Early Christians v Suicide Bombers

At a recent youth group meetings I went over the various arguments for the existence of God with the teens. At one point in the discussion I stated that the martyrdom of the apostles and early Christians, and the rise of Christianity all proved that Jesus must have risen from the dead.

If Jesus had not risen, what would cause these men to, so willingly, give their lives. There would be no glory in dying to perpetuate a myth that you know holds no truth.

I believe they gave their lives because they saw the risen Christ and believed.

My teens (who I have taught to question everything) asked what was the difference between the early Christians and Suicide Bombers, in the sense of willingness to die for their beliefs.

I feel like I should have a simple enough answer for this but I had a hard time answering.

Some help would be awesome :thumbsup:

I’m not sure there is a good answer–people die for all sorts of beliefs but that is not the same thing as going to your death for something you know to be false–which is the point you are making. If the apostles didn’t see Christ crucified and buried and then raised from the dead – but instead knew that he had died and not been raised–they would have been dying for something they knew was a lie–which is not what people typically do. That’s the difference between the apostles and early Christians who knew Jesus and saw him resurrected and us.

I would point out what I see as a huge difference–the early Christians went to their deaths peacefully and joyfully–as prisoners. They did nothing to look for their death in an attempt to gain heaven–they simply accepted their lot in life–both the average Christian and their leaders. They died rather than recant their belief and they forgave their executioners.

The suicide bombers inflict death on “infidels” and believe that by their action they are earning their reward. It has more the feel of brainwashing than sincere belief–I say this because you don’t see their leaders strapping on bombs and blowing themselves up--it seems to be mostly the disaffected that they recruit for such duties–you think that would give them pause. Let’s see those I am following don’t this, but they want me to? It would make me ask some questions. At least I know the early Church leaders didn’t require more of the other followers of Christ than they themselves were willing to give.

I wish you luck. I think you need to focus on the fact that those who actually knew Jesus and saw him killed, ran and hid in fear, but who then saw him resurrected–gained a strength from that and died for what they saw and knew. They didn’t die for something they knew to be false. They were in a different position than we are and than the suicide bombers are–we believe on testimony–not on our first hand observation of the event. I’m not dying for a story I make up.

The peace of Christ,
Mark

The peace of Christ,
Mark

There are plenty of differences. Obviously, people are willing to die for many different causes including causes that are not faith based. The early Christians submitted to martrydom as opposed to denying their faith in Jesus Christ. This is quite different from suicide bombers who are not being forced by pain of death to “deny” their faith. They are on the attack and are not victims. Their suicide attacks have a number of motivating factors, but none of their “suicide” attacks resemble the submission of an early Christian to martyrdom. That essential difference makes the deaths of Christian martyrs a genuine witness to “the truth” as opposed to anything done in the way of attacks and suicide bombings that are committed in the name of religion. The cause and the reasons that motivate suicide bombers are something quite different. Perhaps an exploration of those motives would be worthwhile.

I hope that helps.

Excellent! :thumbsup:

Especially the point about their leaders not engaging in suicide bombing–while Christianity’s very founder, was first to stand firm onto death (in contrast, Mohammed died of natural causes–in his 60’s–in the comfort of his home, head resting on his wife’s lap).

First, the Suicide Bombers are killing innocent people, that clearly is Evil with a Capital E. If someone can’t discern right from Pure Evil, I would have to question their ability to discern what is worth dying for and what is not.

Also worth noting: Christ resurrected from death–thereby proving that He was whom He claimed He was, and showing His promises to be true.

Mohammed…left a legacy. As did the Buddha, and the founder of every other religion.

Only Christ died…and came back.

Where is the proof of the alleged ‘70 virgins’ one is supposedly to get upon their ‘martyrdom’?

The question is though: what differentiates the second generation of martyrs who didn’t personally see Jesus, from the suicide bombers in terms of faith.

Besides the fundamental difference of someone being executed for their faith, and someone killing as many people as they can for their faith?

One HUGE difference is that the Apostles and first Christians claimed to PERSONALLY witness the miracles they were telling that Jesus performed, including His Resurrection.

They KNEW whether what they claimed was true or not. And they willingly went to their deaths for their testimony about the Resurrection, rather than recant that testimony.

By their fruits you shall know them. The faith of the suicide bombers instructs them to kill as many infidels as they can. The faith of the second generation of Christian martyrs tells them to proclaim the truth of Christ, even if others kill you for it.

Yes. This is a good answer. Sometimes it is hard to think on your feet
when an unexpected question arises and many pairs of eyes are staring at you waiting for an answer! There is a big difference because
the early Christians were killed for their faith and were innocent and captured. The suicide bombers want to die and take as many infidels with them. They are killing for their beliefs and wanting to wipeout the unbelievers. So there really can be no comparison.

A Christian martyr is one willing to die for his love of Christ and love of neighbor.

In the Christian martyr the force of hate is applied to silence the witness the love of Christ and love of neighbor

The suicide bomber has an internal hatred which destroys everybody, ‘exploding’ violence against the faithful to terrorize and silence the love of Christ.

The suicide bomber is a satanic killer willing to die for hate, this is not a martyr.

JoeT

Very interesting thread! The deaths of the apostles was very convincing to me for a while but then I heard the argument about how others also die for a plethora of reasons and beliefs and I was stumped again. (I am full of doubts and very easy to mislead when it comes to these issues…:frowning: ) Thank you all for your input. I will remember this thread if I am ever faced with these doubts again :extrahappy:

I think something curious is that the APOSTLES, the people who saw Jesus and who claimed to have seen him risen from the dead, were wiling to die. Of course, people who are separated from their Savior/Prophet/Great Leader through time and space might be willing to die out of their faith.

Yet, people who would know whether what they were teaching or not is true (because they knew in their heart of hearts whether they SAW JESUS RISEN AGAIN), who are willing to die for that–that implies that they really saw something and it really changed their lives. Because they aren’t basing their belief and martyrdom on mere faith… they are basing it also on what they have seen… and few would die for what he knows is a lie.

I don’t think that’s really important when it comes to proving that Jesus rose from the dead. It is the witness of those who saw him die and then claimed that he rose–that is important–it is on that claim that the rest of us believe. The question is would they have died for something they new to be false? Remember they didn’t really derive power or well being from the claim–they lived in persecution and fear of death for the claim–that’s strong proof for their claim. They were transformed from scarred men in hiding to brave men preaching the resurrection. It’s not really about dying for what you believe, but rather would they have died for what they knew to be a lie.

It’s not that someone today gives up their life for faith in Jesus that makes the resurrection true–it’s that those who saw him risen did. The rest of us are trusting their witness as credible. The question above just isn’t relevant to proving whether or not Jesus rose from the dead–and isn’t that really the question from your first post?

The peace of Christ,
Mark

Yes, I was just…commenting.

But to address your question specifically, I’d say that the Apostolic martyrs didn’t die for some***thing***, they died for some***one***–whom they knew; especially upon the Resurrection (this was what I was alluding to above), which was indisputable proof of that what Christ promised, he was capable of delivering.

To an even more impressive degree, the same can be said of post-Apostolic martyrs who die for Christ (someone–THE ONE, really), based on the relationship. They did not, and do not, die for an ideal–they died (and continue to die for) Christ–even though they never knew Yeshua, the man; only the Risen Christ, which requires an even greater degree of faith.

“…Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13.

Hence Apostolic and post-apostolic martyrdom is driven by the same sense Christian ethic–out of Charity (Catholic sense), out of love, and out of genuine sacrifice–they died, and continue to die, for Christ–not for some lofty ideal.

In contrast, the suicide bomber is driven by the faux promise of ‘70 virgins…’, for glory (i.e. their their legacy), monetary compensation to their heirs–especially when they can’t provide for their own in this life–and with the intent to compel belief in their religion:

And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing…and fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone.”–the Qu’ran, 2:191 et. seq.

Flawed, bogus, and ever unproven though the ‘promise’ (of 70 virgins, etc) may be–the suicide bomber’s motivation is selfishness–for the reward of ‘70 virgins…’, their own glory, the posthumous glory that accrues to their heirs/family, etc, and for coercion–to compel others, to believe as they to.

NB: my point about Christ actually coming back from the dead, was that there was something to ‘hang their hats on’ so to speak, that is completely lacking in Islam; but that belies the greater point, which is the ‘whom’ for which Christian martyrs readily offer up their lives, vs the ‘why’, for which Muslim suicide bombers do.

Incorrect. Krishna died and resurrected too.

Depending on the veracity one accords to these stories, we could also add Baal, Tammuz, Osiris, Quetzalcoatl, and Dionysus, among others.

The lack of historical evidence and credible witnesses however, keeps the rest of those from passing the threshold of veracity that Christ’s Resurrection has.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krishna#Later_life

Then Krishna, with his physical body[83] ascended back to his eternal abode, Goloka vrindavan and this event marks departure of Krishna from the earth.[84][85][86] The news was conveyed to Hastinapur and Dwaraka by eyewitnesses to this event.[83]

There were eyewitnesses.

Also, there is nothing that verifies the resurrection of Christ. All we have is a written agenda (the Bible) that alleges there were eyewitnesses, but no contemporary sources that mention the miraculous deeds of Christ by outsiders or anyone, to corroborate that claim. It seems you’d have to give the evidence for Krishna as a god the same weight you give for Christ being God, if you logically follow that one through to its end.

As a side question, does just having eyewitnesses to an event suddenly make the event true? There were thousands of eyewitnesses and people with direct experiences with Sathiya Say Baba. His miracles even captured on video recordings and are very well-documented. Was Sathiya a god?

We have historical evidence that Christ existed. As for “outsiders”–the Christians were made ‘outsiders’ by the Jews, from whom they were expelled. Their testimony was against their own interest–their grand reward for pursuing this ‘agenda’, was being ostracized from their own people, then later persecuted and slaughtered. That hardly sounds like pursuing an ‘agenda’; on the contrary–their blood testifies to the veracity of Christ.

It seems you’d have to give the evidence for Krishna as a god the same weight you give for Christ being God, if you logically follow that one through to its end.

I said nothing of evidence of Christ being God; only of Him being resurrected from the dead.

Christ’s divinity–His personage in the Trinity that is–is strictly a matter of Faith.

I have no idea who this Sathiya dude is, but to your question–“does having eyewitnesses to an event suddenly make it true?”–not at all. You have to take the totality of the evidence into consideration to determine veracity–including credibility of the witnesses–which is why I say that Christ’s witnesses are credible, because their testimony was completely against their own interest.

When did Krishna live?

Who are Krishna’s supposed eye-witnesses?

What were the circumstances of their testimony?

You brazenly, insultingly accuse the Christians of pursuing an agenda; what of Krishna’s alleged witnesses?

What ramifications did they allegedly endure, for their testimony?

Was their testimony congruent with, or diametrically opposed to their own self-interest?

What other evidence is there, of Krishna’s story?

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