The martrydom argument


Some people often invoke the argument that many followers of Jesus were willing to die in His name, and cite their commitment as evidence of the Christian faith.

But many people were willing to die for David Koresh of the Branch Davidian, so how come he isn’t the messiah. Furthermore, the people who crashed planes into the WTC were willing to die for the cause of Allah. Why one cannot conclude that the disciples were deluded?


They were deluded! They died for erroneous beliefs.

Even Christian martyrs die for their belief in Jesus … so how to tell them apart from those who died for erroneous beliefs? Simple.

The first martyrs after Jesus died, (all the apostles almost to the man) died for refusing to reject what they SAW. They saw Jesus perform miracles, raise the dead, the SAW Jesus DIE and they SAW Him alive again! They SAW Him go UP to Heaven.

They died for refusing to deny that. They died for refusing to deny factual events that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was God and not just a belief.


Exactly what the second poster said, we have proof while others speculate and are so falsely assured, it’s a shame.


Actually, they **allegedly **died for **allegedly **refusing what they **allegedly **saw and **allegedly **experienced. There is absolutely no evidence (outside the Bible, of course) - let alone proof - that any of this actually happened.


Taken by itself, it is very weak - it proves nothing. The same is true of arguments from its truth based on its propagation - that is no less valid for Islam,which spread with quite amazing speed up to 750 or so.

Which is why the argument from martyrdom for Christ needs to be grounded in more convincing reasons first; they are its bedding, as in a garden :slight_smile:

Christianity is not the kind of thing that can be disassembled into a heap of unrelated ideas, that make sense individually - it is (to change the metaphor) a constellation of ideas, which re-inforce one another & illuminate one another; rather like the bits & pieces of a body, in fact.

What martyrdom for Christ is, also needs to be made clear - by Christian standards, it is a perversion of language to call jihadis martyrs; a martyr is a witness to Christ, & Christ shed no bled but His own. Confusion is sure to result if a distinctively Christian concept is applied univocally to a non-Christian entity - or* vice versa*.


I assumed that the disciples did die for Jesus for the sake of the argument. I have no idea whether they did or didn’t die for Him so I am willing to grant that assumption for intellectual charity.


I assume you have no problems accepting historical accounts of secular events? Yet you doubt accounts of these martyrs? Have you seen the historical data on this?


Some I may, others I may not. Depends on the circumstances.

What are those historical data you refer to?


That is correct. The argument of martyrdom is, by itself, indicative, but not conclusive. One must include all facets of salvation history, including the Old Testament prophecies, fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, the miracles he performed, the witnesses to His death, the same witnesses to His resurrection, the miracles that continued in His name, and continue today…etc… It is implausible to exhaust the reasons in a little post. :smiley:


That is right. Christian martyrs are put to death through persecutions by others, and never by their own hand. You can’t be a suicide bomber and considered a martyr at the same time.

You have to look at the character of the apostles as well and how unlikely it was that they would defend their teaching to the death. beyond the apostles, the number of martyrs in Rome, for example is staggering. There can be no comparison with something like David Koresh’s cult.


Mostly ECF. Quite a few. Do you have any reason to doubt the accounts other than that they’re catholic?


Sorry… what is ECF? I am not familiar with that abbreviation.


So what makes Jesus different from David Koresh?

Why should I accept Jesus as messiah because people died for Him, while rejecting David Koresh?


See above.


You can certainly begin to make comparisons with Jesus and Mr. Koresh as well as with other prophets.

First, both required loyalty and some followed that loyalty to their death. So, they’re similar in that way.
Both gave a religious message - again another similarity.

Now both were attractive to people. But start with that comparison. Measure the number of followers of Koresh vs those who follow Christ. There’s a good difference. How attractive was Koresh vs Jesus? How many gave their lives for Jesus in the early Church through today? Hundreds of thousands were martyred for Christ. Compare that with Koresh.

What about the lasting value of the message? I don’t think Mr. Koresh’s message has even survived one decade. He does not win converts now after his death. Jesus, however, wins multitudes from every walk of life.

… ok, this comparison could go on and on. The Gospel teachings of Christ are acclaimed worldwide. They formed entire cultures – just about the whole continent of Europe was formed and shaped by the Gospel message. Again, people were put to death by merely proclaiming the message of Jesus – but this did not stop them.

Why did people die for Koresh? What is his message? What culture did it shape? What are his followers like today? Take a look at someone like St. Augustine, a follower of Jesus and the most brilliant mind of his era (one of the most brilliant of any era).
Or how about the martyr of Christ, St. Thomas More - chancellor of England, one of the most brilliant men of England at the time? He died for Christ.

We don’t see that with Koresh’s followers. It was a very small number and his message did not reach beyond his compound.


The martyrdom argument is incredibly lame, IMHO. People will die for all sorts of things, and we have little proof outside of the Bible that the specific actions of Jesus are real.

Reminds me of those “arguments” that Jesus must have been telling the truth because it was not in line with His personality to lie. :rolleyes:

Of course, this doesn’t invalidate the Catholic faith. It just means that this one argument is not good support for it. I find strong support for the truth of the Catholic faith in more general philosophic arguments, and thus I am willing to accept less supportable things like the truth of the Bible as a result of the acceptance of the supportable larger framework.


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