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What actually constitutes blasphemy?

(57 Posts)
absent Sun 20-Jan-13 15:14:40

Talking within a Christian context, is blasphemy the same as sacrilege? Does it apply only to God (tripartite or otherwise) or would it be blasphemous, say, to scrawl obscenities but without any reference to God over an altar? Does it apply to other biblical figures such as the Virgin Mary or Saint Paul. Presumably it would be blasphemous to spit out the communion wafer and stamp on it in a Catholic church, but would it be so in an Anglican church? Do we still gave a blasphemy law in their country? Why isn't it blasphemous for the pope to downgrade a saint? Surely he can't claim infallibility when he is undoing something done by a previous (infallible) pope?

I have never really thought about this before and have no idea why it has come into my head today, but I should really like to know.

absent Sun 20-Jan-13 15:15:24

have not gave a blasphemy law. Sorry.

j07 Sun 20-Jan-13 15:19:36

I suppose sacrilege is different. That implies things like weeing on a memorial stone etc. Blasphemy is more written or spoken. The altar thing would be sacrilege.

Personally, when I use the phrase "Oh God!" something in the back of my mind tells me I am referring to Thor, just to be on the safe side.

Spitting out the wafer thing is sacrilege. Whiuch church wouldn't make any difference.

I sup[pose the Pope would have his reasons. I dunno. [shrug]


j07 Sun 20-Jan-13 15:21:08

Why have I wasted so much Gransnet space there? confused #howdidthathappen

Lilygran Sun 20-Jan-13 15:45:12

Scrawling obscenities on a religious item or building or using them for unintended and/or unsavoury purposes would be sacrilege. In Christianity, taking the name of The Lord (your) God in vain would be blasphemy. So would representations of eg Christ or the Virgin in obscene situations or poses. And I think most faiths would consider the same applied to equivalences. I'm not RC so I'll leave the detail of Papal infallibility to them as knows. But I believe it is very circumscribed and certainly doesn't apply to everything every Pope says. The Russians were very cross about Pussy Riot performing a rude turn in a church, weren't they?

Lilygran Sun 20-Jan-13 16:01:23

mrshat Sun 20-Jan-13 16:40:43

I think Lilygran explained it beautifully and I'm RC. Not sure what Papal infallibility has to do with it tho'. The teaching is, the Pope's infallibility only refers to matter of 'faith and morals' - is that any help? confused

Lilygran Sun 20-Jan-13 17:47:08

Thank you, mrshat.

cheelu Sun 20-Jan-13 18:21:58

I think blasphemy constitutes of somone using Gods name in a negative manner..

absent Sun 20-Jan-13 18:32:34

So would the question, "Why does god allow earthquakes and famine and just let people suffer and die?" actually be blasphemous?

I think papal infallibility is on matters of doctrine. Is there anything more a matter a matter of doctrine than saints?

Don't Anglicans believe that the communion wafer is a symbol while Catholics believe it is the actual body of Christ? There is a big difference which has, of course, hugely affected the evolution of modern Europe.

Ps Does anybody know about the blasphemy law? Did they try to use that when there were objections to Jerry Springer, the Opera or had it already been repealed? (My objection would have been aesthetic and on the grounds of mindlessness rather than religious.)

Lilygran Sun 20-Jan-13 18:47:16

It's fine to question God's authority, argue with God, complain to or about God. The Bible is full of people doing just that. Absent there's a link to a news item about the blasphemy laws a bit further back. Some Anglicans believe what Roman Catholics believe about the communion bread and wine. Some don't. Either way, they are treated as sacred. If you ask anything about what Anglicans believe, you will always get the answer, 'some do & some don't'. But the rituals and the liturgy are pretty similar.

j07 Sun 20-Jan-13 18:54:39

The question isn't blasphemous.

Surely they all think it's a symbol. nobody's that thick

Lilygran Sun 20-Jan-13 19:29:18

Yes, they are sunshine

cheelu Sun 20-Jan-13 19:37:14

If you dont believe that God is responsible for good things then why do you believe he is responsible for the bad

nanaej Sun 20-Jan-13 20:17:16

I always thought blasphemy was deliberately being offensive about a deity and or rituals & core beliefs of a religion, e.g making unpleasant pictures of jesus/mary etc. or perhaps putting rude words into prayers etc.

of course what causes offence to one person is a 'bit of a laugh' to someone else!

absent Sun 20-Jan-13 21:22:04

So would there be an issue if, for example, someone suggested that Jesus was gay? Suggesting that someone is gay in our society would not be considered offensive by that society (possibly by individuals but not by society as a whole). Would it be blasphemous to be literal about the "disciple that Jesus loved"? Btw who was it?

Lilygran Sun 20-Jan-13 22:31:15

This question is beyond the limits of my theological knowledge. I don't think there can be anything offensive about speculation and discussion. God gave us inquiring minds.

nanaej Sun 20-Jan-13 22:37:13

If I believed in Her I would say She did!wink

j07 Sun 20-Jan-13 22:37:34

It was John. And I don't know if that would be blasphemous or not. I personally find it offensive.

Ana Sun 20-Jan-13 22:45:00

Why does God (if you believe) have to be of either or any sex?

jeni Sun 20-Jan-13 22:48:03

I think there may be a problem with the translation from the Greek with the word love.
In Greek I think there are several words that we translate as love.

Caritas is one , I think some are

The fact is we should go back to the original text and look at that.

Incidentally,I find it it intriguing that we have suggestions that Yeshua was

1 gay

2 married to Mary Magdalene!

j07 Sun 20-Jan-13 22:50:49

He doesn't need to be. He's not really. It's just a label. 'He' is just the historically accepted way of referring to God. But as he is seen as God the Father, it sounds daft to call him 'she'.

j07 Sun 20-Jan-13 22:51:12

that was to Ana

Ana Sun 20-Jan-13 22:52:20

I agree - that's what I meant really.

j07 Sun 20-Jan-13 22:52:55

I don't think we can understand the love Jesus inspired in his followers.