Denying the Holy Spirit

One of the things my husband asked me when I told him I was an atheist is, “Do you deny the Holy Spirit?”

I should have asked him what he meant, but I evaded the question.

I don’t even know what it means to “deny” the Holy Spirit.  Surely it has to be more than saying the words, right?  It is blasphemy?  What would blasphemy against the holy spirit consist of?  So I went and checked with the only people who know anything about that.  The Catholics– namely, the Catholic Encyclopedia (all quotes in this post are from the CE).

Augustine said that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was when you died without repenting… which I think really means that you’ve died without being Catholic. 

St Thomas put it this way:

He who, from pure and deliberate malice, refuses to recognize the manifest work of God, or rejects the necessary means of salvation, acts exactly like a sick man who not only refuses all medicine and all food, but who does all in his power to increase his illness, and whose malady becomes incurable, due to his own action.

But what does blasphemy against the Holy Spirit in particular mean?  Here we have the primary interpretation:

So, to sin against the Holy Ghost is to confound Him with the spirit of evil; it is to deny, from pure malice, the Divine character of works manifestly Divine. This is the sense in which St. Mark also defines the sin question; for, after reciting the words of the Master: “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost shall never have forgiveness”, he adds at once: “Because they said: He hath an unclean spirit.”

So do I deny the Holy Spirit?

No.

Here’s why.  If you’re talking about the third person of the Christian God, I don’t believe he exists.  If you want to call that blasphemy, you can, but blasphemy is when you attribute evil to God.  I can’t attribute evil to God because I don’t believe in God.  As the saying goes, blasphemy is a victimless crime.

I’ll be more specific.  “Blasphemy” comes from the Greek and means literally to injure the reputation.  It is “gross irreverence towards any person or thing worthy of exalted esteem.”  It is the opposite of praising God; it is cursing God.  It is being against God.

I am not against God.  I am an atheist.

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2 Responses to “Denying the Holy Spirit”

  1. doazic Says:

    I prefer to go the whole nine yards and just blaspheme away.

    If you don’t it seems like you’re covering your bases just in case Jebus is real. Burn those bridges dude.

  2. notreallyalice Says:

    It probably seems that way. But I’m not. And I don’t have anything to prove. 🙂

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