Does God need a blasphemy law?

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Slef help for the unsure ChristianSo this is 2010. It doesn’t look like it was meant to in the films of my youth.

I’m not wearing a shiny silver suit with a zip up the back (well, only on my days off), the hover bike hasn’t appeared in the Argos catalog yet, and I still haven’t got the big house on top of the hill with the views of the countryside.

And it’s cold. Very cold. Not like the winters we all got used to before everyone talked about Global Warming Climate Change.

Twitter is full of talk about #bonofacts. For example …

  • “Touching Bono’s penis is a cure for leprosy”
  • “The Roman Catholic church uses Bono’s farts for incense”
  • “If you look into a mirror, in the dark, at midnight, you will see Bono behind your reflection”
  • “George Clooney and Pierce Brosnan look at photos of Bono for inspiration
  • “Bono has his own satellite which is kept in orbit by his ego alone”

I’m not entirely sure why this is happening. I think it’s something to do with a new blasphemy law that has hit the statute books in Eire.

Odd that at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, rational people in a modern country think a blasphemy law is even needed.

Apparently, lawmakers in the republic thought that it was unfair that the existing law applied only to the Christian faith, for which read the Roman Catholic church. They reasoned that in a multicultural society, such protection should extend to all faiths.

Okay. Sound logic. But wait. There is another angle to this, isn’t there?

A blasphemy law says: “You can’t say nasty things about my Imaginary Friend or you will be punished.”

But, as Douglas Adams put it (sort of), “God said: The law denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”

Surely, what a blasphemy law says is that your faith is so weak, you must be protected from anyone who tries to convince you otherwise.

But is not weak faith also a sin? So is not a blasphemy law of itself a denial of the power of faith?

Now churchmen of all stripe wax lyrical about how sinners face inevitable judgement by the greatest Judge of all … when the time comes.

Despite this, there are plenty of people willing and anxious to ensure that God’s justice is meeted out as soon as possible, from Christian Televangelical priests to underpants bombers.

Yet is that not also a mighty misunderstanding of God? After all, He is omniscient and timeless, isn’t He? The span of a thousand years is but the wink of an eye to Him.

And, say the theologians, He ain’t going anywhere.

God, in short, has more patience than all the saints put together. He can wait.

Therefore, to hurry along divine justice is perhaps also blasphemous; don’t second guess God.

Of course, if God is just an imaginary friend, then divine retribution will be an awfully long time coming. If not, then sinners will get what’s coming. Either way, what’s the rush?

My point is that, as a person of faith, if you think you  need a blasphemy law to protect you, I think you need to re-examine the strength of your religious convictions.

You may be less pious than you’d like the rest of us to think.