Do the martyrs of the English Reformation disprove the church and God?


I’ve had several conversations with people here about the nature of Divine revelation and if the Catholic Church (or Christanity) is the objective and true self-revelation of God.

Take an example of the Catholics who were martyrs for their faith at the hands of English Protestants. Why did God allow this? If God exists and is good and is powerful, why would he allow this occur?

Let’s suppose their are a group of terrorists who are killing innocent lives but they claim that you had told them to do so. These terrorists claimed you as their leader. Would you not condemn them? Wouldn’t it be unimaginablely cruel to say nothing and give your tacit approval of the killings?

This argument caused me to be an atheist for a short period actually when I heard about Muslim Jordian pilot who was captured and burned alive in a cage by Isis. How could God allow killing in His name? Im no longer an atheist, but I still don’t have a good answer to this question.

If the Catholic Church is the objectively true self-revelation of God, why did God allow the Protestant Reformation? One’s spiritual fate and relationship with God is the most important thing in all of life. If the Church is the best conduit for that, any tampering or obscuring of that (even slightly) would be a terrible act as it could lead just one person astray. It would less immoral and tragic to steal nutritious food away from all the familes right out of their fridge and grocery store shelves (denying them proper physical nourishment) than it would be to hamper their spiritual nourishment. Why would God allow His message of love and grace to be obscured so that genuinely devout people would be born and raised in less effective faiths?

At least Buddhism says if you are a moral good non-buddhist you have a chance of being reborn a Buddhist. But you don’t believe in reincarnation, a Protestant is likely stuck.

(The argument works in reverse if Protestants are right and Catholics are wrong or if Muslims or Mormons and so on)


God exists and is good.

Bad things, like men drawing and quartering each other and burning each other alive, are not of God. They are evils caused by man’s sins in not loving their neighbor as they should. God isn’t pleased with these acts no matter who is doing them.

God allows man to have free will, which means that some men will do evil and terrible things - perhaps even with a misguided belief that they are morally right and correct in doing so - but one day the humans who do these acts will have to answer to God for them.


I was thinking about that. When I fell into severe doubt I was troubled by why God allows suffering. It was Kabbalah that helped me, which is simmilar to the free will explaination but in a more mystical sense. God allows and even creates suffering and free will (at least in general but not specific) in order to allow for spiritual descent and re-ascent in order to attain closer unity with God than if we had never fallen. The deeper the descent, the greater the re-ascent. Killing and being killed in the name of God is a pretty profound descent.


I don’t know anything about Kabbalah. A friend of mine was into it, I never was.

But it stands to reason that if we freely choose God, that means more than if we never had a choice and were just somehow compelled to be with Him. We might not value our blessings. We might be like Lucifer and decide we didn’t need God (stupid choice).

Suffering is really difficult for humans. The whole book of Job deals with it. I’ve read that book through a few times and it is not easy to understand. But suffering can be redemptive if we offer our sufferings, no matter how big or how small, in reparation to God for man’s sins and for the salvation of souls. That at least gives our suffering some purpose.

I’m not a really deep thinker so that’s about as far as I got with my thoughts. Maybe someone else can add more.


I think that’s pretty deep.


“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.” (Lk 12:4)

“Less effective”? That’s not how the Catholic Church sees it.

“The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter. For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour. They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ. They also recognize and accept other sacraments within their own Churches or ecclesiastical communities. Many of them rejoice in the episcopate, celebrate the Holy Eucharist and cultivate devotion toward the Virgin Mother of God. They also share with us in prayer and other spiritual benefits. Likewise we can say that in some real way they are joined with us in the Holy Spirit, for to them too He gives His gifts and graces whereby He is operative among them with His sanctifying power. Some indeed He has strengthened to the extent of the shedding of their blood. In all of Christ’s disciples the Spirit arouses the desire to be peacefully united, in the manner determined by Christ, as one flock under one shepherd, and He prompts them to pursue this end.” (Lumen gentium, #15)

So… we’re not in perfect communion with them, but they are still nourished by the grace of God, communicated through the Church (even if they are not visible members of the Church, per se).

Not true.

“This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. … In explicit terms He Himself affirmed … the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.” (Lumen gentium, #14)

Notice that this only applies to those who know that membership in the Church is necessary. The Church doesn’t teach that if you’re not a member of the Catholic Church, you can not be saved.



This is just a rephrasing of the classic problem of evil.

The answer would be “because God granted you a free will”. God could have made us all robots incapable of evil, but he didn’t. We’re free moral agents. The greatest thing God wants you to give him is, arguably, your worship as an agent that is free to abstain from it.

Not stopping you from doing evil is not the same as tacit approval.

I sympathize enormously.

This is the same question as above, answered by the same answer.


Sinful Catholics do not disprove the Church any more than traitorous Americans disprove the US Constitution.


I would imagine for similar reasons that when God was incarnated on earth He allowed himself to be beaten, ridiculed, stripped naked, tortured and publicly shamed and crucified.

God why have you forsaken me? Psalm 22.

Psalm 22 was written a thousand years before Jesus and it was basically the Jewish people asking the same question. Why?

Jesus in being incarnated and sharing the same pain was answering their prayer in the most powerful way.


Only by insane troll logic could that possibly be true.


I didn’t mean to troll. The responses I got were quite helpful and I think are pretty reasonable responses. Vonsalza is right, I was just giving as specific example of theodocy, the question of evil. It’s something all theists must wrestle with.


God allows martyrs because that is a good death, a noble death, one befitting to those who truly follow the King of Martydom, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Many saints really show us the good in suffering


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