The Power of Martyrdom

I find myself more and more in contradiction with the ‘values’ of the Western world.

I resent its constant and brutal stampede over the traditions and common sense of the past age.

I wonder if people realize somehow that not everything new is good and not everything old is bad.

I guess they don’t. Otherwise, they’d say or do something.

I am not particularly keen to follow in the footsteps taken by our first martyrs, who at the dawn of the first millennium defied a Rome, keen on breaking all dissidents who opposed its pagan Dogma.

That was wrong then, as it was also wrong later when the patristics visited revenge on the last pagan strongholds, once Christ became the word du jour.

But as much as I used to detest the stupid, stupid martyrs, dying blindly for a faith they could not understand, rationalize, or deconstruct because it did not yet exist, as it does now, I am beginning to understand the necessity of their actions. Even though I still believe them misguided from a purely logical viewpoint.

You see, as misguided as they were, to want to die for a Christ, who was not the established figure, in the name of whom many, many millions laid down their lives in the intervening 2,000 years, the martyrs did do us a favor.

They showed us the power of protest. In the age of the absolute power of the Caesars, they defied that power like nobody has done it since.

They went to their deaths, which were unbelievably savage, as being mauled alive by a starved lion is bound to be, with a smile, happy to exit the wicked world of ‘rationality’ and ‘law’, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

They rejected everything that was worldly, including their own families, friends, estates, commitments, honour even, secure in their knowledge that their refusal of the dogma would grant them passage into the world above.

Jean-Léon Gérôme – The Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer, 1863.

What they did not realize, or perhaps they might have glimpsed in their last earthly moments, was the potency of their message to future generations.

Now, with the risk of repeating myself, I used to think them mere deluded simpletons who had taken leave of their senses. And who, I believed, harbored regrets as deep as the gnawing feline teeth biting into their entrails.

But I don’t believe that anymore.

I believe they scored an important victory for Humanity in those bloodied arenas of the Empire. What the emperors (and myself did for the first 30 years of my cogent life) mistook for insanity, was in fact one of the bravest acts of valour ever performed by any Homo Sapiens.

In sacrificing their lives, the martyrs changed the hearts and minds of their pagan brethren, who could not fathom the nature of the animus moving such people. Dying was cheap back then and continues to be cheap even today. I would say that perhaps death is more common now than it ever was before in history. We just hide it and our emotions better now compared to 1st century AD.

But the death of these people inspired a hundred generations across time and space. It formed the Spirit of Christianity. It moved mountains and drove millions to reckless abandon. It justified excesses too, of course, it did. Most movements, and spiritual movements more so than others, do both. They drive people for good. And they drive people for evil.

But that is neither here nor there.

The Lesson here is crystal clear. Just because the Man, Government, the Elites tell us that we need to heed the Dogma of Globalization, Marxism, Liberalism, or Gender Identity, that doesn’t mean we ought to listen to them.

Because, my friends, that would mean to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. But that is not what the martyrs did, n’est ce pas?

Caesar’s Coin, by Peter Paul Rubens (1612-1614).

Not only they refused to pay Caesar his temporal dues, they denied him secular homage as well.

They chose to remove themselves entirely from the Urbi et orbi led by the Emperor.

Instead they chose a distant, invisible Son of God, whom they worshipped, turned their cheeks for, died in the Name of, thus becoming shinning beacons for others who went to emulate them.

Christianity won the day because of their Magnificent Defiance. In the face of the emperor, of all the odds, of all those who persecuted them for hundreds of years, Christians overcame their underdog condition, becoming the rulers of two Empires, and countless other Kingdoms, principalities, and political constructs.

Their story goes to show that no political contest is ever won by the most powerful force in the field. Instead, history teaches us that Victory can be snatched from the hands of Defeat, through sheer dogged persistence, endurance, and moral stamina.

No pain no gain. Nothing worth having ever came without having to fight for it, tooth and nail, literally more often than not.

Life is about Resisting. Life is about Fighting. Life is about Surviving.

Life is not, however, about Surviving at all costs. And that is the lesson the Martyrs taught us.

If we now know something is this. The Power of any Ruling Elite is based on Fear. The Martyrs overcame that Fear. And in doing so they unleashed the progressive potential of Christianity’s many tenets. They moved mountains in terms of the philosophical paradigm. They enabled the progress from a world nearing its demise to a world that situated Europe above other continents in terms of Messianic values, to say the least.

They, the Martyrs, defeated the Iron of their gaolers with the mortal Flesh of their bodies. And in doing so they paved the way for others to shed away their Fear of Government.

Their Revolt led to Revolution and before the world knew it, Rome, Ancient Rome was no more.

But Christianity absorbed and integrated the Roman World fully into its new theological model.

So for the first time, a grassroots movement infiltrated all levels of government, achieving the unattainable: regime change from within.

Self-sacrifice is what made this change possible. A sacrifice of the first order of magnitude. One that is almost unthinkable today, in our hedonistic world. But in many ways, Rome was by all means a hedonistic society as well, and it still fell to a bunch of ‘lunatics’ ready to die for their beliefs. And the thing was that Rome could understand force of arms, murder, crime, rape and pillage, having employed all such means of ruling, both at home as well as abroad. What Rome could not make sense of was how eager to die early Christians were. Ready to die, but not kill.

To the eyes of the pleasure driven, materialistic Romans, they were nuts to want to throw immediate pleasures away for the sake of torture, pain, and death in the arena.

Then, as now, consumers could not understand that an idea, any idea could be worth dying for.

After all, since one just doesn’t die for material stuff, why would one die for immaterial things?

But that is exactly the stuff martyrs are made of. They are made of dreams and aspirations of a better, fairer, grander world. They are visionaries. They are portents of change.

But that change did not happen overnight. So while Christians embraced change, and Pagans dug in their heels, most Non Playable Characters (NPCs) making up 90 percent of the world at any given moment, brought the popcorn and started watching the show. Because, one must remember the fight is not between two sides of a conflict. The fight is always about conquering the hearts and minds of those afflicted by the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

The fight, my friends, is for the hearts and minds of the vast majority of people, who take their cues and news from the public forum, the market, the media, etc. They, the undecided, the silent majority, are the deciding factor of any contest. That is how it’s always been. And this is how the game is played. We may not like it. We sure as hell don’t have to. But it’s still how it is. Alas!

So after some 300 years, the Christians won the day. Yeah, that’s right. The underdogs won the City, the Crown, the Caesar, and everything intramuros or in between.

Remember, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. In Year 1 AD, any betting man would have refused to place a single denarius on the poor Christians. In Year 313 AD, any betting man would have been nuts not to have seen the writing on the Wall.

So ask yourselves this. What, if any, would motivate you to fight and die for?

Would you fight and die for resources? Would you fight and die for others’ rights to dispose of resources?

Or would you rather fight and die facing fearful odds, for the ashes of your fathers, and the temples of your Gods?

—————–

For those of us who seek counsel, like I do, in the wisdom of the ancients, I will leave you with these two quotes from two important figures of the Golden Age of Reason.

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force! Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.

George Washington

“And how can man die better

Than facing fearful odds

For the ashes of his fathers

And the temples of his Gods?”

 Thomas Babington Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome

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