I was watching one of those docutainment programs on the History Channel last night as I was dropping off ---and it was all about the Ten Commandments and how they've managed such good press over the millennia. There are other laws handed down by YHWH and intended for the moral refinement of man and Israelite alike, you know, but nothing romances us like the Decalogue.
Anyway, they get to the Commandment about not taking the Lord's name in vain ---and it was disturbing to me because it challenged my pet theory of what that particular injunction really means. Turns out that all the by-the-numbers Christians I have known forever were right about it all along ---and that it does enjoin us from cussing about God and Jesus and all the others.
Which sucks because the rationale for that Commandment was rooted in the contemporary belief that words had incantatory powers. Maybe they do, but not with the smoke and cackling and shapeshifting that may accompany such invocations. These are just words, not verbalizations of an expectation or any disrespect.
I, on the other hand, prefer the idea that God is actually telling us not to resort to him in a hypocritical or insincere way. He is saying not to invoke his name if you're a phony. And as I do not profess a belief in him I do not have, I am sure that the Almighty is down with that and will let me off the hook at the crack of doom.