On Martyrs

[caption id="attachment_2879" align="aligncenter" width="528" caption="A print ad promoting peace in India"]chhattisgarh martyr ad[/caption] In my past life, the only causes worth dying for were one's faith and one's country. I remember attending a youth conference where a provocative speaker spent an hour telling heart-wrenching stories about Christian persecution around the world and how many believers go to their deaths because they refuse to give in to those who do not give them religious freedom. These stories had a great impact on me at the time. I once considered going on a bible smuggling mission trip to China so I could help people who had to be underground and hidden in order to practice Christianity. Martyrdom is revered in Christianity very highly, and it's not hard to find a believer who will say they would gladly die for the cause of Christ. Willingness to die for one's beliefs is considered an honorable act by most every religion I can think of. Even secular causes (especially in times of political upheaval) can bring about this drastic act of devotion. I do not think martyrdom---whether modern or throughout history---proves anything about the claims these people made or the beliefs they held. More death does not equal more truth. I do not think that the more one suffers for those claims, the more glorious and righteous one is. (more…)


Morality without God?

Frans DeWaal of the New York Times has written a thoughtful piece on the origins of morality, altruism, and whether God has anything to do with it. It’s definitely worth the read, so check it out. What does science say about morality? While I do consider religious institutions and their Read more…