I haven’t made my Blasphemy Challenge video yet, but here’s the written version: “Hi. I’m Brian. I deny the Holy Spirit.”
According to Mark 3:29, my soul is now in deep hellish doo-doo.
“Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”
On the plus side, if my video is among the first 1001 to be uploaded to YouTube, I’ll get a free DVD of The God Who Wasn’t There. That’s a $25 value, definitely enough for me to sell my soul.
Actually, I’d condemn myself to hell for a lot less. Like, for free, since I don’t believe that hell exists. Why, hell, I might as well condemn myself to Tartarus also while I’m at it. Along all the other mythical underworlds posited in the world’s religions.
If I’m wrong, the joke (and eternal damnation) is on me. But I’ll take my chances.
Bishop Carlton Pearson is on my side. He’s an evangelical minister of the United Church of Christ who preached fire and brimstone until he got a revelation from God. Which basically was: There isn’t any hell. All are saved. Christians and non-Christians alike. Everyone.
You’d think this positive, inclusive, non-judgmental message would be greeted by his congregation with a hearty “Praise the Lord!” But just the opposite occurred. His flock went from over 5,000 to just a few hundred.
Apparently hell sells. Which makes sense, in a sense.
If you’re a Christian believer, you damn well want to get some special benefit from all that believing. If hippies, drug dealers, homosexuals, and Buddhists are going to reach heaven along with you, what’s the point of going to church and filling the collection plate?
Nonetheless, it looks like Carlton Pearson now is doing fine. He has a snazzy web site and a nifty slogan: “The Friendliest, Trendiest, Most Radically Inclusive Worship Experience!”
Not surprisingly, Bishop Pearson is viewed as a heretic by fundamentalist Christians who aren’t into friendly, trendy, radical inclusiveness. This lengthy critique of Pearson’s hell-free theology calls him the charismatic bishop of heresy.
I suspect Pearson takes that as a compliment. As he should.
[Thanks to Church of the Churchless regular Randy for emailing me about Pearson, and to Newsweek for cluing me in to the Blasphemy Challenge.]