Many comedians nowadays rely on the use of profanity to enhance their comedy. This is also present in movies and television (although limited).

I know the bible says not to let "unwholesome talk" come out of our mouths, but does it say anything of listening to it? More specifically, for the purpose of entertainment.

Don't get me wrong, I'm faithful, but I just don't see why we should let others' unwholesome talk get in the way of our own entertainment.

  • 6
    It might be just me, but I usually (but not always) find such comedians use profanity for shock value and it often betrays an inadequacy in being truly funny - I always think of how incredibly funny and entertaining Bill Cosby was without being the least bit offensive.
    – user32
    Commented Aug 28, 2011 at 8:16
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    @Software Monkey: Andy Griffith also comes to mind.
    – Mason Wheeler
    Commented Aug 28, 2011 at 15:36
  • What's "unwholesome"? Commented Aug 29, 2011 at 13:01

4 Answers 4


Anything that anyone says has eternal implications. When God speaks, His words go like the rain, they accomplish His work, and they return to Him (Isa. 55:10-11). Our words can be like that, too, like Samuel, who "let none of his words fall to the ground" (1 Sam. 3:19). Contrarily, James 3 speaks of the death that is in the tongue. It is impossible for man to tame it. Even the man who lies and then says he was joking throws around "firebrands, arrows, and death" (Pro. 26:18).

God would not have us share in deathly things. Paul condemns a long list of characteristics (among which include "disobedient to parents" and "inventors of evil") saying:

...Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Romans 1:21 (emphasis added)

By being entertained with unwholesome things, we are taking pleasure in things that are worthy of death. Everything said has eternal implications. See Matthew 12:36-37

Also, to the Ephesians Paul writes:

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:... And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. Eph 5:8,10-11 (emphasis added)

Being entertained is not a Christian value, though it is not a bad thing at all. We should not let unwholesome talk get in the way of our walk with God.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

(related to this question/answer is What does the Bible say about "bad" words?)


Proverbs 17:4 says that a wicked person listens to deceitful lips and a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.

God is equating kinds of people that he does not like with listening to and paying attention to the unwholesome talk that you are asking about.

It's difficult to purge your lifestyle of the evil that is around you, but by doing so you allow the fruit of the spirit to flourish in the absence of bad fruit.


There's a saying that goes:

Garbage in, garbage out.

Since profanity/taking God's name in vain/coarse language is 'garbage', then it makes sense that if we listen to it, it will impact our thinking and eventually come out of our mouth or we'll use it in our everyday thoughts and conversation.


I'm not going to defend profanity, I don't think it's necessary in entertainment, but equally I don't think we should go very far out of our way to avoid it when it's so ingrained into the culture around us, and here's why.

Our primary proposes are to worship God and to spread the good news about Jesus. To do the latter we need the ability to engage with those who don't know him yet. If we remove ourselves so far from them that they can no longer relate to us and vice versa then we're failing in our duty.

There are many forms of "unwholesomeness" around other than profanity. You could argue that it's unwholesome to watch a disturbing news story on tv because it may be upsetting, or that it's unwholesome to submit yourself to advertising of any form in case it tempts you into greed/envy/covetousness. You could take it to such an extreme that you spend your entire life in some kind of monastic existence and completely fail in our shared quest to spread the gospel.

So while I'm no fan of swearing and I control what I say carefully, I accept that hearing profanity is part of modern life. I strongly dislike it but I feel a responsiblity to bear it, not hide away from it.