Why Do the Heathen Rage? - International Blasphemy Day

Ready for a day to honor blasphemy? According to press reports, September 30 is set as the observance of the first-ever International Blasphemy Day. This could be interesting.

The choice of September 30 looks back to that date in the year 2005, when the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad’s face sparked outcry and protests in the Muslim world and threats toward the West.

Now, as Religion News Service reports, the Center for Inquiry is planning a day of observances to mark the occasion. Ron Lindsay, a lawyer who serves as president of the Council for Inquiry International, said that the day was part of the group’s effort to expose religious beliefs to investigation. In the words of the RNS report, the goal is “to expose all religious beliefs to the same level of inquiry, discussion and criticism to which other areas of intellectual interest are subjected.”

Here is one feature of the day as planned by CFI:

*You’ve never seen Jesus like this before: dripping red nail polish around the nails in his feet and hands, an irreverent riff on the crucifixion wounds. The provocative title of the painting: “Jesus Does His Nails.” Blasphemous? Absolutely. Deliberately provocative? You bet.
Artist Dana Ellyn told RNS that she is an “agnostic atheist” whose purpose is to be provocative. “My point is not to offend, but I realize it can offend, because religion is such a polarizing topic,” she said.

Among other things, CFI International also plans a “blasphemy contest,” “in which participants are invited to submit phrases, poems, or statements that would be, or have been, considered blasphemous.” Winners are to receive a t-shirt and mug.

Bet you can’t wait to see those.

More seriously, participants are also to be encouraged to take up the “Blasphemy Challenge” in which individuals register their blasphemy in the face of Mark 3:29. In that verse, Jesus warns, “whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” [ESV]. Those who take up the “Blasphemy Challenge” record video submissions which must include the words, “I deny the Holy Spirit.”

The Blasphemy Day events are certain to draw media attention, which is no doubt the whole point of the observance. That is how a group like CFI can gain publicity for itself and its cause.

How should Christians respond?

First, take no offense. Refuse to play into the game plan of those sponsoring International Blasphemy Day. The Lord Jesus Christ was and is despised and rejected of men. Our Lord bore the scorn heaped upon him by his enemies. Christianity is not an honor religion. Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are not commanded to defend his honor, but to be willing to share in the scorn directed to him. Is the servant greater than his master?

Islam is an honor religion, and the major forces in the world today seeking to criminalize blasphemy are Islamic. The riots on the streets of many nations in protest of the Danish cartoons do represent what faithful Muslims believe their religion requires them to do. Not so for Christianity. We must be those who take to the streets with the Gospel - not with a defense of our honor or the honor of our Lord. When Christians forget this, we lose our Gospel witness. The history of the church includes far too many instances of this loss. We dare not add another.

Second, mourn the blasphemy. The warning of Jesus is clear - blasphemy has eternal consequences. The worst form of blasphemy is the refusal to hear and believe the Gospel. For that sin there can be no forgiveness. We must mourn the blasphemy, not because honor is at stake, but because souls are at stake with eternal consequences. God will ultimately and perfectly defend his honor. On that day, there will be no escape for unrepentant blasphemers.

Third, see this observance for what it really is - an unintended testimony to the existence of God and the foolishness of those who deny Him. The sheer foolishness of a blasphemy contest with t-shirts and mugs betrays the lunacy of it all. They can do no better than this? One testimony to the power of God is the fact that his self-declared enemies come off as so childish and manic. The heathen rage and God sees the foolish grasshoppers.

International Blasphemy Day will come and go. Take note, ponder its meaning . . . and skip the t-shirt.

Adapted from R. Albert Mohler Jr.'s weblog at www.albertmohler.com.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. For more articles and resources by Dr. Mohler, and for information on The Albert Mohler Program, a daily national radio program broadcast on the Salem Radio Network, go to www.albertmohler.com. For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to www.sbts.edu. Send feedback to mail@albertmohler.com. Original Source: www.albertmohler.com.


Prayer thread of reparation for blasphemy and offenses

Such a day is but one day, but may prayer of reparation last forever!

Ask your congressman (or woman) to make November 1st God Day, a day when all people can express their love, trust, and belief in God.

That seems a bit sensationalistic. It’s about celebrating free speech and expression. Here’s the real motive behind Blasphemy Day:

Are there topics you shouldn’t be allowed to discuss?

Some governments and institutions—and even some individuals—want to keep certain topics off limits. This is especially true with religion. In many places, discussions and questions about religion are discouraged, even punished. But how can we come to our own conclusions about religion if we can’t freely examine and discuss it?


And from a CFI document that I received, but don’t have a link to:

• CFI firmly believes that religious beliefs should be treated no differently than any other belief, such as political, economic, or philosophical beliefs. Religious beliefs can be examined and criticized. Blasphemy Day is a way to draw attention to our position that speech about religion should not be subject to special regulations—as well as the threat to free speech posed by such regulations.

• It is a common error to equate blasphemy with ridicule of religion. This is incorrect. Blasphemy laws have almost always prohibited any questioning of religion. Denying God or any of the alleged attributes of God (such as the Christian God being a Trinity) is blasphemy, even when the denial is made “respectfully.”

• Thomas Aikenhead, a Scottish student, was the last person executed in the United Kingdom for blasphemy (1697). His crime: he denied the Incarnation and the Trinity and asserted the Bible was not credible. He had also joked – after a night of drinking with his classmates – that he’d prefer to be in hell because he was so cold. This is the stuff of blasphemy.

• Believers claim that blasphemy offends them. We can comment on politics, science, economics, sports, philosophy, and so forth – using harsh, abusive terms if we want – and “offense” is not considered a sufficient basis for prohibiting such speech. Religious beliefs should be treated no differently.

• There is a movement, spearheaded by Islamic countries to have the U.N. prohibit “defamation of religion.” The Human Rights Council (an ironic name in our view) has already adopted nonbinding resolutions to that effect. A resolution may be introduced in the General Assembly this fall that would seek to make this prohibition binding on member states.

• Blasphemy laws are still routinely enforced in many Islamic countries.

• International Blasphemy Day will help call attention to the continuing threat to free expression posed by blasphemy laws – as well as the informal social restrictions that treat religious beliefs as a topic that cannot be discussed.

There are very real threats to free speech in the name of religion: in addition to the blasphemy laws in the Muslim world, Ireland recently passed a law making “blasphemy” a crime punishable by up to a 200,000 Euro fine. Canada still has a “blasphemous libel” clause on the books in its criminal code.

These things represent attacks not only on free speech, but also on freedom of religion: one faith’s eternal truth is another faith’s blasphemy. Preaching that God could have a son or that God could be Trinitarian in nature is “blasphemy” punishable by law in many Muslim countries… and that’s the sort of thing that CFI is speaking out as well.

Blasphemy Day isn’t about ridiculing religion; it’s about celebrating free speech.

Before you condemn what the CFI calls “blasphemy”, remember that you engage in what someone, probably many people, would consider blasphemy every time you worship or profess your beliefs.

Further evidence that Satan is the ruler of this world. :frowning:

I imagine you might have a different assessment of this issue if you were in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, or any one of the many other countries that have anti-blasphemy laws on the books and where publicly denying the truth of Islam is considered “blasphemy”.

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