The term blasphemy refers to saying something about God that is disrespectful. It can also refer to degrading religious concepts or literature. Blasphemy can be included in speech, an act, writing, music, or art. Explore examples of blasphemy found in everyday life.
Blasphemy in the Bible
When you are talking about blasphemy, it is typically a biblical term. Not only is it found in the Old and New Testaments, but the word itself is rooted in religion. To say something is blasphemous, it means the action or words are in some way, shape or form against God or Gods, depending on the religion.
You can see blasphemy mentioned in several places within the KJV Bible including Mark 7:22-23:
Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain
To take the Lord's name in vain is considered blasphemy, according to the second commandment.
Resisting the Power of the Holy Spirit
Resisting the power of the Holy Spirit is referenced in the Bible several times including Matthew 12:31.
Doubting God’s Good Intentions
To state that God is unkind, unjust, or cruel is blasphemous. This can be seen in several areas of the Bible including Luke 12:10.
Blasphemy in Everyday Life
Blasphemy is all around us. It can be found in not only the Bible, but in everyday life as well. Explore different examples of blasphemy.
Co-Opting the Name or Image of Jesus
Some consider rapper Kanye West's album name Yeezus and his consideration of himself as equal to Jesus to be blasphemous.
Burning a Religious Document
Burning a religious document such as the Bible or the Qu'ran is considered blasphemy.
Damaging a Church
Vandalizing a church is a form of blasphemy. This is because you are destroying a religious object. It also falls under sacrilege.
Worshipping the Devil
Worshipping Satan is blasphemous. Worshipping Satan is the abandonment of God and seen as blasphemy.
Creating or Depicting Blasphemous Art
Some examples of creating or depicting blasphemous art include the following:
- Artist Andres Serrano created what he called artwork by submerging a plastic replica of the crucified Jesus Christ in a container of his own urine and photographing it as a means, he stated, of exposing the ills of religion. However, this 1987 piece of work was considered highly blasphemous and was destroyed in 2011 during protests in France. The name of the work was Piss Christ.
- In the popular television show Sex and the City, one episode featured what some considered to be blasphemous artwork. The episode revolved largely around a painting of a woman, crucified as Jesus Christ. It was featured in a New York gallery.
Inciting Others Against a Religion
Pastor Terry Jones is the head of a church in Florida who, in 2010, is considered blasphemous of Islamic religion due to his suggestion to hold a "Burn the Qu'ran Day," his publication of a book entitled Islam Is of the Devil, and his purveyorship of shirts and cups that spread the same message.
Printing the Image of Mohammed
Islam's Prophet Mohammad is often the source of blasphemy. His image, according to Islamic law, is not to be printed. Yet, many cartoonists and others around the world have been considered blasphemous for doing so. In 2006, Norwegian and Danish newspapers faced serious backlash and threats of retribution from Islamic nations for printing cartoons that featured Prophet Mohammad. While the act of printing the cartoons, themselves, would have been considered blasphemy unto itself, the cartoons also featured the Prophet in poses that were considered "unflattering," particularly one in which the Prophet's image was made to look like a terrorist.
Portraying a Religious Figure in a Perverse Manner
Animated television shows have been accused of blasphemy for portraying religious figures in a perverse manner. For example:
- The animated American television show, The Simpsons, has been taken to task for blasphemy after broadcasting episodes in which the devil purportedly was bullying God, amongst various other perceived blasphemies.
- Also under fire for broadcasting blasphemous language is the American animated comedy, Family Guy. Known for its offbeat humor, Family Guy featured Jesus in one particular episode that painted Him in a perverted manner, causing a firestorm of protest.
- In 2010, American animated comedy South Park also produced images of the Prophet Mohammad in an episode that featured the Prophet as a bear mascot. Angered by the perceived blasphemy, one Islamic website threatened the producers of the show for what they deemed as a high level of disrespect for the Prophet.
More Blasphemy Examples
Additional examples of blasphemy from the news include the following:
- In 2019, a Hindu principal in Pakistan was detained for committing blasphemy against the prophet during his lesson, inciting a riot. Pakistan has laws against blasphemy.
- In 2020, a school girl received death threats after creating a blasphemous post on social media. It was ruled by the French government that blasphemy is not a crime.
The Word on Blasphemy
Blasphemy isn’t just a biblical construct. It can be found all around the globe, and it is still an issue today. Some countries even have punishable laws against blasphemy. Now that you know a bit about blasphemy, you might give examples of code of ethics a look.