When I was a kid all of us ended up believing to use God's name in vain was to say "Goddamn." Even then it didn't make any sense to me. How we were taught that I don’t remember.
Years later I encountered the correct translation: to use God's name in vain causes. Example: in WWII Germans went to battle wearing belt buckles with "Gott mit uns" on them. That magic talisman didn’t work. It never does and never will.
There are several lessons to the story of the Garden of Eden. One of them is going from unconsciousness to consciousness of good and evil. And from innocence to experience of good and evil. That particular problem obviously runs back thousands of years.
In the last "Starship Troopers" movie it ends with the comment, "God exists. He's on our side. He wants us to win!" Lots of people in many countries believe that. It has never worked and, again, never will.
Almost all tribes have named themselves “the People” or “All Humans.” The ancient Greeks called the Mediterranean “the Middle Sea” - the middle of the world - and the Chinese called China “the Middle Kingdom.” They believed the gods were on their side and in fact founded their countries and cultures.
The last time the American government used God's name for vain causes was when the primitive mind of the coward and mass murderer/serial killer/war criminal Dubya Shrub (he said he “didn’t do nuance”, which means he saw things as a narcissistic either all-good or all-bad, which is a very bad thing) started two completely unnecessary wars, both of which as still going on after 15 years. And there’s no end to them in sight.
The self-deluded Shrub was convinced God chose this born-rich loser (who failed at every one of his business adventures) to be President. As I've mentioned before, this is blasphemy. And of course it's using God's name for vain causes!
Innocence to experience? Shrub, Dickless Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were, and are, as innocent as apples of real good and real evil. None of them even knows that the source of evil is Biblical Pride (the Greek Hubris) or my favorite definition - "the Monstrous Self."
The Monstrous Self has no conscience. It’s interested only in power, domination and control. It’s only loyalty is to itself. Other people are just things to be sacrificed to feed the Monstrous Self (human sacrifice, especially war, is always a fertility rite).
Unconsciousness to consciousness? Even now, all are innocent and unconscious of real good and real evil.
I actually know more about good and evil than anything else, which is why I write about it a lot. I have mentioned that decades ago I briefly met a young woman, about 23, who perhaps two days later was strangled by a serial killer, who not only graduated from the same university I did, but lived not too far from where I lived. Altogether he might have strangled seven women, perhaps more. He won't come clean about it even though serving life in prison. He enjoys the power he has to jerk around the authorities, the way this conscienceless sadistic psychopath enjoyed the power of murdering those teenage women.
I also met and talked to a mother whose two daughters were raped and thrown off a bridge over the Mississippi River (the story is far too long to tell here). Only one body was found (we used to party on that deserted bridge in high school – several hundred of us).
I also was raised with a family down the street (their two sons were my friends, both of them now dead, one from alcoholism and one from AIDS), whose younger, insane daughter stuck a knife in her baby's head and killed it (she's now in a locked mental institution for life).
These things are why I talk about Satan "walking to and fro and up and down the earth" and having a damned good time doing it. And the only Satan I’ve ever encountered is in the hearts of people.
These things have been going on for me my entire life. I have no idea why (what I’ve written about is but a fraction of what I’ve seen).
You think I'd be cynical, but I'm not.
There is such a thing as being conscious of what good and evil are and going beyond it to what you might call an "experienced innocence." To regain your innocence in the midst of this valley of woe – “to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
I think perhaps someone like J.R.R. Tolkien had done it. After all, everything he wrote was about the conflict between good and evil (think The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy), yet he was a happy man. He had regained his innocence. (By the way, C.S. Lewis, one of Tolkien’s friends, suggested evil was just “bent” good. Tolkien’s Gollum, for example, started life as the hobbit Smeagol but was seduced by the power of his “precious” ring. And as I’ve said before, power intoxicates and immunity corrupts.)
Some people never lose their innocence. That's not a good thing. These people, when they gain political power, are the ones who wreck the world with wars and chaos – and think they are doing good things (hence the saying, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”).
In reality they've never gone beyond their childish Monstrous Self – they’ve never grown up. In fact, they revel in their Monstrous Selves and its effects on the world. And they never give a thought to what they've done. More accurately, they rationalize it as a good thing! (This is why I say lying to your self is one of the easiest things in the world.)
I’ve thought for a long time the best way to understand Adam and Eve is to think of them as being four years old – pointing to other people and yelling, “You made me do it!”
That’s the problem with humanity. Lots of people are about four years old – pointing to other people and yelling, “It’s your fault!” Innocent but self-deluded and don’t even know it.
As Thomas Hobbes wrote, “The evil man is the child grown strong.” And it’s true.