Human nature is such that no sane man would give up his own life to a belief that he knows is untrue. Christ's message must have been so strong that his disciples died for it. Where are we going wrong as Christians today that his message is often drowned out in a world racing towards money/pleasure. Have we ourselves lost our faith?
Deleted as being off-topic.
If atheists want to argue there is already an Atheist/Christian Debate Thread.
This thread is open for those who wish to discuss the question posed in the OP that contrasts the faith of the apostles with much modern Christianity.
Christ spoke of believers being put to death over their faith in Matthew 24 when his disciples put it to him about the end of the world and his return.
"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake". Matthew 24.
It appears again in Revelation.
"Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years." Revelation 20:4
"If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire!"
If there is no fire, or not even a few sparks, then we must look at the quality or authenticity of our faith and witness.
Because all believers in Christ are not one and the same. The scriptures tell us that a divided house cannot stand. So long as Christians remain divided, the world can never take Christianity seriously.
Well obviously some people take Christianity seriously. But the credibility of the Church is diminished by the fragmentation. I'm reminded of a saying of St. Robert Bellarmine:
"It is granted to few to recognize the true Church amid the darkness of so many schisms and heresies, and to fewer still so to love the truth which they have seen as to fly to its embrace."
There are plenty of people who still die for their faith. We just happen to live in a society where our faith is acceptable which can sometimes mean that our faith is wishy washy and blends in with the myriad of messages thrown at us on a daily basis.
If we were taken over tomorrow by some anti Christ dictator who condemned all Christians to death, would you deny your faith?
I have seen figures cited to the effect that one Christian is martyred for their faith somewhere in the world every five minutes - so such faith is hardly just a thing of the past.
For an example of this kind of faith we may look to Fr Christian de Chergé, Superior of a Trappists monastery who was killed by Algerian terrorists in 1996. He wrote a last testament to be opened in the event of his death:
The last paragraph, referring to his "friend of my final moment" is believed to be a reference to whoever would deliver the death blow.
PDN, it's the strangest thing that Fr. Christian has come up so much for me all in the one week I saw the movie, 'Of Gods and Men' just last week for the first time and was really moved, couldn't stop thinking about it - then the leaflet we receive during Mass on Sunday had a write up about the Trappist Monastery in Algeria, and the brothers ,also about Christian persecution, to never forget in our comfort about those who are living in war torn countries and doing their best just to live in peace and give hope - Then you mentioned it! It's a hat trick!
Bty, it's a great movie, 'Of Gods and Men' for those who haven't seen it. Highly recommend.
I think with regards the OP that perhaps it may seem like faith is lost at times, but take heart because it isn't - I think it's important to remember that if people choose to be complacent sometimes, to always remember that people died in order that one could have that choice of complacency or zeal.
Remember how lucky we are and support our brothers and sisters around the world who are still struggling against dreadful persecution just to go to Mass at times and practice their faith, there are people risking their lives at this very moment. New Years Day 2011, 21 people lost their lives in Egypt when a Church was bombed, and many others throughout the world before and since.....these things are still happening. It's up to us to keep their memory alive as a lesson of how we are so lucky, and also to stand in solidarity with them and never be complacent.
The Apostles died for 'announcing' their faith, not denouncing it - although it's only words, it's really important to not mix them up.
They were crucified upside down, skinned alive, be-headed, and they never renounced or denounced their faith. They pronounced it, like so many others since, and still.
There is the "cold martyrdom" of enduring mockery, mockery especially towards the Christian beliefs about creation, the original state of man and the fall. The cold martyrdom of swimming against the whole tide of our society may well win a crown as glorious as the "hot martyrdoms" of the first Christians.
It's not just possible but, for me, necessary to Enjoy helping others. Ones faith, ones life, ones mind, actions, words, company can all be enjoyable!
If one doesn't believe that life is good, that we are here to be a comfort and a blessing to each other, then the faith taught to you was bad theology, guilt ridden nonsense. There's a reason why we use the words the Good News, the New Covenant, the Resurrection.
Many bad theologians and bad thinkers and awful speakers and teachers have focused solely on guilt, on the sinfulness of ordinary people while never rejoicing in their perfect beauty.
Too many 'professional' Christians are obsessed with power and authority when they should be on fire about living life as fully and usefully as possible. They have been taught to hate themselves and to hate the world. This is the worst understanding of why Jesus showed up in the first place and why he died.
Perhaps the media paints a version of the world that is 'racing towards money/pleasure' but that is because the media is literally paid for by advertising revenue.
I think that most people are consumed by worry and debts and concerns for their families. Certainly outside the tiny niche of the wealthy in the developed world they are!
My advice is to limit your time discussing things here on Boards and instead volunteer for one of the hundreds of Christian charities and groups in Ireland. All the doom and gloom and arguments are corrosive to a true positive understanding of the whole simple point of the Good News. Get out and get busy Enjoying life!
Ultimately after you have worn out your disco pants, after you have bought your 3 litre turbo car, your Swiss watch, state of the art gadgetry (which I do like...) you are left with a question. Is that all there is? And the answer is No, there is much more. This is the real starting point of your true humanity, true Faith, true New Life.
Sign up to helping others and enjoy the life you have been given!
One final point. If, helping others, you burn out or become consumed by anger or disappointment then you are doing it wrong and need professional direction and help. I say this from experience. Don't try to be a Messiah, that job is already taken. Instead start by doing a little and then, if you can afford the heart, time and money, add to that little amount tiny piece by piece.
Enjoy yourself! And stay away from anger and resentment. It will eat you up like acid.
There will always be others of different faith and no faith. Trying to force them to accept my version of faith is the most evil, genocidal kind of faith of all. Instead, practice faith, hope and charity.
If you agree with me press the thank button, I'm curious to see how many actually read these posts.
There will always be 'but/however/although/whatifs' to any point. If your faith isn't a refuge, a comfort and a Joy then it is nothing.
This post is not directed specifically at the OP or any other person of faith or of none.
Good luck and God's luck to you!
Irish tradition has three kinds of maryr
Red martyrs (died, red for blood poured out)
Green martyrs (monks and nuns, hermits really, who went into the wild green spaces to live solely for God)
White marytrs (who went into exile to be missionaries, from a old writing which described those who followed Columcille to Iona as setting off into the white sky of morning, never to return)
There are still many who are suffering Persecution for their faith in the World. There is the case of Yosef Nadarkani who is an Iranian Christian who's facing the death Penalty. Christians in Northern Nigeria are getting an awful time. They seem to be under constant attack for Islamists (as opposed to Muslims, just so we know the difference).
Personally, I know one lady well, who's waiting 8 years in this country for political asylum due to the blasphemy laws in Pakistan (she's Christian, so she's in real trouble). In Pakistan, even a muslim politician has been assassinated because he supported the abolition of the unjust/abused law!
We appear to have a cushy time in the West at the moment (although some British Christians are getting it pretty tough) but I assure you, many Christians are paying a very high price for their faith.
Then again, The Blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church. Remember them in your prayers and remember too that Church in Chains is an Irish Organization who prays for, highlights the cause of and petitions for the persecuted Church.
@Doc Farrell... So true.. Lot of people out there who want help.