Blasphemy

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Blasphemy is a statement or act that is offensive to God. Judaism in the Old Testament imposes the following penalty for blasphemy:

Those who speak blasphemy "shall surely be put to death." (Leviticus 24:16)

A false accusation of blasphemy was the charge for which Jesus was ultimately crucified. Perhaps to avoid a charge of blasphemy, Jesus typically spoke of Himself as "The Son, a human being," but Jewish authorities, goaded by the Pharisees, understood that Jesus was asserting that he was God and sought the death penalty for blasphemy. They had trouble proving their case based on what Jesus actually said during His ministry.

Christianity also mentions blasphemy in the New Testament, but not impose a criminal punishment:

But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin. (Mark 3:29)
In context, this is considered to be attributing the works of God to Satan. The teachers of the law acknowledged that Jesus was curing people of evil spirits, but then accused Jesus of having the power to drive evil spirits out of people because He Himself was possessed by an evil spirit. (Mark 3:22)

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Modern society

The First Amendment protects speech, even blasphemy, in the United States. Many modern films and television programs espouse blasphemous behavior and society's liberals and atheists often promote it as if it is fun and appropriate.

Blasphemy Laws

Due to the Judeo-Christian heritage of America, many states had laws against blasphemy, some of which are still on the books today.[1][2] [3]

In the United Kingdom, blasphemy laws were abolished as part of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.[4]

In many Islamic countries, blasphemy was and still is punishable by death.

Bible

Matthew 12:22-32

"Then there was brought to Him a demon-possessed man who was blind and dumb, and He healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw. 23And all the multitudes were amazed, and began to say, "This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?" 24But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, "This man casts out demons only by Beelzebub the ruler of the demons." 25And knowing their thoughts He said to them, "Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself shall not stand. 26"And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand? 27"And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Consequently they shall be your judges. 28"But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29"Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30"He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters. 31"Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32"And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come,"

References

  1. [The General Laws of Massachusetts, http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/272-36.htm Chapter 272, Section 36].
  2. Mich. Comp. Laws Section 750.102
  3. Mich. Comp. Laws Section 750.103
  4. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2008/ukpga_20080004_en_1
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