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What is Blasphemy?

Updated on December 27, 2016

Blasphemy is considered as a religious offense, consists of scornful, disrespectful, or insulting words or actions directed against God. In its gravest form, blasphemy is a deliberate, intentional attack on the honor or holiness of God. Blasphemy is generally expressed through speech by imprecations directed against God or commands for God to curse another, but it may also find expression through actions—shaking one's fist toward the heavens or desecrating a sacred object—or even in unexpressed thoughts.

Traditionally blasphemy has been considered among the gravest of sins. Ancient paganism proscribed it; the law of Moses made it an offense punishable by death ("He who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death"; Leviticus 24:16). Christ spoke of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as a wrong without pardon either in this world or the next (Matthew 12:24-33).

The Roman law code of Emperor Justinian prescribed capital punishment as the penalty for blasphemy. Though such a penalty is unthinkable today, the gravity of blasphemy as a sin has not lessened. In the language of moral theologians, blasphemy still is a sin which, by its entire nature, is grave or mortal. Unless emotional or mental distress diminishes full awareness of its gravity, it cannot be committed without serious guilt. In Roman Catholic canon law, blasphemy is a crime; its penalty is left to the prudent discretion of a superior (Canon 2323).


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    • plutopanes profile image


      7 years ago from revolving round the sun

      well as we are on the topic of blasphemy and how unthinkable punishments for blasphemy is today, i thought i would add today's news to this.

      Pakistan (that Nation formed in the name of Islam) has banned Facebook for spread so called "religious hatred". now beat that Blasphemous Infidels.

    • Rod Marsden profile image

      Rod Marsden 

      7 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      Not a bad write up on the subject.

      Not using the lord's name in vain has long been part of our collective literature. Steven Crane's novel Red Badge of Courage is full of substitutes for swear words. You couldn't have soldiers swearing their heads off like soldiers do in a novella or a novel. Gol darn for God damn for example. In the 1950s the writers of Batman were a bit more whimsical. You have Holy this and holy that in place of whatever swearing you might imagine going on in the scene.


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