Text Size: Zoom In

Blasphemy Day

Photo:sjgibb80 at Flickr

Photo:sjgibb80 at Flickr

An online CNN article yesterday recognized the first organized “Blasphemy Day.” Marked by the slogan “Nothing is Sacred,” and part of a “Campaign for Free Expression, the day was set to coincide with the 5th anniversary of a Danish’ newspaper’s publication of cartoons that so offended followers of Islam.

The sponsoring group claims 100,000 international members and is encouraging submission of “blasphemous” statements like, “”There’s nothing wrong with God that a dose of reality won’t cure.”

The news piece prompted me to do a search for what the Bible says about blasphemy.

Leviticus 24:11-16 shows that under the law of Moses, deliberate blasphemy was a capital offense.

Another interesting reference has some connections to the city of Nineveh that we’ve been thinking about in our last conversation. In the 8th century BC, Sennacherib, the Assyrian King of Nineveh surrounded Jerusalem and mocked the God of Israel.

According to “The New Bible Dictionary,” the event is documented in Sennacherib’s own words in which he describes how he attacked, “Hezekiah the Jew … [and] shut him up like a caged bird within his royal capital, Jerusalem.”

In response, Hezekiah, the king of Jerusalem declared the event a “day of …blasphemy” and appealed to the LORD of Israel to protect the Jewish people (2Kings 19:3-4). Isaiah the prophet responded to Hezekiah’s plea saying, “Thus says the LORD: “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land” (2Kings 24:6-7).

The fulfillment of this prediction and the subsequent defeat of the Assyrian army by “the angel of the LORD” (2Kings 19:32-25) reminds us that the living God is not intimidated by human insult or mockery.

Prophets of Israel like Elijah and Isaiah were known for exposing the powerlessness of false gods (1Kings 18:19-40; Isa 44:12-19).

Far more importantly, Jesus was executed on charges of blasphemy (John 10:33; Matt 26:64-65).

So, in this light, how do followers of Christ think through the ideas behind a “Blasphemy Day?” Some of us live in a land protected by “free speech” laws. None of us live under the Law of Moses. Our own Savior was tortured and executed with charges that he had insulted the one true God.

Seems to me that our Teacher gives us a new way of responding to blasphemy. He responded to those who accused him of doing his miracles in the power of Beelzebub, prince of demons (Matt 12:24), by dying for his accusers. Instead of calling for their arrest and execution, he spoke the truth in love… and then let love and truth speak for themselves.

Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+43 rating, 44 votes)

14 Responses to “Blasphemy Day”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    “sticks and stones shall break my bones but words shall never hurt me.”

    A little playground retort that was intended to mute the offender and ease the pain of a cruel tongue.

    But was the statement true?

    Any Christian can “feel” the Holy Spirit when He is offended. I know I have.

    The unforgiveable sin is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. So I would say there is a need to be cautious here, when being too cavalier about blasphemy.

    God had to take an ignorant population and reinform them of Him and His position as God. This I believe explains to me why the brutal heavy hand of God was visited upon the peoples of the OT.

    You know like a slap on the back of the head to a wayward boy. To get his attention.

    We are living in a very unique and wonderful gift of grace. Grace means what it means. Forgiveness is offered to all who ask for it…Through Jesus Christ, the one whom was handed over to the Roman executioners for blaspheny and proclaiming to be a King.

    Ironic isn’t it.

    I personaly am offended at the insults I see thrown at God, Jesus, Christianity, and Christians by the “playground bullies” in our society. Whether it be the press or literature or Hollywood.

    It really comes down to a matter of respect. A matter of living tolerant and showing some basic signs of proper etiquette of living among other peoples.

    Whereas I do not think a death sentence is appropriate for insulting anyones beliefs, I do think it in poor taste and left alone the offender will disapear into obscurity.

    That the best response sometimes for insulting remarks aimed toward our faith. To say nothing and let the offender gain no saticfaction from upsetting us.

    As for God dealing with blasphemy….He is the judge of all mankind, I would not want to offend Him. I think He knows how to deal with it. “Every knee shall bend”

  2. foreverblessed says:

    Sfdetc, thanks for starting of the responce. When I first read Mart’s topic, I usually think, very well said, what more can I add to that?
    But then the discussion start rolling and many helpful things come up. Very well.
    I remember now a few years ago, I told an inlaw about migraine. She is from the Rudolf Steiner sort of thing. She said to me, well that disease corresponds to your character, you being stubborn. I asked her what she meant by that. She answered, you are very stubborn in holding on to Jesus.
    That remark offended me very very much.
    Someone else was with the converstation, when the lady left, I said, did you hear that, you yourself have migaine, aren’t you offended. He answered very calmy: Well, some people just think like that.
    That was all he said, and he wasn’t even a christian, or not that I know of.
    And here I was a christian, it took me some time to get over the offence.
    Now I think, if I am stubborn, let me be stubborn in hanging on to Jesus!

  3. taomeano says:

    foreverblessed, I just wanted to encourage you regarding the statement your in law made about you being very stubborn holding on to Jesus. Now instead of being offended at what she said, you should have immediately rejoiced knowing that Jesus has said in Matt 5:11 to rejoice when people say all kinds of things against you for his sake.

    For her to make that kind of statement about you shows that the Spirit of God is certainly resting upon you and you are reflecting Jesus Christ in your life. That my friend should make you very very grateful and happy that you have become a living epistle read of all men, and that your mother in law is being convicted by your holding on to Jesus. So rejoice my friend, I wish your experience was true for so many so called christians. Many have taken on the lifestyle of the world and it has become increasingly difficult to tell if they are stubbornly holding on to Jesus or not. Be encouraged.

  4. wretch-like-me says:

    You are a warrior for Christ. Bless You. I am moving beyond offense, now, to being wounded. I agree that God is keeping score…so, I dont have to. I pick up my cross daily and do my best to follow in HIS footsteps.

    Your stubbornness is to be lifted up as an encouragement to us all. I, too, cling to Our Savior with all my strength (which is irony in itself since I know it HIS strength clinging to me!)

    Welcome!!! Your words ring with the sound of Truth for they echo the Living Word.

    It is not natural to ignore my urges to defend that which I love. It is my nature to strike back in anger. I have been taught to stand against injustice and defend those being slighted. We, Americans, have not always responded in the best manner; however, when we have, God has blessed our efforts.

    My prayer is that this country will once again become a ‘people’ who respond appropriately to injustice rather than a ‘political govt’ which responds in the manner most ‘expedient’.

    Your thoughts?


  5. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you very much for this encouragement!
    We should be glad that we are offended because of Christ’s sake!
    When offended, instead of reacting out of being hurt, as we humanly speaking would do, we,now as Christ lives in us, rejoice!
    It took me some time to get to that point.
    That is how we can encourage one another into good works.

  6. poohpity says:

    In our reading for today the Lord gave Isaiah the prediction of Babylon being in ruins at a time when it was very prosperous. Isaiah said it would be similar to Sodom and Gomorrah. I guess because we have such a finite mind we can not comprehend the enormity of God. To fully realize that He does not need our help to destroy anything He deems necessary to be destroyed and God does not need our help to protect His very name. I am reminded when I was in grade school and someone said something that they knew the teacher would be upset about. We would take a big breathe and put our hand over our mouth and go uuuuhhhhmmmm, I’m gonna tell. We do not need to tell with God, He knows. He knew everything that would happen before the foundation of the universe was made and yet went to the Cross.

    That is what is so amazing to me. God knew!!!YET. I believe we blaspheme the name of God much more in our treatment of mankind. What we do or say to or about other human beings. God loved humanity so much He gave His only Son for it. He does not need us to condemn but to guide others to Him and His amazing grace. So we blasphemy God when we say words that are not encouraging and used to build up one another speaking the truth in love.

  7. daisymarygoldr says:

    Foreverblessed, I would also do the same i.e. “if I am stubborn, let me be stubborn in hanging on to Jesus!”

    There is imminent danger for Christians to blaspheme during the trial of faith or when persecuted for their faith as in “And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.” (Acts 26:11)

    Hence we are told to “Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. (1Tim 1:19, 20)

    And Mart, thanks for another convicting post but I’m not so sure about “…he spoke the truth in love…”
    “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things?…“An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign… this wicked generation.” Matt 12:34- 45. Are these words of love?

    Personally, it doesn’t really bother me as a follower of Christ when the unbelieving world blasphemes God in ignorance without knowing Christ. There is still hope and forgiveness for them.

    Ex: both Jesus and Stephen prayed to God to forgive those who were killing them because those people did not understand what they were doing.

    However, “all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of man it shall be forgiven him. But whoever speaks against (falsely accuses) the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world and neither in the world to come.” Matt 12: 31-32

    Therefore, as a follower of Christ I am really careful about presumptuous sins i.e. to sin willfully or consciously, not bother about the consequences and refuse to confess and forsake my sin which is blasphemy (Num 15:30) against the Holy Spirit… which will not be forgiven but will surely lead to death. (1 John 5:16)

    OT Ex: “However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.” 2 Sam 12: 14

    NT Ex: Ananias and Sapphira

    Dear Lord, please “Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then shall I be blameless, and I shall be innocent and clear of great transgression.” I pray and ask this in Jesus’ name. Ps 19: 13

  8. poohpity says:

    “Speaking the truth in love” is speaking things that will bring health, growth and healing. Love means seeking the highest good of the one loved. If a brood of vipers were to speak I doubt if it would be anything to do with love or truth. It would be in bitterness, resentment, anger, deception and hate.

  9. plumbape says:

    Matt;34-45 DMG> are these words spoken in love ?

    They are to a wise man….

  10. kaliko88 says:

    It just makes me sad. I can’t rejoice or feel glad when faced with any blasphemy. Comforted, yes, that God sees me standing my ground, but not glad. I can’t help but feel sad for those who are essetially losing themselves. My degree is in journalism, though these days I almost feel like sending it through a shredder. Too many people use free speech as a weapon. They like to hurt others.

    And it scares me. Yesterday was our fifteenth anniversary. Instead of celebrating I’m watching him pack in preparations for moving out and us separating. And it’s primarily because I believe and he doesn’t. Whenever he used to say something hurtful about my faith, I couldn’t say anything, except maybe to quietly say ‘That’s not what my faith is to me.’ It scares me to see him going out there with no faith. It scares me to see anyone with no faith. Like C.S. Lewis said, there are no such things as mortals. We were all made for eternal life. The difference is some of us will come to eternal joy, and the rest to eternal damnation. And knowing that just leaves me sad and scared.

    I wish I was better at making people understand that, and to believe how intensely I feel. But I can’t make them do anything. I can only try to give them a reason to change and pray it works.

  11. dependent says:

    OK I’ll bite…

    DMG sez:
    I’m not so sure about “…he spoke the truth in love…”
    “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things?…“An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign… this wicked generation.” Matt 12:34- 45. Are these words of love?

    Ummmm…trick question ;-)

    I’d say that unless you are willing to accuse Jesus of sinning, breaking the two ‘greatest’ commandments, he most assuredly (and by definition) was motivated by the Father’s love. See 1 John 4:7 and surrounding verses.

    “God is love”…”if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father”…”I and the Father are one”…
    (scratching my head at this one, DMG)

    If they weren’t ‘words of love’, what would you presume were indeed the motives in the sinless heart of our Lord? Just a wee little hatred for these people?

    Curious where you were going with this one…

  12. Aybee says:

    Hello kaliko88,

    I am not married; neither do I understand what it feels like when someone whom you took the marriage vows with decides to walk out on you because somehow that other half feels that you don’t fit into them. The only knowledge I have is from my past experience in a dating relationship where he walked out on me not because of faith but because of the way I ate my donut :) I couldn’t understand it as you don’t now but I share your moments now and I am praying for you. I hope God honors our prayers.
    Mine seems a bit trivial (and I’m not going to claim being right and him wrong here and all the other stuff ladies blame guys for) but I think I feel how you feel: being unable to totally show your true heart and desire to someone you love and believe that will be with you forever and try to understand that if you speak or eat or act in someway its linked to an inner desire to be accepted first as you are and then maybe hope that there will be a form of effect on the other half’s life and vice versa.
    I haven’t tried to equate the matter of a donut here with issues of faith but just trying to share in your moments.


  13. SFDBWV says:

    Truth from God is always love. Jesus has many names, one is Truth.

    Anyone that has ever had a friend tell them the truth rather than lie to them to keep the friendship “friendly”, understands telling someone something negitive in good honest truthful love.

    Would it have been better for Jesus to keep the peace by not showing these evil men their sin as well as their errant hearts? Thereby guaranteeing their journey to a lost eternal destiny?

    It is the same for us. Like Jesus we offend others by handing them the truth about Christ. Just remember our encounter with Sakoieta and how offended he was at my handing him the Truth. If I didn’t love my fellow man and didn’t care whether they stayed in a lost condition, I could smooth over the truth and make them feel better or in love, tell them their errant ways.

    Just my thoughts about Matthew 12:34-35.


  14. daisymarygoldr says:

    Michael, you are right… those words are spoken in love to a wise man… who not only hear and say but also do… and the wise man will “do” only if he has the Spirit of God. Unfortunately, the ones in Matt 12 :34-45 did not have God’s Spirit and therefore did not perceive those true words of Jesus with love.

    kalliko 88, you are in my prayers and God will surely help you find and be fulfilled with true love someday soon… keep hanging and waiting on Him for the right time!

    dependant, as I said before, I’ll say again: you are much loved in the Lord and I do pray everyday for your work in the villages of West Africa.

    Steve, you hit the nail right on the head with “Like Jesus we offend others by handing them the truth about Christ…” Why then have you misunderstood me as someone who is trying to be perfect for Jesus?

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.