Friday, 16 March 2007 09:09
Written by Keith Strohm
Last week, Mark Shea, over at Catholic & Enjoying It, reflected briefly (and pithily) on the sin of blasphemy, spurred on by comic Sarah Silverman's sketch where she gives God the brush-off after having sex with Him. Mark writes:
It is amazing how so many people think that blasphemy is the most courageous of the sins. They all seem to have some fantasy that either a mob of Christians is going to string them up for their transgressive courage, or the irritable old gentleman in the white beard is going to finally lose his temper and start throwing thunderbolts. They don't *get* that blasphemy, like all sin, is its own punishment. That, like all sin, it darkens the intellect, hardens the heart, and further disorders the appetites. It also, like all sin, cuts you off from the love you've wanted all your life and surrounds you with various fakes (whom you know to be fakes at some level) and make the universe a colder, deader place than you already have told yourself it is. The apotheosis of this is the loneliness and coldness of hell, which is not some place God "sends" you because he's a vain popinjay who is ticked about affronts to his ego, but because despite every attempt to love you (including taking three nails and a lance for you) you remained the pathetic sort of person who prefered to write "pee pee" on the bathroom wall and pat yourself on the back for your transgressive courage.
Most folks nowadays would probably just ask, "What's the big deal?" And that's a little of what Mark is trying to get at. American culture has, overall, been deadened and darkened by repeated sinfulness--to the degree that pee-soaked statues of Mary and bits like that of Sarah Silverman are seen either as harmless or as brave attempts at noble acts of transgression against a dominant, repressive ideology.
God have mercy, not just on Sarah Silverman, but on a culture like ours that lionizes such juvenile drivel. It's a good thing we're on the side of Righteousness and not simply a decaying relativist culture which believes that Might Makes Right, or else we might have cause to think that Islam is a scourge like the Assyrian that, in the Providence of God, is meant to bring us to our senses. But since we're alright, Jack, there's no need to consider such things.
That's why it is more important than ever for baptized lay men and women to support, nurture, and create artistic works that offer beauty to the world. We need to engage with the culture, not simply with another offensive in the culture wars, but by living lives that express beauty and love, offering witness to the dignity of the human person and the majesty and beauty of the God who Loves us even to His death.
That's Christian martyrdom.
Notice how it doesn't involve bombs strapped to our chests?