Monicks: Unleashed

Thinking Critically


A quick thought on Mark 3:28-29 — The unforgivable

Inquiries are wonderful things because they make us think, and I mean really think; I get quite a few, fortunately. This is the most recent one. Let’s review Mark 3:28-29.

28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin. Mark 3:28-29 (NIV)

See, I’m not going to start The Olympics on mental gymnastics, let’s leave that to the apologists and universalists. Because what (allegedly) Paul wrote in Romans 10:9-10 (NIV) “…if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”, is meaningless by (allegedly) Jesus’ standards, according to Mark 3:28-29.

The construct of the holy spirit is the single most unbelievable entity of the tenets of Christianity so, as a way to prevent people from thinking about it and finding it indigestible (and thus be eternally, inevitably, and irrevocably condemned to the screams, the weeping, the wailing, the gnashing of teeth, and so on), the authors and editors of the Book of Mark made of this bit the only unforgivable sin. Fear is a powerful thing. Were you, dear reader, a believer at some point in your life? Do you remember ever trying to avoid thinking about the holy spirit? Just once? Or, do you still believe and are terrified that you could end up in hell only for reading these lines? I totally understand that, as a kid, I experienced that fear.

You are not supposed to try to make sense of the holy spirit, you won’t be able to do that anyway, and if you doubt it just once, you are doomed for all eternity, there is no going back.

But, wait a minute! Isn’t the holy spirit one with god, and one with Jesus? So blaspheming about one is the same as blaspheming about the others. Should be, logically; but nobody expects the bible to be logical, that’s why believers need apologetics to make it work for them, so to speak.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” is really what they need from you, Proverbs 3:5 is code for: “don’t think, your cognitive dissonance is bad for us in charge.” You know — paraphrasing.

You think differently? Let us know in the comments.

12 Responses to A quick thought on Mark 3:28-29 — The unforgivable

  1. I deny the Holy Spirit, I deny the whole pile of crap.

  2. Mark Joseph says:

    Not differently. Love your interpretation of Proverbs 3:5, especially since it was confirmed by (allegedly) Jesus in John 20:29, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Churches should have, above their entrances, the motto “abandon all thought, ye who enter here.”

  3. Monica, I don’t understand your Bible study. Why in the world would you be using any of the foolishness to imply agreement or contradiction with any other part of this giant book of fiction.
    From reading much of your writing, I cannot fathom your need to take on piece of the cowpie and throw it at the barn wall. There are so many more interesting analyses to discuss.
    Fondest Regards,

  4. Pingback: A quick thought on Mark 3:28-29 — The unforgivable « Monicks: Unleashed « Secularity

  5. I fail to see how the idea that God is spirit is the most difficult feature of Christian belief. Surely even Critics of Christian belief would sooner point to other features (Old Testament Genocide, the Holy Spirit killing people in the New Testament, Inerrancy, etc). In fact, I wonder if maybe the belief that God is spirit is the easiest Christian belief to swallow.

    Moreover, it doesn’t take much by way of mental exercise to recognize that the author of Mark has a deeper point in this passage – nothing as superficial as verbally denying the holy Spirit will rid one of salvation (in fact, Jesus was reproving the Pharisee’s for blaspheming the holy Spirit verbally, and surely he would have said that they were condemned already – past tense – if that position reflected Markan theology). Finally, there is no significant evidence to suppose that the author of Mark, writing after Paul, was anti-Pauline, even with respect to Soteriology (or at least no evidence of which I am aware).

    This seems rather like fear mongering to me.

  6. Jonathan says:

    Hi! Somehow we got connected in G+, and I happened on your blog.

    I grew up in a Pentecostal church, and we thought about the holy spirit a lot! That was the guy that moved us to speak in tongues, convict us of sin, and all sorts of other things. So, I don’t remember fearing it.

    I kind of think Mark 3:28-29 is quoted more by atheists, since we’re the ones pointing out absurdities and contradictions. I don’t think many Christians think too much about blaspheming the HS (or the father or son, for that matter) just because they take that sacred stuff seriously.

    Anyway, my 2.5 cents.

  7. Pingback: Be filled with the Holy Spirit. « bummyla

  8. Criticizing the choice of topics? Really? You are free to post your own blog and discuss any topic you choose.

  9. I’m a little confused. Why and where and when do we equate doubt in the existence of an entity with blasphemy of that entity?

    The Bible is filled with examples of individuals who doubted the existence of God, and this is never considered or referenced as blasphemy. There is no indication in any passage that doubt alone is sin, much less that it is an unpardonable sin.

  10. Dana Garrett says:

    Whatever it means to blaspheme the holy spirit, this teaching is one of the most cruel passages in the Bible. There have been people who have committed suicide and others committed to mental hospitals because they feared they had blasphemed the holy spirit.

  11. If you doubt god, it’s blasphemy.
    The act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk.

    To doubt god or any part is sacrilegious, by definition it’s impious.

    This is why the best path to atheism is reading holy texts and understanding the meaning of words.

  12. Kevin says:

    Taken with the rest of scripture this makes sence pretty easily. Jesus said you can deny him and not deny the HS who he says later on will come after him. You can deny Jesus who is part of the Godhead while he is alive and still come to believe in the Godhead afterwards which would be through the Great Comforter (HS). If you have until you die to accept God to enter heaven it is possible to deny Jesus while he is still alive and come to faith afterwards which would be by convition of the HS which is the only way (according to Paul and Jesus) to come to faith after his death. C.S. Lewis writes a good short story on this how the Spirit of Elohim is YHWH (the father) and Jesus dwelling together. I can’t permeate the ‘spirit’ of a football team unless I am together with the football team and then we permeate our ‘spirit’ and it is expressed in the English language as it’s own entity. Believer or not, when the scripture is taken with the later additions of scripture it is easier to put together what was once thought impossible


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