Sin of the day: Blasphemy

April 17, 2011 • 9:37 am

For Holy Week we’re having a parade of Catholic sins. Here’s a really, really bad one—in fact, a mortal sin that, if unconfessed, will take you to Hell.  It’s blasphemy.  The Catholic God is a jealous god—in fact, a horrible megalomaniac—and nothing pisses him off more than slurring his good name. The Catholic Catechism, the official doctrine of the Church, defines blasphemy like this:

2148 Blasphemy is directly opposed to the second commandment. It consists in uttering against God—inwardly or outwardly—words of hatred, reproach, or defiance; in speaking ill of God; in failing in respect toward him in one’s speech; in misusing God’s name. St. James condemns those “who blaspheme that honorable name [of Jesus] by which you are called.” The prohibition of blasphemy extends to language against Christ’s Church, the saints, and sacred things. It is also blasphemous to make use of God’s name to cover up criminal practices, to reduce peoples to servitude, to torture persons or put them to death. The misuse of God’s name to commit a crime can provoke others to repudiate religion. Blasphemy is contrary to the respect due God and his holy name. It is in itself a grave sin.

2162 The second commandment forbids every improper use of God’s name. Blasphemy is the use of the name of God, of Jesus Christ, of the Virgin Mary, and of the saints in an offensive way.

And here from the Catechism—more official current dogma of the Catholic Church, is what happens if you disrespect God and don’t confess it:

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.” The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

From Summa Theologica, here’s the sophisticated theologian most loved by accomodationists, Thomas Aquinas, asserting that blasphemy is a sin far greater than murder.

Reply to Objection 1. If we compare murder and blasphemy as regards the objects of those sins, it is clear that blasphemy, which is a sin committed directly against God, is more grave than murder, which is a sin against one’s neighbor. On the other hand, if we compare them in respect of the harm wrought by them, murder is the graver sin, for murder does more harm to one’s neighbor, than blasphemy does to God. Since, however, the gravity of a sin depends on the intention of the evil will, rather than on the effect of the deed, as was shown above (I-II, 73, 8), it follows that, as the blasphemer intends to do harm to God’s honor, absolutely speaking, he sins more grievously that the murderer. Nevertheless murder takes precedence, as to punishment, among sins committed against our neighbor.

It’s beyond belief that Catholics see their god as kind and loving, and yet also see him as someone who, if he’s not given proper respect, will send them down to boil for eternity in molten sulfur.  Even the worst boss wouldn’t do that to someone who didn’t show proper deference.  The Catholic attitude towards blasphemy is immoral.

61 thoughts on “Sin of the day: Blasphemy

  1. It is also blasphemous to make use of God’s name to cover up criminal practices,

    Perhaps Cardinal Law missed that bit of the catechism…

    to reduce peoples to servitude

    Because the church has historically been such a staunch opponent to slavery…

  2. “Even the worst boss wouldn’t do that to someone who didn’t show proper deference.” No they’d take steps to fire the employee’s ass…I wonder if that wouldn’t work for the RC church or indeed god… I guess a demented boss may not fire the employee, but keep them on and make their life absolutely miserable until the person “quit”…seen that happen too…

  3. Not to forget Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws, which is not merely hell, but execution to hasten your journey there.

  4. ‘For the lord thy god is a jealous god. visiting the iniquities of the father onto the children until the third and fourth generations thereof.’ And fair, too! And he surely hates blasphemy.

  5. It consists in uttering against God—inwardly or outwardly—words of hatred, reproach, or defiance;

    Does “KISS MY ARSE, LORD JEBUS” qualify as blasphemy?

    Just askin’.

    And while we’re on the subject… most denizens of this place have probably seen it already; but if you haven’t, here is Arch-Blasphemer Pat Condell’s best video yet.

    1. no, because you didn’t spell his name right.

      it’s JESUS.

      so, correctly, and in Americanese:

      “Kiss my fat ass Jesus!”

      would be a proper blasphemic statement.

      oh, and consider myself to have actually said it, out loud, rather than as a merely rhetorical statement.

      1. Of course, if I wanted to be even more technical, I suppose I’d have to go back to the original Hebrew name he possessed for a proper blaspheme, as well as the expression of blasphemy itself.

        meh, it just ain’t worth the effort.

  6. Aquinas said that blasphemy was worse than murder? The same Aquinas who said that masturbation was worse than rape?

    Clearly a man given to clear thinking. You can see why his pronouncements are still regarded with such respect.

    1. The scary thing is that Aquinas really *was* quite a clear thinker. His stuff is carefully argued and systematically arranged. It’s the underlying assumptions he bases his thinking on that are batshit insane.

      1. Not sure I agree. He may have been someone who spent a lot of time thinking long and hard about stuff, but anyone who after a long session of serious pondering comes up with masturbation=evil>rape=evil is not so much barking up the wrong tree as he is in the wrong forest.

      2. Nah. Any person who is so blind they can’t see that their argument is disproven by reductio ad absurdum is not a clear thinker. Clear thinkers realize their assumptions are batshit insane when their conclusions are absurd.

        1. Actually, when you think about it, murder IS blasphemy (or it should be to religious person). Life is God-given, so to take a person’s life is a direct affront to God. (And yet, strangely, it’s the religious conservatives in the US who are pro-death penalty.)

          Also, what about multiple murders? Still just neighbors, sure, but what about if you wipe out the entire human race? Would saying “God kinda screwed up on the human spine” be worse than wiping out his creation? Aquinas was an idiot.

  7. This raises an issue that I’ve pondered. In the phraseology of a former boss (with which I have no quarrel), Aw, gawdammit to hell, how the hell could we swear if there were no deities gawdamit?

    (I guess there is at least SOME utility to religion as long as I don’t have to subscribe.)

      1. Poor Jesus. 🙁 And poor Santa; people will get presents on Christmas even if Santa doesn’t exist. At least Santa wasn’t tortured into giving presents to children… (or was he?!?!)

      2. Unless you believe in original sin, in which case you can’t really help being a sinner no matter what you do/don’t do. Cheery isn’t it, this religion stuff?

  8. ” The misuse of God’s name to commit a crime can provoke others to repudiate religion. ”
    Gee. Are they sure they are not talking about His Eminence Cardinal Law of Boston?

  9. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

    So I would be blaspheming against my god if I do not blaspheme against somebody else’s? God that’s god-awful!

  10. I loved a t-shirt I saw a few years ago, it had two Jesuses in the throes of a doggie-style sex act. The caption said “Jesus Fucking Christ”. I’m guessing the church would find that blasphemous too. But just to show I’m a good sport, and ever more psychologically well-adjusted than the Almighty, I occasionally will let slip out a “Charles Fucking Darwin!”

  11. “The Catholic attitude towards blasphemy is immoral.”

    It is not only immoral, but severely pathological, just as the Catholic attitude towards sex and life in general. If we would dress up in purple robes and pointed, glittering hats, we would be perceived as being bonkers, but they (the Catholic clergy) doesn’t view it that way about themselves. Is there something like group psychosis?

  12. What the Roman Catholics (an organization I left around the age when people usually start thinking for themselves) make up as rules and force on their members, is of no consequence to me. Many clubs have ridicuouls rules: they neither concern nor interest me (other than to, disingineously, I admit, make fun of).

    However, what DOES concern us all, is what our respective governments put into actual law.
    This (below) list is way too long and I’m embarrassed by the fact that my own, Northwestern-European, country is on this list, and that many of the more ‘modern’ countries on it, while currently not actively enforcing their blasphemy laws, resist any and all attempts to get these medieval laws off their books:

    1. Hear, hear. There are those who say such laws, tacitly ignored, are not important in the big picture. I say it’s like the broken window theory, only in reverse. The little things, if ignored, set the stage for larger actions whenever needed.

    2. It’s rather distressing how much freedom of expression, even in the West, depends on people not claiming offense. It’s an area where the founders of the US deserves some credit. I love that fictional Onion report of a Supreme Court ruling in which Ruth Bader Ginsburg writes for the majority.

      Added Ginsburg, “In short, freedom of speech means the freedom of fucking speech, you ignorant cocksuckers.”

      1. Indeed, that’s the same spirit that moved me to type my response #16 a bit farther down in this thread.

        People are welcome to believe and say all sorts of weird shit. If you want to think that you need to find your way to Gate 7 9/16 to catch your flight to Neverunderland to attend school to become a Jedish Magistrate, knock yourself out. Just don’t be surprised when the rest of the world thinks you’re nuts, and tells you so to your face.

        And when your delusions spread to the realm of public health policy, such as the Catholic Church’s genocidal propaganda campaign that’s murdered countless millions of Africans by making them think that wearing condoms leads to a fate worse than death by AIDS…well, in that case, you damn well better expect to be shouted down.



  13. I say “Oh god” when I have sex, but never “Oh Jesus” – will that send me to hell?

    I will try “Oh Yahweh” tonight just to make sure…I wonder what my wife will make of that? 🙂

  14. 2148 Blasphemy is directly opposed to the second commandment. It consists in uttering against God—inwardly or outwardly—words of hatred,

    I fucking hate the Catholic gods — each and every one of them. They can go rot in their hell for eternity for all I care.


    Can you believe the insane psychopathy of the Catholic gods? Even Hitler wasn’t as bad as YHWH was to the Midians. And Jesus damned well better be ashamed of himself for sending people to Hell for trivialities like failing in one’s posterior osculatory obligations to him.

    or defiance;

    If I ever meet Jesus, I will fucking rip his nuts off and shove them so far down YHWH’s throat even the Holy Shit won’t be able to reach them.

    in speaking ill of God;

    That fucking cunt raped a married woman before she and her husband could consummate their marriage. What an asshole.

    in failing in respect toward him in one’s speech;

    I spit on all the Catholic gods. Erm…sorry for the typo — that “p” should have been an “h.”

    in misusing God’s name.

    God is love.

    St. James condemns those “who blaspheme that honorable name [of Jesus] by which you are called.”

    Jesus was such a tool, doing cheap necromancy by leading those demon-infested pigs to their deaths.

    The prohibition of blasphemy extends to language against Christ’s Church,

    You mean the world’s biggest international child rape racket?

    the saints,

    Eusebius bragged about the way he was a Liar for Christ™.

    and sacred things.

    Would you believe? They’ve found enough of Jesus’s foreskins to make a ten-foot cock. The joke is, though, the little prick never even used his. (Yeah, right. Like he really spent his whole “ministry” with a dozen guys waiting hand and foot on him — it’s just teh wimminz who never got to benefit from his “services.”)

    Did I miss anything?



    EAC Memographer
    BAAWA Knight of Blasphemy
    “All but God can prove this sentence true.”

    1. I get your point in a big way.

      I’ll be off then; back right after I’ve washed my eyes out with soap.

      1. A bit over-the-top? Sorry ’bout that…it must have been my response to the “misusing God’s name” bit — I know, I paused before going there. I’ll try to avoid that kind of offensiveness in the future….



        1. No, offensiveness with a perfectly valid point is the best sort, please go there as often as you think necessary!

        2. A reply may appear anon indicating that “the misuse was my favorite.” That was me. Forgot to log out of my other online identity.

          But “what an asshole” has an understated, artless charm, too.

  15. It’s beyond belief that Catholics see their god as kind and loving, and yet also see him as someone who, if he’s not given proper respect, will send them down to boil for eternity in molten sulfur.

    Not really, if you think about it. It seems reminiscent of the attitude exhibited by abused children and spouses, doesn’t it?

  16. Down here we have a saying called “remind me not to”. So for example if Thomas Aquinas were to say one of his ridiculous upside down things he always says, then we would say something like “remind me not to call him for root canal”.

  17. I went to Catholic grade and high schools (but successfully resisted my father’s effort to send me to a non-secular university), and once in high school swore at a student who deliberately bumped into me in the hallway. One of the teaching nuns saw and heard the incident, and said to me, “Are we forgetting our second commandment?”, to which I replied, “No, sister. It was’nt in vain – I MEANT it.”

  18. “It is also blasphemous to use Gods name …to reduce peoples to servitude…”

    Wait a sec…isn’t that the very definition of religion?

  19. A topical joke for Easter.

    Jesus walked into an inn, handed the innkeeper 4 large nails and asked “Can you put me up for the night?”

    Does this count as blasphemy?

  20. This definition works as well for blasphemy as it does as written:

    IMPIETY, n. Your irreverence toward my deity.

    – Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary.

  21. Blasphemy is of course a victimless non-crime. There’s no one there to blaspheme, and even if there were, why would it care?

    It is an excellent example of how religion often has its moral priorities completely wrong.

  22. Sin & Evil: In the Aramaic Language and culture that Jesus taught in, the terms for “sin” and “evil” were archery terms. When the archer shot at the target and missed the scorekeeper yelled the Aramaic word for sin. It meant that you were off the mark, take another shot. The concept of sin was to be positive mental feedback. Sin is when you are operating from inaccurate information and thus a perceptual mis-take. When you become conscious and aware if the results of your inaccuracy you have the option to reconsider what you have learned and do as they do in Hollywood, “do another take.” By the way, where the arrow fell when it missed the target was referred to as evil.

  23. Blasphemy more grave than murder…and that, dear friends, lays bare and exposes the truth that religion is poison.

    Plus, the church is even historically wrong.

    The second commandment as originally framed was not about saying “goddammit” or “Jesus H. Christ” when one hits one’s thumb with a hammer.

    It was about honoring a contract. In those days, there were no written contracts — for the simple reason that nobody was literate. So, a promise to deliver 12 goats for the feast had to be backed up with an oath — and that oath was to the deity. “I swear by Yahweh that I will deliver those goats.”

    The commandment is about not delivering goats — not about thought crimes or impertinent speech.

    This is MORE important to the church than murder?


  24. If god is omnipresent & omnipotent, where the hell is he if he is not also in hell?

    How do they know hell is hot??? Have they been there? In Germanic religion it does not appear to have been hot or a place of punishment, so if I fail to get into Valhalla I guess a cold damp grave awaits!

    1. In Germanic religion, you only get to Valhǫll or Fólkvangr if you die in battle. Helheim is the destination for most of the rest. It’s never described as a place of punishment, but more a realm of eternal ennui (which is how I imagine the Christian heaven).

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