Skip to main content

Murder or Martyrdom

Martyrdom, at least the modern strap-on-bombs-and-blow-yourself-up-in-public-place version of it is not martyrdom at all. It is murder.

Martyrdom is not the expression of angry young men with an obsession with vengeance and virgins, it is the culmination of persistent persecution. Perpetua, a valiant young woman who lived in the third century AD, was killed by the Roman authorities who wished to eradicate the new Christ following cult that was springing up in their imperial territories. She did not walk into a Roman governor's office and start swinging a sword, she was given an ultimatum – denounce your faith, or die. Perpetua chose death rather than bow to an idol. She was thrown to the lions, but before she died she exhorted her fellow Christians to love one another to the end.

Martyrdom is not the title for those who cowardly trigger a bomb blast in the shopping mall. It is the title for those who believe in Christ so much that they ware willing to die, not so they can teach their oppressors a lesson, but because nothing means more to them than Christ.