"Daggum it" -- I lost a podcast listener

Hi Dr.D.
I've been listening to Glimpse of the Kingdom podcast for a while now, and aside from a few theological points I don't agree on I've been enjoying them.  Until I heard you say "dadgum."  Which is slang for God damn.  I really don't appreciate hearing a man of God (or anyone, for that matter) blaspheme.  The proverbial last straw was your "sermon" on Worry, which you said it about three times in the same sentence.  I'm afraid I can't listen to your podcast anymore because of that.  It's really turned me off of your work and made me sad that someone of your education and standing would take God's name in vain.  I feel especially wrong listening as I have small children around while I listen.

Anyway, I wanted to let you know... Just because we are raised hearing certain words and have become accustomed to them doesn't give us the right to use them, whether it's gosh darn, goldang or dad gum it's all derivative of God damn.

Thank you for your time, and blessings to you, Sherri


Hi Sherri,

I'm sorry to hear that you'll no longer be listening to my podcasts, especially for the reason that you gave.

Actually, "dadgum" is the corruption of "God damn," not "daggum," which is the term that I actually use. In any case, I'm aware of the etymology of the term, "dadgum." However, the origin of a word in no way implies that it's used the same in different times and different cultures. Terms change usage. A "bachelor" originally referred to "young knight," but I don't use the term that way today. "Awful" originally meant, "worthy of awe," but I don't use the term that way today. One could cite copious such examples.

What matters is how I'm using the term in linguistic context. And I have never used the term, "daggum" to mean "May God damn something to hell" (which is what it originally referred to--it was shorthand for a prayer that God condemn/"damn" someone). Instead, I use it in its common Southern US usage, as an exclamation of intense emotion.

Moreover, "God damn" isn't blasphemy in any biblical sense of the term. So, I'm uncertain what you think "blasphemy" means or how it is to be used. In the Bible, to "blaspheme" means "to slander" (e.g., Mark 7:22; Rom 3:8, et al.). When it's used of things relating to God, it means to "slander God's character or activity." It's to claim that something human is divine or visa versa, or that something human claims divine prerogative (e.g., Mark 2:7; 14:64). I have never claimed that a human was divine or that God (the Father) was human. Thus, I am not guilty of blasphemy.

So, I'm uncertain which biblical mandate you think I've violated. I know of none. (And Exod. 20:7 is irrelevant because I'm not mentioning God's name, nor would I ever do such a thing. And if a person were to “use God’s name in vain,” that is certainly not the definition of “blasphemy.”)

Of course I believe that cursing God’s name or using various expletives isn’t Christian. All words should be beneficial for “building up” (Eph. 4:29). It’s just that I don’t share your definition and usage of the term, “daggum,” and never have in my whole life heard it used to mean what you say it means. In the South, no one used it that way where I was from. I respect your view; I just don’t see any reason to hold your view. (I once had a woman very upset with me because I used the term, “crap,” in a sermon, because to her it was a horrible slang term for excrement. Where I was raised it meant, “junk” or “that which is worthless,” or at other times, it was also an exclamation of intense emotion. Nevertheless, because of her own definition, she was upset.)

Thanks for your time! I certainly wish you the best.

I pray God uses you mightily in His Kingdom,