Blasphemy and Heresy


I recently watched the excellent documentary “Monty Python: Almost the Truth (Lawyers Cut)” It was magnificient. Watching video from Graham Chapmans funeral was priceless.

Anyway, in the episode that dealt with their film “Life of Brian” I learned something. “Life of Brian” for anyone who doesn’t know, is about a fellow named Brian who was born on the very same day as Jesus Christ. He was even born in the manger next door to Jesus. The story follow his life as the people of the time mistake him for the messiah. The film leaves the story of Jesus completely untouched, and focuses on the foolishness of people. That fact didn’t stop the film from being protested as blasphemy by church leaders.

Terry Jones simply explained that the film wasn’t blaphemous, it was heretical. Then I understood that blasphemy is an insult to God, and heresy is an insult to the church, or reigning religion. The Pythons were making fun of religious zealots and their comical behavior. It is in the interest of church leaders to act like they are protecting God, when really they are protecting themselves.

I am not in favor of blasphemy. But I have a certain fondness for heresy. There are religions that still act like their leaders and laws can never be questioned or mocked. Maybe they need to watch more Monty Python, and understand God isn’t as delicate as they are.

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