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Friday, January 05, 2007
The Blasphemy Challenge
Happy new year everyone! I hope you'll excuse my inactivity theses past months. I'm a newlywed. :)

The blasphemy challenge
Anyway, has anyone seen this? I am compelled to hear other viewpoints and opinions. Here were my thoughts after visiting that site;

More than disturbing, this is just sad. Luckily though, I believe that they are wrong. As Stephen suggested "what, do we have to speak it allowed to be dammed to hell?" Doesn't Christ speak of our hearts? Every time we choose self over Christ and over the Holy Spirit, every time we commit a sin (any sin) are we not denying Christ; denying the power of the Spirit to guide our lives? Yet, God forgives us.
Furthermore... Can a Christian loose his/her salvation? I know... this is a whole other (and largely debatable) topic. If not though, how than could a Christian blasphemy and then be dammed to Hell? And if a non-Christian, someone who has not even accepted Christ commits blasphemy, well, aren't they all ready going to Hell. Thus, is it really blasphemy... against a God they never knew?
Are the kids in these YouTubes all dammed to Hell?

Just a few, and highly underdeveloped thoughts.
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posted by Tiffanie Lloyd at 1:34 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 1/05/2007 02:17:00 PM, Blogger Makeesha

    since that is an atheist proselytizing site and program, I'm not sure Christian theology questions are really going to apply in any way.

    maybe I'm missing the point of your post?

  • At 1/05/2007 04:12:00 PM, Blogger Tiffanie

    Atheists or not Christ calls me to love all people. I couldn't help but wonder what it it were one of my sons that became misguided and came across the site and published a YouTube there. Of all those people I'm sure some have Christian relatives who are wondering the same thing. As a Christian, should I not ponder the thoughts or effects of atheist behavior?

  • At 1/05/2007 04:36:00 PM, Blogger Tiffanie

    You know, maybe what I am really asking is for thoughts on a few of the larger and "largely debatable" topics;

    What exactly is blasphemy and what makes it an unforgivable sin?

    Can Christians really loose their salvation? If one of those kids had accepted Christ are they now dammed to Hell?

    After such a display of public "blasphemy" are they now "un-savable"?

    Sorry for my naivety and lack of knowledge here; I have never been challenged to think about these things before. I was just hoping for some insight.

  • At 1/05/2007 04:41:00 PM, Blogger Makeesha

    I wasn't implying anything sweetie, of course we should love atheists and think about those things...I was confused about your post, the wording wasn't clear in my mind regarding what you meant.

    Thank you for clarifying.

    Yes, I see what you're saying now....and no, I don't believe that verse means that all who "say the words" are eternally damned to hell no matter what. to think that would be taking that verse out of context of the whole of Scripture...which is, of course, the only thing an atheist is going to know to do.

  • At 1/05/2007 04:43:00 PM, Blogger Makeesha

    oh and congratulations by the way! marriage is a joy.

  • At 1/05/2007 04:45:00 PM, Blogger Makeesha

    as for losing one's salvation, it depends on your idea of how one "acquires" salvation in the first place. And that's a very complex issue when you get into all of the views on soteriology.

    I tend to be calvinist in the "losing salvation" question but I believe God's grace is extended to all. I also view salvation as a journey not just a "moment of salvation" where one "says a prayer" (although, for some, that is the defining moment for them, a culmination or pinnacle of the journey).

    So I don't think the issue is as simple as "can one lose his/her salvation"? since I'm not sure there really is a simple pat answer to it.

    But that's my theology right now...others would have a different pov.

    I like the Eastern Orthodox saying - we can know where God is, we cannot know where he is not.

  • At 1/05/2007 05:22:00 PM, Blogger wit4life

    WARNING: This is long , but if you want help with understanding Blasphemy, it's a great help.

    Regarding Blasphemy, we see Jesus' reaction to those rejecting and opposing his ministry
    Matt 12:25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 "Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house. 30 "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

    I got this from crosswalk.com

    Baker's Evangelical Dictionary_of Biblical Theology
    Blasphemy [N] [T] [E] [J] [S]
    Definition. In English "blasphemy" denotes any utterance that insults God or Christ (or Allah, or Muhammed) and gives deeply felt offense to their followers. In several states in the United States and in Britain, blasphemy is a criminal offense, although there have been few prosecution in this century. In Islamic countries generally no distinction is made between blasphemy and heresy, so that any perceived rejection of the Prophet or his message, by Muslims or non-Muslims, is regarded as blasphemous.
    The biblical concept is very different. There is no Hebrew word equivalent to the English "blasphemy, " and the Greek root blasphem- [blasfhmevw], which is used fifty-five times in the New Testament, has a wide meaning. In both Testaments the idea of blasphemy as something that offends the religious sensibilities of others is completely absent.
    The Old Testament At least five different Hebrew verbs are translated "blaspheme" in English translations. Translators choose "blaspheme" when, for instance, the verbs "curse" (qalal [l;l'q]), "revile" (gadap [@;d"G]), or "despise" (herep) are used with God as the object. No special verb is reserved for cursing or insults directed at God.
    However, to curse or insult God is an especially grave sin. It can be done by word or by deed. There is little distinction between the sinner who deliberately abuses the name of the Lord (Le 24:10-16), and the one who deliberately flouts his commandments (Nu 15:30-31). For both, the death penalty is prescribed. Similarly, the prayer of the Levites in Nehemiah 9 calls "awful blasphemies" all that Israelites did when they made the golden calf (9:18).
    David's flagrant sin with Bathsheba may be called a blasphemy (2 Sa 12:14), but a more likely translation is that David has "made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt" (NIV). Instead of testifying by lifestyle to the character of the Lord, David's action confirms the blasphemous belief of the nations that the Lord is no different from any other national god.
    The New Testament. The Greek root blasphem- [blasfhmevw] can be used of strong insults thrown at other people (Mark 15:29; Acts 13:45; Eph 4:31; 1 Peter 4:4), or even unjust accusations (Rom 3:8), but it is more usually used of insults offered to God (e.g., Rev 13:6; 16:9). Jesus is accused of blasphemy for pronouncing forgiveness and for claiming a unique relationship with God (Matt 26:65; Mark 2:7; John 10:33).
    Jesus picks up the Numbers 15 passage about blasphemy in his famous saying about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matt 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-29; Luke 12:10). Numbers 15:22-31 distinguishes between unintentional sin committed in ignorance (for which forgiveness is possible), and defiant sin, called blasphemy, for which there is no forgiveness. Jesus teaches that the blasphemy for which there is no forgiveness is that against the Holy Spirit; all other blasphemies, particularly those against "the Son of Man, " may be forgiven. Insults thrown at "the Son of Man" may be forgiven because they are committed in ignorance of who he really is: his heavenly glory does not appear on earth. But to ascribe obvious manifestations of the Spirit to the devil's agency is a much more serious offense not committed in ignorance.
    This downgrading of the significance of blasphemy against Christ marks an important difference between Christianity and Islam. Whereas Muslims are bound to defend the honor of the Prophet, for Christians Jesus is the one who says, "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me" (Rom 15:3, ; quoting Psalm 69:9). He deliberately accepts the vilification of others and prays for the forgiveness of those who insult him (Luke 23:34). In this, he sets an example for Christians to follow. According to Peter (1 Pe 2:19-25), they must accept insult and blasphemy without retaliation, as he did.
    There is only one kind of blasphemy that Christians must resist: the blasphemy they will bring on themselves if they cause a fellow believer to stumble through the thoughtless exercise of their freedom (Rom 14:15-16; 1 Cor 10:28-30).
    Stephen Motyer
    Bibliography. I. Howard Marshall, Theology 67 (1964): 65-67; R. Simpson. Blasphemy and the Law in a Plural Society.

  • At 1/05/2007 05:36:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    I think the idea of saying a magic formula that will damn you to hell is just as silly as the idea that saying a certain magic formula (*prayer*) will get you into heaven. Saying the words - even with good intention means nothing.

    I think ultimate denial of God - refusal to follow God is damning. And I'm really unsure if death is the final chance we have to make that choice. But to say it once on a YouTube video has little to do with one's eternal future (or honestly one's current spiritual situation since I figure a lot of confused seekers will be making the statement.)

    And to really get myself in trouble here... How is saying "I deny the Holy Spirit" all that different from saying "I deny that the Holy Spirit is active" ? Just something I was wondering recently...

  • At 1/05/2007 06:17:00 PM, Blogger Tiffanie

    Thanks wit. Long yes, but helpful indeed.

    I have to agree with Julie. I don't believe in an instant salvation prayer and I think that the "ten steps to salvation" are a joke. I suppose there isn’t a "magic formula" for getting into Hell either.

    And- I think that to deny that the Holy Spirit is active IS denying the Holy Spirit. How could the Spirit be if He were inactive? Isn't His existence His power and presence and work?

  • At 1/05/2007 07:26:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    I think people who permanently harden their hearts into a dead glacier separate themselves from God and make it very difficult or impossible for God's Spirit to come in, though even glaciers sometimes melt, as we are seeing these days.

    I think this permanent choice of cynicism over love, of persistent deliberate shutting out/denying of God with a knowing, careless attitude is what it means to blaspheme the holy spirit. Know one can judge this from the outside. And my opinion could be wrong.

    Most kids say, "I hate you," to their parents at some point, or "I wish I had a different mom/dad, or "You're not my friend," or "I don't love you," to someone they love toward whom they feel mad, betrayed or desperately helpless. These are natural psychological and/or developmental responses and do not signify a true termination of relationship. Perhaps a rebellion, a necessary separation and establishment of individual personhood, an inner reformation or an expression of confusion or rage. But stalking out is not the same as walking out and never looking back. Who has never slammed a door in anger? Or quietly simmered with hate, or guiltily brewed with doubt (perhaps compensated for by over-zealous certainty?) These are ways we struggle with God. I do not think this stuff, including YouTube pronouncements amount to blaspheme of the holy spirit per say.

  • At 1/06/2007 12:40:00 AM, Blogger Michele L

    I agree with many thoughts here. I personally am at a stage when I think very differently about Salvation, and the "afterlife". It is sad that they have this site. I think very differently about God's Grace and Love now. i don't believe in the "Ticket to Heaven prayer anymore, or that it comes in an exact moment.
    I lean on God's Grace and Love. I may err in understanding, but God know's my heart is sincere, and I do my best to grow in the journey. I certainly think that this is a difficult topic with a wide array of answers.

  • At 1/06/2007 06:50:00 PM, Blogger medium guy

    Great thread!

    I think it fits under the category, already mentioned, of "no quick fixes." Culturally speaking, we are obsessed with one-hit wonders, shortcuts, etc. Why exercise sensibly when you can either take pills or have gastric bypass? Why develop genuine relationships and friendships in communities when you can meet superficially? So, in relation to communion with God or lack thereof, no quick fixes, rather, one's relationship with God is a sum total of all decisions, thoughts, and intentions of our hearts as we journey through life.

    Yeah, that's right, medium guy is back!!!!


  • At 1/06/2007 10:46:00 PM, Blogger jenelle

    I happened to just read this passage tonight, so I thought I'd comment. I tend to read this, along with others, that Jesus was speaking directly to those who were calling him "possessed by an unclean spirit." I think the whole "blasphemy" bit speaks of a hypothetical reality that possibly could never actually happen. But that it was, instead, Jesus using hyperbole, once again. I think the most powerful agrument is that an "unforgivable sin" disagrees with the rest of Scripture.

    I think Jesus was just being a good parable-teller at the moment. He did such a good job that we're still talking about it today!

    Pleased to meet everyone...cheers.

  • At 1/07/2007 05:41:00 AM, Blogger Aaron Wagner

    I've been reading the posts here for a few months and this one is finally prompting me to respond.

    I attend a christian church with a few of the "emerging women" in this community and I'm an atheist. I didn't upload a video to the blasphemy challenge, although I would like to see the DVD they are giving away and I'm tempted to purchase it anyway.

    To give you a point of view from an atheist mindset I'll try to make some hopefully accurate statements.

    Most atheist (but probably not all) not only reject God, the Holy Spirit, and the divinity of Jesus, but they also do not believe in any type of afterlife and therefore the concept of salvation. The concept of blasphemy is also a moot point for them and the challenge itself is more of a way to engage an open discussion with like-minded people and to thumb their noses toward people who do seriously believe in blasphemy, etc. That is my take on the whole thing.

    I know some of the young people submitting videos are on a journey and that they may indeed change their mind about their belief, but my guess is that most of them really do know and understand what they are doing and saying and are pretty firmly set in denying these things. They usually want "proof" and will not (cannot) take things on faith. This is to say nothing of their morals and ethics. Check out 16 common myths about atheism for some additional atheist insight.

    I attend a christian church for a few reasons. I was raised luthern and I'm comfortable in my knowledge of the customs, traditions and general christian theology. I love the specific community my wife and I belong to and am encouraged by the open mindedness I see there. I pick up great everyday advice on how to better live my life ("start with a bias of love") and I can even share my own ideas. I quietly remove the supernatural stuff from the songs, readings, and messages and focus on what is really applicable to the here and now. I don't push my non-belief and they don't push me to believe. It's a pretty good deal and I feel pretty lucky to have come into such a community.

    Anyway. I enjoy reading through the posts here and hope you don't mind a "heretic" in your midst. I'd be glad to answer questions about my specific christian-atheist situation, but I don't wish to debate the existence of God, etc... more and more I'm becoming something of a non-theist.

  • At 1/07/2007 02:15:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Hi Aaron,

    Thanks for weighing in your authentic thoughts and experiences. We are all heretics in one way or another when we speak the uncensored truth of our lives -- whether heretics to society, church or our own unconscious "shoulds" and cookie cutters. So don't worry about that.

    I think you make a good point about those who do not (cannot) believe without proof. I tend to be one of those people, yet my experience, logic and "proof" leads me to a paradoxical simultaneous disbelieve and profound faith. Do they cancel each other out? Or do they each add a needed element to the other, like yin and yang?

    Love to hear more about your atheist-Christian perspective.

  • At 1/07/2007 03:13:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    Hi Aaron,
    Glad to see you joined the dialog. You know I have been waiting ;) Hope to hear more from you.

  • At 1/07/2007 10:06:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Hi Aaron - welcome to Emerging Women and thanks for delurking...

    Your post made me laugh in that you expressed in many ways a bigger commitment to follow in the way of Christ than a lot of Christians I know. The whole concept of the afterlife and who's in or out gets in the way a lot of times of actually loving others. I still think the whole faith thing is important, but often we get the priorities messed up, imho.

  • At 1/08/2007 09:40:00 AM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Yes, Julie. "Us vs. Them" "In vs. Out" tends to breed divisiveness, insecurity, pride and war, rather than love. As one pastor put it, "keep your eyes on your own paper." I think Paul said in Galatians 5.6, "the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." Or one might even be so heretical as to say, "The only thing that counts is love, which is an expression of faith."

  • At 1/09/2007 07:31:00 AM, Blogger Nancy

    Just a thought...if a person denies the Bible as spiritually authoritative, then why use any verse from it to promote such a campaign of "blasphemy"? You can't defy Jesus or the Holy Spirit if he did not exist...


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