How can Blasphemy be Holy?
Our idea of God comes from St. Anselm: God is the highest thought that can be thought.
If there is a God, and he lives up to all of our expectations of him, (and he must, or else he is not God), then he would not be so petty as to become furiously angry and result to violent retribution during those occasions in which we, equipped with our limited mental capabilities, accidentally or purposefully call him names he doesn’t like.
Blasphemy, then, can never really be what it is generally considered to be: a personal insult or attack on God, (and a very very bad thing), because God cannot be proud and stubborn enough, and have his feelings so easily hurt, as to warrant all of the fuss made over it.
In our view, blasphemy is actually the practice of speaking out against dated religious customs and clearing the way for fuller appreciations of truth. It is dangerous only if there is just one path to salvation, as many religious traditions hold, but luckily this theory is easily dismissed. There are many religions, and there always have been. Never has one religion reached more than a fraction of the human race, and religions are uniformly limited to social and geographical regions. If any of them really were the only path to salvation, God’s saving grace is extended to a small, predetermined number people and God himself is an unjust bigot, which contradicts the traditional attributes associated with Him.
At one time, all of the current world religions were new, blasphemous ideas, whose followers were sought out and persecuted for stirring up trouble; which demonstrates that every spiritual idea can be blasphemous, even if it later becomes The Truth. Jesus was often called a blasphemer, as were most other prophets and spiritual leaders.
Blasphemy is a scary thing to many people because most religions begin from a fear that they will be exposed. Every new spiritual tradition is born out of an older religious tradition, and automatically generates a great deal of opposition. To overcome criticism, the resulting theology must include certain safeguards, guaranteeing the new faith as the prime vehicle for Wisdom. The safeguards include statements like, “This is the Truth, and if you don’t believe it, you will suffer, in the worst ways I can imagine, for ever and ever.”
It must be understood that a God who punishes based on religious preference is the enemy of all noble qualities of mankind. Goodness, Truth, Justice and Kindness flee from this God. The search for wisdom, perfection and self-actualization are too dangerous to consider. This God is also the enemy of every great thinker, and had those gifted few been more wary of divine retribution, humanity as a whole would still be walking around picking berries.
Here at Holy Blasphemy we are searching for a better god. If a particular god – say the god of the Christians, Jews or Muslims, offends our sense or reason or morality, by definition that god is too limited to be real. Our dismissal of concepts of God is not atheistic or anti-religious, because it is only our respect and belief in the inherent perfection of God (as an ideal) that leads us to refuse these limited human conceptions. The point is that Blasphemy is not an attack on God. It is the quest for an improved God, and the sacred duty of the spiritually eager.
Derek Murphy is a writer and artist from Oregon, currently working on his PhD thesis on revolutionary literature while traveling the globe. He writes about comparative religion, popular culture and literary theory. If you’d like to hear about his upcoming projects or books, you can follow him on Twitter, join the Facebook page, or subscribe by RSS.