Sunday, February 11, 2007

Something About Amanda

I kicked Amanda Marcotte yesterday. Not unfairly, perhaps, but a definite kick. Some of this morning's church service reminded me of one of my own lessons learned, and I thought it fair to point out a sin the Pandagon blogger has not committed.

The verses of Scripture about the Unforgivable Sin state quite explicitly that blaspheming against the Holy Spirit is the one really big, beyond-the-palings sin. As Amanda Marcotte's most famous vile comments about God include mention of the Holy Spirit, it would be easy to conclude that she has stepped into the worst of all possible territory. But she hasn't. What the verses about "saying a word against" the Spirit of God seem at first glance to mean, is a bending of that Scripture's intent, and one which we often fall into. As the Second Commandment - taking the Lord's name in vain - is not about swearing and using bad words, so also is the Unforgivable Sin not about saying vile things in regard to the Holy Spirit. There is in fact a strong connection between the Second Commandment and the Unforgivable Sin. No surprise, when you think about it. Something really high on the New Testament "you'd better not" list should be expected to also be well up on the Old Testament "thou shalt not" list.

The Second Commandment is actually about putting words in God's mouth: forging His signature under your own ideas. The Unforgivable Sin is about public renunciation of what we ourselves know via the Holy Spirit; that is, conveniently teaching that something is of God which we ourselves know darn well isn't. The longer we do this, the more we convince ourselves that Sin A is not very important, then not important, and finally, is not a sin at all. It is the denying of what we do know to be good, and walking into evil. When we no longer acknowledge a sin, we can no longer confess it. What we cannot confess cannot be forgiven.

So. Ms Marcotte uses lots of four-letter words and says insulting things about God and the Church. That is not the same thing, even if the words "Jesus Christ" or "Holy Spirit" work themselves into her "Opus #57, Variations in the Key of F-bomb." God seems to regard unbelievers who happen to be clever and original in their vileness as a fairly minor problem. He gets more exercised about believers who claim to speak for Him.

Perhaps not coincidentally, I wrote about this last February.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

This has nothing to do with swearing, dammit. (I just threw that last in for effect.) Bad language is hardly ever mentioned in the rest of the Bible, so why would people think that God would make it #2 on the Big Chart and then forget about it? Even making promises with oaths -- the other swearing -- gets very little play, Old Testament or New.

False prophecy, now, that subject comes up a lot, with many variations played on the Carillon of Scripture (that metaphor didn't work out as well as I'd hoped). And that, my friends, is what is referred to as taking the Lord's name in vain is here. It means no forging God's signature under your own ideas. It means being very cautious and considered about making any claims that what you teach is The Gospel, or The Authentic Gospel.


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2 comments:

cold pizza said...

On blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, my take is one would have to have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, usually through a manifestation of the Spirit, and then deny it, all the while knowing that you were in open rebellion against God. It's like looking into the sun and declaring that it must be nighttime.

As far as swearing goes, I see words as the tools of the trade. Certain words become hammers with which to smash. Carelessly used, as so many such words are, it indicates a certain looseness of thought.

Blasphemy, profanity and vulgar language dirty the soul, when there are so many more nobler pursuits available. It speaks ill of our society when vulgarity becomes the norm. -cp

Anonymous said...

In the never-ending flamewars on Usenet, I used to have a comeback:

"There are over 50,000 words in English besides 'Fuck' and 'You'. You might want to expand your vocabulary."

(This usually just triggered another flamewar, with incoming limited to those same two words.)