But what if that word has no impact behind it? Is it still a "bad" word? What is worse, the word or the emotion carrying it?
In the 7th grade I had the world's coolest gym teacher, Mr. Lang. At the time he was old, probably 35 or something ancient like that and a father. Looking back I think he may have even been a believer, but you can never tell your students that piece of controversial info.
Mr. Lang was assigned the lovely task of teaching a bunch of giggly 13 and 14 year olds about the human body and puberty, which most of us had passed with flying colors already. One way he avoided having to embarrass us by making us ask questions out loud, was by having each student anonymously write down questions which he would read and answer aloud the next day.
Seeing that this was a co-ed class, some dumb boy (I have to assume) dared to go there. He asked what the meaning was of the granddaddy of bad words. You know the one. If it looks like a duck and rhymes with duck...
Mr. Lang did not destroy the question nor ignore it as someone else may have, he read it and proceeded to answer it. His answer I have sadly just looked up on Wikipedia and found out it is more than likely false, but Mr. Lang did not have the benefit of the internet, just gym teacher folklore to fall back on. His point being that in its original use the word was not something vulgar. Just an acronym, used in legal proceedings in England and Ireland. Did I mention that Mr. Lang was Irish?
Regardless of the real meaning of the word, that explanation certainly helped take the bang out of the word for me. Culturally it is still an ugly word when used in anger and one I do not use nor like hearing, but it really has no meaning as just a word. And I would respect cultural norm in another country and not use the word "bananaclip", if it would reasonably offend another person.
Please note that I am not talking about people using the Lord's name out of context. I cringe at that in any way it is used besides in reverence, holiness or in awe. What I am referring to are all those other words we have culturally deemed, "bad".