Strange martyrdom: What are the cases where the Bible requires martyrdom?

by Check_Your_Premises 11 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Check_Your_Premises

    The whole blood issue has been a topic of conversation with my jw loved ones.

    One thing they always fall back to is "this life doesn't matter compared to our eternal salvation". See, they think that by disobeying the Bible on the issue of blood, risks their eternal life. If they are forced to concede that the Bible doesn't exactly say that, then they fall back to the need to choose martyrdom before disobeying the organization. "Shouldn't a Christian be required to die for their faith?" they say.

    Scripturally, when is a Christian expected to die (or allow those in their charge to die) in order to uphold their faith?

    What examples does the Bible provide?

    How do we square those with Jesus' words in Matthew 12, "I want mercy not sacrifice"?


  • carla

    All I know is mine answers that the bible calls us to listen to those in authority. He uses that for any and all of the silly rules imposed by the wt. I'm sure the blood issue would be the same even though he claims it is a 'conscience issue'. However, we all know that if your conscience tells you something is ok and it goes against the wt you will be condemned by the cong and elders. So where is the choice of conscience?

  • Check_Your_Premises

    For example, are there any cases where the a Jew was to choose death before running contrary to the Mosaic law?

  • M.J.
    M.J.;%20Matthew%2010:22,39;16:25;24:9;&version=49 ;;&version=31 ;

    Revelation;&version=31 ;

    Rev 20:4-6

    I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

    I can think of that story about Abraham ready to sacrifice his son at the instruction of God.

    The Muslim extremists LOVE that story, btw.

    There was a special on cable about the psychology of suicide bombers. I tivo'd it and have yet to watch it. But maybe if it comes on again it would be a good one to subtly demonstrate how people can mis-appropriate certain ideas...such as the idea that strapping a bomb to yourself and setting it off will gain you the highest rewards in paradise.

  • heathen

    I don't think that's a case of martyrdom . More like a suicide pact . To me a martyr is somebody that is murdered by somebody else simply because of religion.

  • M.J.

    Yeah, CYP, I didn't come across any specific reasons. More along the lines of "upholding the faith", and for "Christ's sake" whatever that implies.

    John the Baptist and Stephen were martyred for their faith itself, ticking people off for calling things the way they saw it.

    It wasn't on a dare.

  • Leolaia

    The two parts of the Bible that clearly do encourage martyrdom are the two apocalyptic books...Daniel and Revelation. In both cases (because the NT book was influenced by the OT book), martyrdom was to be preferred in a circumstance of enforced idolatry. It should also be recognized that both books were written in a milieu of persecution that threatened Jewish and Christian religious traditions.

  • Check_Your_Premises

    What about in the old testament?

    Weren't some of the prophets killed for being the "bearer of bad news"?

  • Narkissos

    I think martyrdom always implies being killed by somebody (although in some cases the martyrs may seem to be "looking for it," e.g. ... Jesus in the Gospels).

    In the blood issue JWs die for not letting other people help them, which is quite different imo.

    As has been pointed out a number of times, rabbinical Judaism has the important principle of pikuach nephesh ("saving a life") which not only allows for, but requires the suspension of any commandment in order to save a life. Even the Gospels allude to that (one can break the sabbath to save a life). Afaik there is a similar principle in Islam (for instance, if someone would endanger his/her health by fasting at Ramdan, it would be wrong to do so).

    (Otoh the death of Samson is quite similar to a suicide bombing...)

  • cosmic

    The first definition for a Martyr means that you suffer (not necessarily die) for a principle, usually religious (but not necessarily so). Although one who dies for their country is considered a patriot, they are, technically, a martyr as well. The second definition mentions dying for a religious belief.

    Your question is excellent, as it begs at the very base of religion. Were Job's children martyrs? How about Abel, Cain, all the rest of us poor slobs, who are condemned to die. It may not be our principle that we are getting whacked for, and we certainly don't have a choice in the matter, but it seems like we're all dying because of some principle that was struck up back in the GOE. It would seem that a person who decided to take blood and keep living (or any other sane medical procedure), is no more or less a martyr than the goober who refuses the blood and takes the Big Sleep.

    Which is why the whole martyr thing (as pretty much all of religion) is rendered meaningless. Does the man who decides to take the blood and keep on living so his children will have a father, his wife have a husband, perform any less of a sacrifice than the man who takes a bullet for them? Wow, what a pain in the ass God is gonna have when that guy comes up for ressurrection/parole: Well, lets see here. Oooops, looks like you took blood! Now, that's a major biggy! But, hmmm, seems like you did it to help other people, which means you were willing to give up everlasting life for another person. Theres a precedent here, oh yes, no greater sacrifice has a man than one who gives up his life for his brother. Oh, there's the loophole. None of those people were your brother. ZZZZAAaaaaaappp! Next!!!

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