Robert Green Ingersoll on Blasphemy


Blasphemy is also a crime against God but, nothing can be more absurd than a crime against God. If God is infinite, you cannot injure him. You cannot commit a crime against any being that you cannot injure. Of course, the infinite cannot be injured.

Man is a conditioned being. By changing his conditions, his surroundings, you can injure him; but if God is infinite, he is conditionless. If he is conditionless, he cannot by any possibility be injured. You can neither increase, nor decrease, the well-being of the infinite. Consequently, a crime against God is a demonstrated impossibility.

The cry of blasphemy means only that the argument of the blasphemer cannot be answered.

The sleight-of-hand performer, when someone tries to raise the curtain behind which he operates, cries “blasphemer!”

The priest finding that he has been attacked by common sense, by a fact, resorts to the same cry. Blasphemy is the black flag of theology, and it means: No argument and no quarter! It is an appeal to prejudice, to passions, to ignorance.

It is the last resort of a defeated priest. Blasphemy marks the point where argument stops and slander begins. In old times, it was the signal for throwing stones, for gathering fagots and for tearing flesh; now it means falsehood and calumny.