What I have seen is earnest and orthodox, but essentially banal and cliched affirmation, countered by immature anger that is not even good blasphemy. These are declarations of blasphemy which would get laughed out of a high-school Dungeons and Dragons campaign.
“Okay, I take his staff and I blaspheme his god. What happens?”Without getting into an extended theological discussion, blasphemy is more complicated and time-consuming than that. It involves the whole personality, and includes a renunciation of not just what other people think is good, but of what you yourself know to be good. These people want Blasphemy Lite. Pathetic.
“How exactly are you blaspheming his god?”
“I, uh, say I blaspheme thee. I blaspheme thee. I blaspheme thee.”
“Your own deity strips you of two wisdom points. Wanker.”
Is it harmless? No, of course it isn’t harmless, you bufflehead. Acts of seeking evil or flouting goodness are never innocent. But saying a few magic words doesn’t put you on any all-star team – neither the Cosmic Deniers nor the Courageous Honesties. Get a life.
In an earlier era, abusers of Christianity created complex rituals and symbols in mockery of the Catholic Mass, putting dung in the censers or hanging crosses upside down. That is still pretty lame stuff – any fifth-grader can produce symbolic negations – but involved some time-commitment and intentionality that brings it closer to real blasphemy. Even then, they attracted a lot of folks who just wanted to show what bad dudes and cultural rebels they were, but not so many people who wanted to engage in much more evil than some promiscuity and wrist-cutting. I take it back – that wasn’t much in the way of blasphemy either.
There is a current strain of Christianity which is a magic-words Gospel, a gross oversimplification of Anabaptist teachings. Just say the magic words, and you’re saved forever. At one level, I like to think that God will take any poor excuse or technicality to bring us Home, but magic words theology flies in the face of some verses of Scripture. People make a declaration and are saved, but the ones we hear about seem to have continued on in action as well. The Prodigal Son actually did come home, after all, rather than being magically transported at his death to his father’s arms.
As the old satanists tried to blaspheme by inverting the Catholic tradition, these kids are trying to blaspheme by inverting the magic-words tradition. It reminds me of nothing so much as childhood arguments with my brother over who had called getting the front seat.