Blaspheming Jesus

Recently an email arrived from a person worried about a movie which he said portrayed Jesus in a blasphemous way and asking for prayer that the movie would be banned.

I could not bother God about this.

This reminded me of other numerous protests from concerned pew-sitters worried that our precious “Christianised Australia” is headed for Sodom and Gomorrah, and that faith and peoples’ religious comfort zone is under threat. But Australia is not a “Christian” country, never was and never will be. In Australia we have, and will continue to have, a clear separation between church and state.

Jesus in his flesh suffered abuse and the most extreme humiliation and calls us to bear the same when it comes. It’s time Christians all realised we do not live in a society where we can just expect everyone to fall into line with our preferences. We are in the minority. We live in a nation which has forgotten its substantial Judeo-Christian roots. We live in the midst of a pagan, fun-loving, don’t-tell-me-what-to-do society, a society which thinks in terms of ‘what is true for me’ and ‘what is true for you’—which is an illogical way to live, but it removes the pagan mind from God’s existence and from God  botherers like you and me.

We have to expect more and more of this sort of thing.

Our mighty sovereign LORD—the one who is actively present in our universe—is not threatened but He puts His people in the midst of an unbelieving world in order to bear witness to Him. He does not call us to settle down and be comfortable and have an easy lifestyle where there are no movies, books, news articles, TV shows, neighbours, journos, etc who are going to ignore us or upset us. We are called to take up the cross and follow him. And that can mean abuse, misinformation, isolation and rejection even by members of one’s own family, let alone the general pagan community.

When a movie like this is shown, let’s not squeal and winge about it, as so many did when Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ was screened here or more recently the Da Vinci Code book and movie. Rather, let’s see these things as opportunities to contest the counterfeit and present the real Jesus and his courageous apostles, as recorded in the historical gospel documents and letters. Or are we going to be like the Islamists who respond with anger and threats if their prophet is even criticised in the slightest way?  To do that, we would be admitting that our God needs some help, needs defending. Nah. Not a bit. Not our sovereign Lord.

Actually, what is happening is that our Enemy and followers are threatened, not us. If there are insults and blasphemies against Jesus, he must truly be someone truly significant. He is and always will be the target. And we will targets also.

Let’s get used to it.

5 responses to “Blaspheming Jesus

  1. Like the article, interesting issues. We suffered some mild abuse last week for our faith, nothing daunting but it stunned us. We had a taste, just a tiny taste of persecution. The question then becomes, what do we do? Do we speak out, draw their attention to what they are doing. Freedom of speech is important. Or do we turn the other cheek and say nothing? I am writing this from Dubai this week; the arrogance and oppression of Islam is very apparent here, they live for this world only, but they are trapped. It is a terrifying society and it has made me see that Christ is not an answer he is the answer to their need. But, the Gospel is crushed, it is so very difficult to be openly Christian in such a society. I decided we should speak out against the persecution.

  2. Oh, and a couple more responses following those of “Pilgrim”.
    1. Laws against defamation? I am glad there are no laws in our country against defaming Jesus of Nazareth. Yet there are very severe laws in dozens of non-Western nations against defaming various non-existent deities and long-dead religious figures.
    2. I agree that “anything that heaps ridicule on someone dehumanises them”. But we cannot dehumanise Jesus. And just look at the dehumanisation around us in fundamentalist, “religious” atheism and in destroying the unborn for convenience sake–just to give 2 examples among many.
    3. Let me repeat: I dont think the church–whatever that unbiblical, vague, and uncertain notion is, has a voice, but people like you and I do.

  3. For the record, I dont take any freedom I have in this country lightly. A democracy may not protect the freedoms I desire.
    “Choice”? No. I can say emphatically that my/our choice is to hear and obey the will of God, his choice.
    And I dont think the church has a voice, but you and I do have a voice, and I agree we must not surrender that, but speak out while we are able.

  4. I left out the connecting factor in my previous response. Freedom of speech is important, but so are the laws against defamation, for the reason that anything that heaps ridicule on someone dehumanises them and denies them a voice in response. History teaches us that dehumanisation is one step down the path to open persecution of a people.

  5. “In Australia we have, and will continue to have, a clear separation between church and state.”

    The concept was that the state wouldn’t interfere with the church and the church wouldn’t interfere with the state. The temptation for control has always gone both ways, and the separation was as much to restrain the controlling impulses of the state as of the church.

    “Rather, let’s see these things as opportunities to contest the counterfeit and present the real Jesus and his courageous apostles, as recorded in the historical gospel documents and letters.”

    You seem to take religious freedom lightly, as something that can be discarded lightly. So much was taken for granted in the 50s and 60s that laws and cultural safeguards were relaxed. Its no longer possible to take religious freedom for granted in Australia, as a result of the short-sightedness of that generation. This blog won’t always be legal in Australia. Is your blog worth fighting for?

    You have children and grandchildren, would you prefer that they were proclaiming the gospel from out in the street and in their workplaces, or proclaiming the gospel from in jail? We live in a democracy, the choice is yours.

    Christians speak out to defend their right to be Christians and to proclaim the gospel. The enemy wants to silence the church. Will we voluntarily be silenced?

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