I have recently finished reading the New Testament and I am collecting my thoughts about what I read in this series of posts. Today I am writing about what the New Testament says about Blasphemy. Other entries in this series:
Those three verses from the gospels explicitly say that blasphemy is the only sin that is unforgivable, giving us the clear message that blasphemy is really the worst sin as far as God is concerned. There a few other clues in the New Testament that this is the case. Jude 8 (which is discussing Sodom and Gomorrah) describes the terrible crimes of those people, the justification for destroying the entire cities. The three named crimes are defiling the flesh, rejecting authority, and blasphemy. Again, not murder, rape, or child abuse, but spitting in God's face. Again, in Revelation 13:5-6 when discussing the beast who is terrorizing the planet, the crime which is mentioned (and therefore the message is sent that it is his worst crime) is blasphemy.
So blasphemy is clearly a very big deal, something that we should all try to avoid. Given that it is the only unforgivable sin, we need to make sure that there is no point in our lives that we are blaspheming, for if we do it once our afterlife is forfeit. So it would be nice if we could get some clarity from the bible on what exactly constitutes blasphemy. Although I found little, there was a bit of a hint in Jude 10 which mentions that people can blaspheme things that they don't understand. Let that sink in a minute, this means that it is possible to commit and unforgivable sin based entirely on ignorance. You could ensure an infinite bath in fire and sulfur based on committing a crime that you didn't understand was a crime.
The New Testament also gives us a few things to avoid, as they could lead to blasphemy. 2 Peter 2:2 says that sensuality leads to blasphemy, and James 2:7 implies that all rich people are blasphemers. This reads to me like pure fear tactics. We already know that blasphemy is pretty much the worst crime in the eyes of God, so it seems like a good threat to throw around if you are trying to control people. In the case of the sensuality, they were talking about false prophets coming in and tricking people to leave the faith with sex. I would argue that the church just didn't want it's followers to listen to any competing ideas, as it opens the door for some potential losses. What about rich people blaspheming? The church has said in the past that you should give them all of your money, this just ups the ante on that, if you are rich then you haven't given the church all of your wealth, therefore you are blaspheming. It sure is remarkable how much sense these passages make if you think about how the church benefits from them.