Because I’m atheist I feel like I’m the focus of evangelism more frequently than the average person. My family seeks to convert me. Friends try to bring me to Christ. I’m quite open with my atheism, so when a stranger begins speaking of Jesus, without fail I will let them know that I don’t believe in god. This usually leads to more passionate proselytizing. And it ends with a hug and a prayer that god shows me the way. But what if it doesn’t have to be this way? What if, instead of merely saying I’m atheist, I could say something that will make any attempts at converting me completely futile? Well, maybe there is something I can say.
Two verses in the bible tell us that, through Jesus, all sins will be forgiven, except blasphemy against the holy spirit. Jesus says in Mark 3:28-29:
Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.
This warning also appears in Matthew 12:31-32:
And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
This ‘unpardonable sin’ was made famous by Brian Flemming in his documentary film The God Who Wasn’t There (I highly recommend this film), in which he publicly denied the holy spirit. This led to the creation of The Blasphemy Challenge, which dares non-believers to deny the holy spirit on Youtube videos.
Once these words are uttered, there is no turning back… ever. No matter what you do, the Christian bible offers no hope of salvation. Born again? It doesn’t matter. You’re unforgivable. Dedicate your life to living and teaching the word of Christ? Too bad. To hell with you!
Denouncing the holy spirit is like depriving the Evangelical Fire of oxygen. They who wish to save you will fail at every attempt because salvation is impossible. On the other hand, they may still try to convince you so that you can save others, but what’s the point in believing in a god that cannot, no matter what, forgive you?
So there you have it. Atheists, deny the holy spirit! I have. Next time someone tries to evangelize you, remind them that you’ve committed the ‘unpardonable sin.’ Hopefully that will end the conversation.
Side Note: This only applies to Protestant versions of Christianity. I discovered in my readings that the Catholic Church believes “There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive.” See this Vatican Catechism (section 982). Then again, I’ve never been preached to by a Catholic. It’s not really their thing, it seems.