Sunday, June 6, 2010

On Blasphemy

To be against blasphemy one must be for it.
To oppose heresy one must allow it.

Does that seem contradictory to you?  Hear me out.

To those who claim to love God and value His Word, things like blasphemy and heresy are perverse and destructive and therefore we keep them undiscussable, unmentionable, not up for debate.  We consider such things taboo – they may not be talked about or even thought about.  But I contend that blasphemy and heresy thrives in the dark, that it becomes stronger when it becomes untalkaboutable.

It is in our nature to build a fence around taboo ideas.  Then to ensure that no one dwells to close to the fence we keep building wider and wider fences around the original offensive notion.  Almost inevitably these fences will begin to include our pet peeves and prejudices.  After a while, we start making more things taboo in the name of avoiding blasphemy and heresy when really it has become more about what we find offensive rather than what God may find offensive.  This is the point when tradition starts to void the will of God.  This is when people start to forget that “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”. Over time, orthodoxy itself can become heresy.  Religion itself can become blasphemous. 

Think about it.  Jesus and the Apostles were considered heretics by their theological peers.  The first Christian martyr was executed as a blasphemer.

The Prophets weren’t persecuted by atheists.

What do we lose by engaging perceived heresy instead of silencing it?  If we are right then we may gain a deeper understanding of our own position and we may win over either those who disagree with us or those who are undecided on the matter.  At the very least it will give us a clearer understanding of the mind and motivation of those who disagree with us.  There is of course also the chance that engaging that which we find offensive will bring us to new and different points of view.  We may learn that we have been wrong all along and in these cases engagement offers us what silence never can – the opportunity for renewal.  Is a religion that can live only in the silence of its critics really a religion worth following?

Regarding blasphemy, does the Bible not show God more than capable of either smiting or forgiving those who trespass against Him?  Surely a deity who requires men to avenge offenses by other lowly men is not really deserving of the title?

So then I ask that you consider the following.

Which is the greater blasphemy?  Is it to possibly offend a Being who is more than capable of vindicating Himself?  Or is it to destroy – whether literally or figuratively – a man made in His Image?

Which is the greater heresy?  Is it making a statement that goes against orthodoxy?  Or is it being unwilling to even consider that not everything orthodox is right?

What is a Faith worth having?  Is it something that crumbles when challenged or something that becomes purified by questioning? 

Which is the more blasphemous act?  To offend a Being great enough to forgive those who trespass against it or to presume to act on God’s behalf?

Which is the more heretical act?  To question dogma when you could be mistaken or to enforce dogma when you could be mistaken?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

talented & interesting writing - tx for much provocation of thought on your blog :-)