(If you'd like more info on what's been churning in my brain, here is my last series of posts on the subject of my faith: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.)
And one of those things is the nature of what is blasphemy.
First, a boring-assed definition of blasphemy:
1. impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things.Obviously, we're going with definition 1, because that's the most contentious, and the motivation for this post.
a. an act of cursing or reviling God.
b. pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton (YHVH) in the original, now forbidden manner instead of using a substitute pronunciation such as Adonai.
3. Theology. the crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God.
4. irreverent behavior toward anything held sacred, priceless, etc.: He uttered blasphemies against life itself.
Of course, there are a gazillion interpretations. For a simple comparison, compare Wikipedia's entry with that of rival (and intellectual joke) Conservapedia. Same subject, similar definitions, different interpretation and presentation.
(I'd have a kickass blasphemous clip here, clip here, but I couldn't find it. YouTube sucks sometimes.)
The genesis of the post was a couple threads from other blogs, which touched of a long off-topic thread on Pamela's blog (and welcome to the blogroll, since I got my lazy ass motivated). It was over the the statement "God doesn't give a shit about who's in office." It was argued that this in itself was blasphemous because "God" and "shit" were used in the same sentence.
Which brings me to a question (phrased for maximum offense to the easily offended): Why the hell would God give a shit what the fuck some bastard says when He knows every perverse thought, feeling, and belief in said bastard's head?
Let me put it to you another way. If the word "shit" is what is in your head, would omitting it in the words you pray with matter? Because yes, in talking to God, I don't censor any words I speak out loud. And if you've read enough of me, I have no problem whipping things out, or using the coarser elements of my substantial vocabulary.
The same applies when I discuss anything. While I make an effort not to actually attack any specific faith, or demean their God, one of the great things about this country is a little thing called the First Amendment. In that, we are free to use the name and imagery of God in ways that may offend people. And unless it's an overt attack on your particular flavor of religion, you should probably look beyond the offense you perceive, and try to comprehend.
A great example is the old Nine Inch Nails song "Heresy" (off the album The Downward Spiral), which includes the intensely screamed chorus:
A contrasting example would have been found in my comment section. As it was a comment I deleted for being an attack on someone's religion for no other reason than to be offensive, it will not be repeated here. In short, it was a crude bastardization of a prayer chant. No reason, no decency, and no chance it survives my moderation.
An in between would be AOTW Pat Robertson's comments on the Haiti situation (mainly that one about the pact with the Devil). While I've made my opinion known (the whole AOTW thing), and I'd classify it as blasphemous presumption, I have no problem with him making those dumbass statements, because it's obviously something he believes (as he keeps finding apocalyptic shit everywhere). Plus, like I said with the 2009 AOTY, Alan Grayson, we need people saying stupid shit to be continually entertained, and because it can sometimes be a springboard into discussions like this.
Now for those of you that were offended, what would you have done to protect the name of your God? Have it codified that blasphemy is worthy of punishment? And if so, what blasphemy is to be punished. And how far do you go? After all the extreme though out history (and currently with Islam) is death. Not quite in favor of that myself.
In the end, with only exceptions where you use your faith and your God as a justification for vile words and evil acts, I respect the faith of all people and their God, as they have taken their own journey to find the faith that gives them strength and comfort. However, that doesn't preclude me from challenging myself and others along our various journeysSo let me end this discussion with one last thought, which you can judge the nature of the blasphemy:
If God shits in the woods and Jesus is not there, does He make an audible grunt?