

Oh my god is an exclamation variously expressing disbelief, frustration, excitement, or anger. Its abbreviation, OMG, is widely used in digital communication.…

The phrase oh my god has a long history, with record of the oath my god dated to at least 1340.

They then add a cultural sensitivity (or warning):

While taboos against religious profanities have broadly weakened in popular culture, be mindful of using oh my god and OMG among religious company, they don’t like it.

There are a number of good reasons we “religious” folks don’t like it. Most importantly, it’s forbidden by the third of the Ten Commandments:

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7)

To take God’s name “in vain” is to fail to give it due honor—to count His name as worthless. “It doesn’t mean a thing.”

But its use goes much deeper. The Bible tells us that the godless human mind is in a state of hostility toward God because it doesn’t want His moral government (Romans 8:7). The world speaks evil of God for the same reason criminals speak evil of the police. And what greater evidence is there of that hostility than that they use His name as a cuss word.

The dictionary definition of “blasphemy” is “the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God.”

The Scriptures tell us that when God was manifest in the flesh, the hostility fell upon Jesus (see Romans 15:3). And, 2,000 years later, that antagonism has continued. There is only one name that is internationally used as a cuss word. And that’s the name of Jesus Christ.

“God Is Not His Name”

There are those who say that “God” is not our Creator’s name. It’s just His title. However, if I speak evil of the governor of this state without specifically mentioning his name, I am still speaking evil of him. That’s because he and his title are synonymous.

Again, “OMG!” is a contemptuous disregard for the honor of God’s name—as though it has no worth. The name of Jesus is used in that very context with the common exclamation “bejesus.” Here is Urban Dictionary’s explanation of the phrase:

Etymology: alteration of by Jesus
Date: circa 1908
— (interjection) used as a mild oath;
— (noun) runny poop

You [scared] the bejesus out of me.

Such a context shows the utter disdain that human beings have for their Creator. However, its use goes much further back than a 1917 letter or to the 12th century. It goes way back 2,800 years ago, to the book of Psalms, where it was part of the psalmist’s sacred prayer and prophecy of the coming Messiah:

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning?

O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear;
And in the night season, and am not silent.

But You are holy,
Enthroned in the praises of Israel. (Psalm 22:1-3)

As America has forsaken the light of God’s Law (the Ten Commandments), it’s been left in moral darkness. Lying, theft, adultery, covetousness, and murder have become commonplace, and blasphemy has become a part of everyday language. During the 1970s, through the ’80s, and into the ’90s, “Oh my God!” exploded as an expression. While the world may say that it’s just a catchy, meaningless phrase, my heart trembles for them because “the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). Jesus warned that on Judgment Day, men will have to give account of every idle word they speak (Matthew 12:36). How much more will they have to give an account for the evil of blasphemy! And that’s a fearful thing.

Ray Comfort

Ray Comfort is the Founder and CEO of Living Waters, a bestselling author, and has written more than 100 books, including, The Evidence Study Bible. He cohosts the award-winning television program Way of the Master, which airs in 190 countries.

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