Recently, the image above graced my Facebook page and me being me, well it provoked a number of thoughts. Most pressing was the question: Is this a depiction of a blasphemous action? For most people I think it will simply be perceived as a humorous physical gag at the expense of Christianity; end of story. Of course, since I identify as a Christian I am always interested in general perceptions of Christ and Christianity and so I react to images such as the one above with more than a passing interest.
If we look at a standard definition of “blasphemy” our trio of young cut-ups above are certainly guilty of it:
…the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God… irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable.
To be sure any number of Christian people will perceive the image above much differently from someone who doesn’t believe in God or Jesus Christ.
Personally, I don’t ascribe to common interpretations of blasphemy and I certainly don’t consider the actions of the jokers above to be on par with the soldiers mocking of Christ in the Biblical account. Honestly, I think it’s important for Christians to know that “the World” expects Christians to be uptight and to react with knee-jerk outrage to irreverant actions. At least half the fun for the perpetrators of such acts is to provoke exactly that reaction. However, my hope is to dissuade Christians from giving unbelievers what they want.
The plain truth is, Jesus Christ was murdered. In the events leading up to his death by crucifixion Christ was physically beaten and mocked while that beating was occurring. Christ’s blood was spilt. Regardless, of what one feels regarding Christianity or Christ —to simulate the Village People’s famous Y.M.C.A pose is nothing on the order of the indignities suffered by Christ at the hands of his executioners.
The real sin evinced in the picture heralding this blog entry is simply the sin of unbelief. I don’t hear Christ accusing them of blasphemy so much as I hear the words: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34 KJV) The guiding principle as always, is love. Love isn’t just a word or an idea; love is action and character.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.. (I Corinthians 13:4-7)
I thought I’d emphasize the “not easily angered” bit or as the King James Version of the Bible puts it— “is not easily provoked”. Really, that should be the guiding principle whenever we deal with people that do not embrace the same values and beliefs we hold.
And one final thought, I am curious if our merry pranksters would be so quick to have some fun at the Prophet Muhammad’s expense? Somehow, I don’t think they would, and, somehow that strikes me as kind of funny 🙂