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Fri, Jul. 16th, 2004, 04:30 pm
merrywandering:

Let's see. There still aren't many members here yet, so let me post a topic!

It seems like liberal Christians in particular are very fond of using the name "Yahweh." Certainly it was the rage when I was in seminary, and I find very many books that use it. (I read one book recently that refused to; I think it was Bruggeman.)

I don't understand why people insist on using the Name. It is supposed to be sacred. The Bible forbids people from using it, and the Name is translated LORD God in every translation. Many Jews don't even use the word "God." They say "G-d."

So why would liberal Christians be so big on saying Yahweh? Especially since Yahweh is no more accurate than the medieval Jehovah. YHWH would be more accurate, but I still don't see the benefit of using it. We know that names are a way of having power over something, so the modern fad of using the Name looks to me like an attempt to gain power over God.

The Harry Potter books give an excellent illustration of this. Everyone calls the bad guy "He Who Must Not Be Named." But only certain of the good guys: Dumbledore, Lupin, Harry himself, insist on using Voldemort's real name because they believe they shouldn't ascribe so much fear and power to him. In essence, the wizarding community has made a false idol out of Voldemort, and for Dumbledore et al, it becomes an important act of "unmasking the power" for them to use Voldemort's name.

Going back to Christianity, then -- what is behind the insistence in using "Yahweh"? It seems to me the height of arrogance, maybe even idolatry -- idolizing our own power by insisting on using the Name. Who do we think we are to use God's name? God isn't a false idol. God is real, therefore we should show respect by not using the Name.

(You see how I have such an incredibly conservative streak in me?) I'm interested to know what others think. Do any of you choose to use the Name, and if so, why? I've never seen anyone give a theological defense for using the Name. If anything, that disturbs me even more. I mean, if you're going to use the Name, then I think you should have a reason for doing so. Otherwise, you really are taking the Lord's name in vain.

Fri, Jul. 16th, 2004 03:01 pm (UTC)
lazaruspdx

It depends on the context and what is being discussed. I would use Yahweh if it seems like it would make more sense in the conversation. For example, when you are talking about Yahweh as the Hebrew national deity. Otherwise. I have no problem use the term God. or G-d for that matter. It's all just vocabulary - different ways of referencing the Divine.

Fri, Jul. 16th, 2004 03:25 pm (UTC)
merrywandering

So other than in a scholarly context -- that is, from a faith/worship perspective -- does that mean you would prefer to use "God" rather than "Yahweh?" Or does it not matter much to you one way or the other?

Fri, Jul. 16th, 2004 03:39 pm (UTC)
lazaruspdx

Personally, it does not matter that much to me. But, our culture does not really relate to the name Yahweh that much, so it would seem to me that if you are trying to communicate with people on a prectical level that you would want to use langauge that they are familar with and relate to. In that case, I would say just use the word God.