The Great Courses

A little Blasphemy

Apr 7, 2016 at 8:20 AM

Once again, a vague warning about blasphemy from a member of the God Squad: "God is not mocked!"


blasphemy guys

Actually, anyone who has browsed my social media pages, or those of my friends, understands that, yes, gods (plural) are mocked.

Not because I'm in rebellion.
Not because I'm an agent of Evil.
Not because I hate religious people.

Mockery, for me, can be empowering. Of the many wonderful things I discovered in my rejection of superstition, "blasphemy" was one of the biggest surprises. The ability to ridicule the ridiculous without fear. To defiantly declare that the monsters in the closet no longer frighten me. To expose the obviously human-made blasphemy rule book designed to insulate bad ideas (and people) from scrutiny and criticism.

darth vader

As a Christian, I was once terrified of blaspheming the Holy Spirit...until I realized how nonsensical this "unforgivable sin" truly was. In this model, God hadn't declared the rape of a child unforgivable. Nor the torture of our fellow humans. Fanatical terrorism. The gas chambers of Hitler's holocaust. The countless unspeakable acts of barbarism, sadism and hate that have colored human history.

No. The only genuinely unforgivable act was to hurt the feelings of a deity that cannot be hurt.

In this bizarro world, all other slates can be wiped clean. (Jeffrey Dahmer gets to enjoy Heaven with the victims he cannibalized. Just think about that one.)

For my part, I not only declare this flavor of god ridiculous and immoral, but I take great satisfaction in declaring - through various forms, including mockery - that the chains of fear and blind allegiance no longer imprison me.

"I blaspheme the Holy Spirit." It's like insulting Lord Voldemort, and it carries an equal threat of damnation.

george bernard shaw quote

I try, wherever and whenever I may, to approach religious people with empathy and compassion. But make no mistake. The wildly unsubstantiated and often destructive notions of God(s) that they defend and promote have not earned deference, and if they are revealed as truly ridiculous...then ridicule may well be the appropriate response.

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