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 Post subject: Explaining Martyrdom to an Atheist?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2021 11:52 am 
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Newbie
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Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2021 11:56 pm
Posts: 45
Religion: Catholic
Hi all,

How could we best explain martyrdom to a non-believer?

Often the responses to Christian martyrs I hear are things like:
"they were just being stubborn"
"why don't they defend themselves"
"why wouldn't they just pretend to reject their beliefs and still believe secretly"

Essentially, their point is that this isn't worth dying over, especially not in the terrible manners martyrs have died.
What would be the best way to explain that giving witness to the faith, even at peril of death, is something good?
Specifically to someone who isn't a believer so, an atheist or agnostic for example.

Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Explaining Martyrdom to an Atheist?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2021 11:10 am 
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Adept
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Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:25 am
Posts: 5179
Location: Fort Smith, AR
Religion: Christian & Missionary Alliance
Absolutely everyone believes there is something worth dying for. If they didn't, they would never leave their house, and for most people, it's not even that extreme. They honor soldiers, for instance, who died fighting wars. They honor firefighters and police who die in the line of duty. They honor doctors and nurses who get sick and die. Many will say it's better to die doing something you love than to live boring and mundane lives.

The question is not if there is something worth dying for. The question is, what is worth dying for. Obviously, atheists don't think the Faith is worth dying for. If they did, they'd be Christian. But that just is the issue, because if Christianity really is true, then nothing is more worth dying for.

You aren't arguing here for the truth of Christianity. You're just asking them to be intellectually honest about how the problem should be understood. If they can't do that, they're an intellectually dishonest person anyway who isn't really objecting to martyrdom as much as they are looking for cheap shots to make. And such a person isn't worth your time, anyway -- not, at least, discussing these sorts of things. Be more productive and buy them a cup of coffee and just get to know them. Maybe your personal relationship will prove more meaningful.


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 Post subject: Re: Explaining Martyrdom to an Atheist?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2021 5:37 pm 
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Journeyman
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Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2020 7:04 pm
Posts: 727
Location: Arkansas Ozarks
Religion: Catholic
Church Affiliations: 4th KofC
The word "martyr" means "witness." In ancient times, a witness was not necessarily someone who had seen or heard something relevant, a witness was someone who swore to the truth.

By accepting death for the faith, the Holy Martyrs gave the highest possible assurance that what they believed was true.


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