Today is International Blasphemy Day

The Religious News Service reports that today will be the Centre For Inquiry’s International Blasphemy Day: 

Atheists, skeptics, freethinkers and free-speech advocates around the world will mark Blasphemy Day by mounting their soapboxes—figuratively and literally—and uttering words and displaying images that may cause offense.

And they’re making no apologies.

Why today?

Sept. 30 was chosen for the inaugural Blasphemy Day because it is the anniversary of the 2005 publication of the controversial Muhammad cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. The cartoons resulted in worldwide riots by outraged Muslims and widespread self-censorship by media.

 Albert Mohler notes :

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 theBlasphemy Challengein 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.

At this point, I have to ask that for sinners who have not been saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, surely every day is Blasphemy Day?  Today though, they will be make a determined, conscious effort to offend God and encourage others to do likewise.

He then goes on to offer some advice on how we Christians should respond to International Blasphemy Day, as well as contrasting the difference between the Biblical and Muslim response to blasphemy:

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.

You can read Albert Mohler’s full article here.

For my part, I have difficulty turning the other cheek on this one.  But I do see Dr. Mohler’s point and believe it is biblical for us to not defend Christ’s “honor” with outrage or riots or censorship, but to instead defend the gospel of Christ through reason, with gentleness and respect as it says in 1 Peter 3:

“13Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”

Father, give us the strength to share in the scorn that is directed at your Son, to share in His rejection and to suffer well, if it be your will, for Christ’s sake. And give us the words and the wisdom and the courage to boldly share your good news with gentleness and respect, regardless of how we are treated.  Amen.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Today is International Blasphemy Day

  1. Very bizarre. I’d say the best response is to ignore it since, as the author pointed out, every day is blasphemy day?

    Is it even possible to blaspheme a God you don’t believe in? Is it possible to deny the Holy Spirit if you don’t believe He exists?

  2. Paul

    Hi Andy,
    The “surely everyday is blasphemy day” comment was mine. I think there’s a balance to be struck between ignoring them and reacting to them in such a way it gives their behaviour credibility. Pretending that they are not there and hoping that they will go away has been one of the problems of Evangelicalism over the last 50 years, instead of dipping into the wealth of well-reasoned answers (Apologetics) we’ve inherited through 2000+ years of historical Christianity.
    We’re all guilty of denying the Holy Spirit if Romans 1v18-32 is to believed. It is our natural, unregenerate state before we are saved. Thank God for Christ.

  3. Pingback: Today is International Blasphemy Day « the Maxfields’ Weblog « Religion

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