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The Word on the Week

Modern Blasphemers

This week we have been treated to a re-run of the blasphemous utterances of Dawkins and Fry. They are unfazed by the publicity their comments originally produced, indeed Dawkins defence of Fry (who had been accused by the Garda of blasphemy, although it was subsequently dropped) was robust! He went so far as to offer himself and his unedited views of “the Old Testament God”, as written in his book, as a test case in an endeavour to show just how unworkable is our blasphemy law.
Of course there is but one God. Dawkins hitches his attack to the common myth that God somehow changed when Jesus revealed him. No doubt we will hear more of his heretical views when he comes to Ireland in June.

Our law, which is grounded in Article 40.6 of the Constitution is intended to safeguard free speech. As Ireland becomes more secular and pluralistic the defining of seditious speech becomes increasingly difficult. In a multi-faith society it becomes impossible. In fact by having the law we lend credence to those Governments whose blasphemy laws permit them to sentence to death those who break them. We also give a platform to gowks who want to go on the rant against a god who they claim does not exist!

The Bible makes a distinction between those who hastily speak words against the Son of Man (Jesus) and repent of it (St Luke Chapter 22 verses 54 to 62) and those who mount a persistent and un-repentant attack on the Holy Spirit and the work of Jesus in procuring salvation.

The ones who persist in hardening their hearts against God’s provision of Jesus as the Saviour and resist the promptings of the Holy Spirit place themselves beyond the reach of God’s forgiveness and salvation (St Luke Chapter 12 verse 10).
St Paul describes himself as once a blasphemer. But he received mercy because he didn’t know any better (1Timothy Chapter 1 verse 13). Part of his testimony before King Agrippa was his attempts to make the new Christian converts blaspheme God. He wanted them to become like himself. This was in the days before his own conversion when he was part of the persecution of Jesus followers (Acts Chapter 26 verse 11).
So what are we to say to the likes of Dawkins and Fry? The scriptural warnings are plain. But the glory of the Good News is that repentant blasphemers can change. It happened to St Paul in his day. Pray that God might do it again in our day.