The Origins Of Blasphemy
Blasphemy has naturally been around since the first hominid created the first gods. It’s not just in regards to the Christian God, but any god, from religions long past, and several different types of mythology from various regions and cultures. Blasphemy can also be taken to mean various different things regarding religion, or just profane language in general. Blasphemy can be one of several things, such as, speaking with intentional disrespect of a god or religion, for example, “I can’t believe Joseph never suggested Mary get a paternity test.” Or it can be using the name or term for a god as a curse, such as “Jesus Harold Christ On A Bicycle!” Other ways to commit blasphemy, according to some, are speaking of a belief in something other than their culture’s religion of choice. For example, “I think that worshiping that poo on the lawn is much more intelligent than worshiping a big invisible man.” In other circles, blasphemy can also mean speaking ill of a subject that is considered sacred by a majority or even an individual. For another example, “Learning long division is for retards.”
However, for the most part, blasphemy is mainly just the defamatory use of or speech regarding a religious or spiritual entity or belief. The origins of the word are more easily dissected; the act of blasphemy itself is much older. Since the first gods were ever conceived by the mind of man, there’s always going to be some guy, off to the left saying, “That’s a bunch of crap.” In some countries, however, that guy might have had his head cut off, so blasphemy is usually restricted to a party with like minds. There are still laws against blasphemy today, in many countries. The word blasphemy, like so many others in the English language, has European roots. Mainly from “blasphemein”; a two part word made from blaptein, “to injure”, and pheme, “reputation”. The word also has roots in Middle English, Old French, and Late Latin.
Blasphemy In Islam
Blasphemy in the Islamic religion is similar in many ways to Christian blasphemy, but in other ways, contrasts sharply away from that of Christianity. Some of the similar ways to blaspheme would be speaking negatively about any of the prophets found in the Quran, or that there are any other gods, or, to say that Jesus Christ, (son of Mary and Joseph) is the son of God. However, it’s not blasphemy, (such as it is in Christianity) to use interjections such as “God!”, “Oh my God!”, for example, as expletives. It’s blasphemy instead, if you were to say, “Jesus” or “Holy Crap!” because it denotes worship to something other than God. There are several different verses within the Quran that deal with blasphemy, such as:
“When ye hear the signs of Allah held in defiance and ridicule, ye are not to sit with them unless they turn to a different theme. [Qur’an 4:140]”
“And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: “to us our deeds and to you yours; peace be to you. [Qur’an 28: 55]”
“Hold to forgiveness, command what is right; but turn away from the ignorant. [Qur’an 7:199]”
The thing is, when reviewing the different verses found in the Quran that speak out about blasphemy, many of them contradict Muslim laws against blasphemy. Usually, being found guilty of blasphemy in the Islamic religion means either life imprisonment or execution. However, these lines from the Quran suggest that there should be no earthly sentencing for blasphemy. Blasphemy in Muslim religion is a sin; if a Muslim individual was to die before they had repented the sin of blasphemy, they would not be able to enter into Heaven. This comes from what is stated in the Quran; “He forgives all sins, except disbelieving in God (blasphemy)”.
Blasphemy In Catholic, Christian, and Jewish Culture
Blasphemy is thought of in many different ways by different Christian denominations, such as Catholic, Baptists, etc. Blasphemy, disrespect of God or the Torah is condemned entirely in the Jewish religion. The Torah states that anyone found guilty of committing blasphemy “shall surely be put to death,” as per the third book of the Torah, in Leviticus 24:16. There are several other capital crimes in the Torah as well, such as prostitution, disobedience to one’s parents, murder, sacrifices to Molech (a bull god who supposedly eats children, otherwise thought to be a demon). The list goes on and on. Suffice to say, that you had to be a particularly good person to be a Jew in ancient times.
In Christianity, forms of blasphemy are sometimes disputed, but many sources agree that it is an “eternal sin.” In Luke 12:10 the sin of blasphemy is spoken of as unforgivable. However, there are no actual definitions of what blasphemy is, or how it’s punishable in the different Biblical and apocryphal books. When the Christian religion was still emerging, and in the time of Christ, blasphemy and warning against blasphemy, may have been thought of as warnings. Awareness against the possibility that the deity might create a direct action against the individual that spoke out against Him, such as a curse, or being “struck dead by lightning.”
In the Catholic religious denomination of Christianity, individuals are able to make reparation prayers to be forgiven for the sin of blasphemy. The prayers were introduced first by Sister Marie of St Peter in 1844, one example being The Golden Arrow Holy Face Devotion, that was eventually approved by the Pope Leo XIII in 1885. The Catholic Raccolta prayer book contains a number of such prayers, that can be spoken aloud and repeated as reparations for blasphemy.