What if I unconsciously abuse God

Biblical greetings and curses


"In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and God was the word," says the Bible, more precisely the New Testament, at the beginning of the Gospel of John. It sounds like it's there word and God, God and language equated. We don't want to go that far here. But we want to look for traces of religion in the German language. Because God and Gods, heaven and hell, Angel and devil - they all appear again and again in German idioms and proverbs. And that starts with the greeting, says Father Eberhard von Gemmingen.

Original sound Father von Gemmingen:

"The good Lord is hidden in a French greeting: Adieu!. Personally, at some point when I say goodbye to someone, Adieu! accept. I don't really know how I came up with it. So I learned French in my youth and I actually like it, and sometimes people say it's nice that you Adieu! say. Then of course we say in Swabia, also in Protestant Swabia, we say Good day! expressly while in Catholic bathing they say Good day!as we say Good day!."


Adieu is actually a greeting to say goodbye. It was adopted from French in the 17th century and literally means translated To God!, God commanded! Of Adieu are also the farewell formulas Goodbye! and that used very often today Bye! derived. In German correspond to Adieu the blessing formulas Go with God! and God commanded! in the sense of God should accompany you on your way. Especially in southern Germany, people talk to each other when they say hello Good day! at. In the middle and in the north one uses instead Good day!. The Ethiopian Prince Asfa Yassin Asserate writes in his book "Manners":


"You can tell that Germany is a country of regions when you've just learned that Good day! unsuspectingly in Hamburg or Berlin. The alienation is usually strong. Often the other person is even embarrassed and asks pointedly: 'You come from Bavaria?' That stirs reactionaries, superstitious Southern Germany against the politically progressive north. In fact, I've found that across the country Good day! has this gentle, innocent provocation character. The preserving Forces show with Good day! compared to the Progressives Flag. Who the mutual, almost imperceptible contempt after the exchange of Good day! and responded to it Good day! felt, understood a lot about Germany. "


So Asserate observes, beyond the regional tradition, one shows the flag with the respective greeting. You clearly show your opinion. One indicates whether one considers oneself progressive, that is progressive, or for values preservingconsiders conservative. who Good day! consciously says that he is also consciously placing himself in a religious - in this case Catholic - tradition. But anyone who wants to distance themselves from this tradition - and this is certainly more the case in northern Germany than in the south of the republic - deliberately does not say Good day!. He may think that those who greet each other are old-fashioned. They hold in his eyes Good day!-Sayer stuck to ideas that are no longer up-to-date. you are reactionary. He devalues ‚Äč‚Äčtheir piety as superstitious.


Jesuit priest von Gemmingen is more avowed Good day!-Sager. Its chief boss is the Pope. And that appears in German in a phrase.

Original sound Father von Gemmingen:

"More papal than the Pope means that someone wants to observe a commandment or a law or a regulation more closely than even the Pope would observe this command, this law or this regulation. Take it extremely precisely, one hundred and fifty percent. This is take something more papal or be more papal than the Pope.

Amazement, consternation, regret - we express these feelings with us Oh dear God!out; when an accident has happened, when we have forgotten or lost something. Or simply:

Father von Gemmingen:

"Oh my god oh my god Yes, in this word one expresses a call to a mysterious, higher, invisible force, of which one has the impression that it stands above one. Oh my God! Yes, I don't think most people think anything about it - and I have to say, I find it very sad when people are in a context, maybe in a strip show or whatever, then suddenly comes Oh god oh god. Well, I honestly find that bad, simply that the good Lord is suddenly used or abused by people who do not want to have anything to do with him in normal life, or that it is just a word.


This clearly shows that although the German language contains many religious elements to this day, most of them use their language without reflecting on them, without being aware of the religious roots of individual expressions or idioms. That also applies to Thank God!.

Father Eberhard von Gemmingen:

"They say: 'Thank God the weather is fine today ','Thank GodI finally got my salary ','Thank Godthis stupid person didn't run over my feet in the car ','Thank God did I catch the right woman ', or'Thank God'This machine works with which we record this here'. "


For God's sake is again an expression of horror. God forbid! - as a shortened form of God keep us from it! - means something like Just don't!. God forgive it! on the other hand, there is a thank you formula that occurs mainly in southern Germany. As well as Crucifix!, which actually designates a plastic replica of the crucified Jesus, but is also used as an exclamation of curse and anger. A number of other curses are originally derived from a religious context. And this is where the devil comes in. For example Ugh devil!as an expression of disgust, disgust. OrTo hell!

Father von Gemmingen:

"'Get lost!Go away! I don't like you, you bother me. Go to hell! Above all, I think if someone keeps coming back with the same request or question that you don't want to hear, then you say Go to hell! This means: Get lost!"


The devil, or maybe Satan, is suitable as an adversary, as an evil opponent to the good Lord, good for such negative terms. That's what the adjective says devilish For vicious, horrible. We call a sly, malicious person Devil roast or Roast Satan. The expression actually means that someone like that deserves to be roasted in hellfire by the devil. The language works like a big history book. The experiences, thoughts, the beliefs of many centuries of very different influences have been reflected in it. And the influence of the Bible plays a prominent role here. The German language, German literature - they would be completely different without the influence of the Bible. A quote by the avowed atheist Bertolt Brecht has become famous in this context. When asked about his favorite book, he said, "You'll laugh - the Bible."

Questions about the text

With Good day! you are usually greeted in ...

1. Northern Germany.

2. East Germany.

3. Southern Germany.

If someone is very precise, then someone is ...

1. More believers in God than God.

2. More satanic than the devil.

3. More papal than the Pope.

One formula of anger is ...

1. God forbid!

2. Shear the devil!

3. Ugh, devil!

Work order

The greetings, curses, exclamations from the Bible are used in different situations in life. Write 15 sentences using some of the formulas correctly. Then replace these formulas and curses, where possible, with those used in today's youth language.

Author: Hilde Regeniter

Editor: Beatrice Warken