Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Tuesday, December 16, 2003  

Things that aren't true

With the capture of Saddam, we are hearing how, if we do this or that, it will make a martyr of him. Same thing with Osama.

Let us stop for a moment and consider where this idea of martyrs, and the horrible effect they have on the future, comes from.

It comes from Christianity. The murder of Jesus and the Roman persecutions has cemented in people's minds the belief that creating martyrs has the opposite effect that killing them intends.

But the "success" of Jesus' martyrdom depended on his resurrection. The success of the Church was based on faith, its proofs, and not on memorial anger and desire for revenge.

Otherwise, from what I see in history, martyrdom is a short lived form of inspiration. Remember the Alamo! Remember the Maine! Remember Pearl Harbor! Remember the Twin Towers!

Well, we do remember significant events, but our passions dampen with time.

Some people have longer cultural memories? Like Arabs in Iraq or elsewhere?

Some people maintain a perpetual state of rage and bitterness, that's all. You can still find old Italians who think Mussolini was a great leader, but you won't find them crying about it.

No, I think the whole idea that martyrs are a problem is vastly over-rated. Such symbols or icons can inspire passionate actions for a brief while, but don't lead to much in time.

After all, Rome strewed the earth with martyrs for hundreds of years. Only the Christian cause lived to tell about it and overcome it. We should imagine that the reason had little to do with martyrdom, per se, and everything to do with Jesus.

Children simply are not keen to revenge their father's lost causes. And lost causes are for dead enders who are usually a very small group. This week's celebrated martyr and victim is next year's - who's that?

posted by Mark Butterworth | 7:52 AM |