Remember the days when uttering God’s name was a sacred act, not to be taken lightly and only to be done in serious moments of sobriety? Taking His name in vain was a capital offense in Leviticus and taboo until our own day.
Unfortunately that sort of fear is out of favor.
If I’ve learned anything in my journey through cultic-Christianity it’s to watch out for those who haphazardly drop the name of Christ into every conversation and treat holy scripture like so much mud in a flinging contest.
They’re not afraid of Him because they most likely don’t know Him. When they exhort their victims to “put Christ first”, they really mean we ought to put our love and emotional attachment to abstraction above our love and attachment to concrete people and things. And when they piously cite some passage or other, they’re doing it with a holy zeal for a doctrinal scheme rather than a person.
I know because I used to do the same thing.
There’s only one way to deal with them: the trusty ad baculum appeal.
One of these cultists traveled out west in Owen Wister’s “The Virginian.” The Virginian was a hero of the heart and knew how to deal with his fire-n-brimstone friend. In one of my favorite moments from the novel, the Virginian, after sitting through a ridiculous sermon, keeps the zealous pastor up all night wailing with terror; Hell was so immanent, and salvation so fleeting, the poor cowboy couldn’t sleep. He made sure the pastor couldn’t either. That’s how you put a humorous damper on a fire-n-brimstone zealot.