"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Sunday, January 29, 2006

How's your gosh?

The expression "Oh my gosh" seems to have ramped up the last couple of decades. Gosh isn't a person but rather a thing of sorts. Dictionary.com defines gosh as an interjection, "used to express mild surprise or delight." As an English refresher, an interjection is usually a single word utterance used to indicate a strong emotion or reaction to something. Examples would be "Ouch!", "Hurray!" and "No!" Dictionary.com also states gosh is an "alteration of God" (sic). Why would people alter "Oh, my God" to "Oh my gosh?" Certainly if one didn't believe in God or didn't like God then to substitute gosh makes sense. That certainly isn't a justification for the change but rather an explanation for the substitution. In a teleological sense, in a world that's completely under the sovereignty of an infinite God there should never be any surprises. Any expression of surprise at any event or bit of newfound knowledge is a reminder of our limited capacity as creations of God. To say "Oh, My God," or "Oh, my gosh," may or may not be blasphemy (see: Commandment, Third). It may or may not be an indicator of a weak faith. It can mean a lot of things, depending on who’s uttering it and why.

Because of the more frequent use of "my" in the three-word phrase, instead of just "Oh gosh," which would make more sense in light of it being an interjection as opposed to an object, I tend to think most of the "Oh my gosh" usage is a derivative of "Oh, my God." This would imply it's a phrase used more often than not in a pejorative sense. To elaborate further, I don't think most people use it to consciously insult God, but rather it just rolls off their tongue naturally as an outworking of their fallen nature (see: Romans, The book of).


Anonymous Greg Rummo said...

Men have discovered unique ways to curse or take God's name in vain without the guilt. It's like "low calorie profanity." So in addition to Omigosh," we say "What the heck," "Oh Jeeze" (instead of JEsus) "Gee Wiz" (Jesus the Wizard), "Fudge" (You can figure that out for yourselves) and "Oh shoot." But shoot is just sh_ _ with two o's.

9:30 PM  

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