Choose Martyrdom; What Could Be Better, Withal?

The culture wars are grown of late so acute that it seems we shall all, on both sides, be soon forced to an outwardly testified decision for one side or the other, at cost of our lives. Perhaps I exaggerate; perhaps this shall all blow over yet again, for a while, so that we of our sort may skate by without undue cost.

Or, perhaps it shall not. Perhaps this moment is for us like all the others of our lives under the orbit of the Moon, in which we must make this very same choice.

Come what may in the wider world, we must all choose for ourselves before we die and can no longer choose. So – given the near approach of death for us all – the choice looms at every moment urgent.

For those of us who have not yet decided – for those of us, i.e., who have not yet decided either for life and order, on the one hand – for the Lógos, in short – or for death and disorder on the other: now is the time. It is time to declare ourselves, if only inwardly – but then – of course, for how could it be otherwise? – eo ipso, outwardly, and consequentially. In other words, in terms of our bank accounts, and our access thereto.

Understand: your decision will cost you your life, *no matter how you decide.* There is no way to keep your life, and eat it too. Whatever you decide, you will totally lose the alternative option.

So. Will you choose life, and order, and reason, and the Lógos? Or will you choose otherwise?

If you choose the former, you will be choosing martyry. And so will you be choosing immortal blessedness, and glory, and … all that you might ever have wished for.

If you choose the latter, then, sure, you may forever enjoy such derivative defective goods as remain to those who have forsworn the Good as such. But then, in comparison to the former choice, the latter cannot but be Hell.

So, choose.

I choose martyry.

19 thoughts on “Choose Martyrdom; What Could Be Better, Withal?

  1. Martyrdom is the only end of a man of principle, that is why only principled men become martyrs. True believers of any cause are willing to die for it. So Martyrdom is the natural end result of choosing principles as a rock on which to build your life.

    So it is not really a call to accept a fate of martyrdom, as much as a call to conversion—to die for Christian and Catholic principles, the end result of which will be martyrdom no matter how you slice it.

    A Christian life even in peacetime demands nothing less than a full sacrifice of our lives in the conduct of our vocation amd the service of God. What husband, surely, is unwilling to sacrifice in the service of his family? It is a little, daily martyrdom, rather than a big sacrifice that takes everything all at once. A little daily sacrifice or a big one, I hope to be ready and willing to choose to serve God however I am called.

    I’ll see you at the gallows then, and God willing, shortly after I will see you at the Gates.

  2. I find this sort of talk nihilistic, and a theme in Christianity about which I have my doubts, like eschatology. I don’t want martyrdom, I want a Christendom in which to live and thrive, and in which others in my family line can live and thrive.

    The Left has no intention of meekly submitting to anybody else’s decree, and it’s got them control of all the major institutions. When the last Christian meekly extends his neck, the Left will have everything and Christians will be extinct just like the Shakers. How is that God’s will, for Christianity to disappear from the Earth? Are we going to cede the field to the Mormons, who will, I predict, become perfectly reconciled to Leftism to realize their delirious vision of the USA as New Zion?

    • Who said martyrdom entailed surrender? The soldier who dies in battle for a righteous cause is a martyr. The call to martyrdom is a war cry.

      If you want Christendom, the only way you have of achieving it is to start living a holy Christian life. That is going to involve the sacrifice of many things that you might very much enjoy. That, too, is a sort of martyrdom. And it is not unlikely these days, as Scoot says, to earn you some of the modern martyrdom Professor Smith describes. For, it will require of you that you refuse to lay a pinch of incense on the Establishment’s SJW altar, where sacrifices to their god – Moloch – are immolated. It will require of you, not just that you be the first one to stop clapping at the applause lines of the SJW Narrative, but even that you refrain from clapping altogether.

      That will mean trouble. And it will take manly courage.

      • If you want Christendom, the only way you have of achieving it is to start living a holy Christian life.

        The only way to achieve Christendom is to keep out the non-Christians. Constantinople was Christendom so long as the Christians were more numerous and better armed than the Ottomans. Palestine was Christendom so long as it was under the protection of armed Christian legionnaires. Once it wasn’t, Palestine was Muslim. Now a big chunk of Palestine is Jewish. Jewish nationalists are really good fighters and have no qualms about what must be done to maintain their Zion.

        In terms of getting and keeping your Christendom, the lesson of history seems to be blood and iron > prayer and fasting. When Constantine and his successors wanted Christendom, they had to slaughter rival family members and raise and inspire large armies to do bloody things.

        I’m not calling for Christians to become Mongols or Vikings, but people require land for living and if you want a Christendom then it seems the lesson of history is you have to raise an army and take it. Or, like the Amish, just find a big country desperate for settlers who will let you buy up a bunch of land and opt out of government programs.

        I guess we can add tithing to the list of holy things to do, but these days that just means the Catholics and Lutherans are better funded to import non-Christians and net tax-consumers.

        In sum, I don’t see what the current exhortations (which I have heard as long as I’ve been alive) for more and better individual piety are supposed to gain us. Is it the conservatives’ argument that Christians have gotten slack and, like the ancient Israelis, are just ripe to be conquered by the Babylonians again?

      • If you want Christendom, the only way you have of achieving it is to start living a holy Christian life.

        I.e., the only way that you, the antignostic – just one guy – have of engendering Christendom is by making more Christians, starting of course with yourself. There is no way that you alone can keep out the Ottomans. But what you can do, by living a holy life, is show the Ottomans the error of their ways, so that they want to convert to your ways – as the Goths wanted desperately to be civilized like the Christian Romans and Greeks, and so constituted the main engine of continued Classical civilization in Iberia and North Africa.

        And you can start living a holy life right now. You don’t need special equipment or training to get started. You don’t need help from anyone other than Jesus, although you can certainly get a lot of help from other members of his Body.

      • Your point is well taken. Jesus said that faith could move mountains, but he did not say it could do this in the absence of dynamite and earthmoving machinery. Prayer completes the iron triangle of hard work and intelligence; it does not make hard work and intelligence superfluous.

      • There is no way that you alone can keep out the Ottomans. But what you can do, by living a holy life, is show the Ottomans the error of their ways, so that they want to convert to your ways – as the Goths wanted desperately to be civilized like the Christian Romans and Greeks, and so constituted the main engine of continued Classical civilization in Iberia and North Africa.

        This is really cringe-worthy and ahistorical. Have any of your Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist neighbors showed up weeping at your door, convinced of the error of their ways by your incredible piety? After all, their holy men say pretty much the same thing: don’t lie, steal or cheat; be faithful to your spouse; love your neighbor; give alms; attend worship services. As for the atheists, they have a whole State and marketplace devoted to their creed; Christianity offers them nothing.

        Christianity got its Christendom through very ruthless means by militant Roman emperors and their well-armed and well-trained legions. When the Empire died, Christendom disappeared. The Middle East, the very birthplace of Christianity, is Muslim and Jewish with a vestigial Christian presence. Europe, formerly the heart of Christendom, is a museum increasingly populated by non-Christians.

        As I’ve previously commented, even the Christian hierarchs don’t believe in their own sacraments. If they did, they’d have told the State authorities go to hell, arrest as many of us as you want, we will not stop true worship and if you bolt the doors shut we’ll meet in houses. Faced with the atheistic State’s challenge to hallowed Christian praxis, the Church folded like a cheap suitcase. If the hierarchy no longer believes in the sacraments I’m not sure why I should.

        But I’m ranting a bit. Your thesis is that doubling down on individual piety will shame the atheists and Muslims and other religious competitors (whom we are powerless to stop) and that is the “only” way to Christendom. Again, that is an ahistorical thesis and I don’t see it supported anywhere. The Middle East and North Africa is frankly “Exhibit A” for what happens when the Christians lose their martial advantage.

      • Have any of your Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist neighbors showed up weeping at your door, convinced of the error of their ways by your incredible piety?

        Those guys – and the atheists, too – have been pouring over the borders of Christendom from the beginning, and to this very day they pour every year by millions over the borders of its corrupt and vitiated remnant. Holiness works, and people find it attractive, even though they don’t understand it, quite, or therefore carry it into practice consistently. QED.

        This is really cringe-worthy and ahistorical. … Christianity got its Christendom through very ruthless means by militant Roman emperors and their well-armed and well-trained legions. When the Empire died, Christendom disappeared.

        That is really cringe worthy and ahistorical. The Roman Empire was already on the retreat before it became thoroughly Christian; the legions were mostly Pagan, Manichean, or Mithraic. The northern Europeans – and for that matter the Persians, the Armenians, the Russians, the Chinese, the Indians, the Africans, the Arabs, and the Amerindians – were converted, not at the point of the sword, but by missionaries, many of whom they slaughtered. And when the Empire died – in 1453 – the Holy Roman Empire was still going strong, and did not end until 1806. 150 years later, Christian armies had completely conquered dar al Islam.

        Have you never heard how many were converted by the fearless, indeed happy witness of the martyrs in the Colosseum, or the serenity of Polycarp and Lawrence as they burned? Or, for that matter, the fearless, joyous, incredibly risky sermon of Saint Peter on the Feast of Pentecost, which alone converted thousands? That, at a time when professing Christianity could get you killed, pronto, by agents of the Temple Police, like Saul.

        To be sure, Christian warriors are needed to defend Christendom. And robust Christian cultures have supplied them aplenty. Have you never heard of Bohemund, Saint Louis IX, or Hugues de Payens? The *entirety* of the Western notion of chivalry presupposes ardent Christian faith. Think of Arthur, Parsifal, Galahad. They inspired the Crusades. To become a knight in the first place, you had (among other things) first to spend a whole night in vigil, on your knees, pledging fealty to Christ.

        In this, we see that knighthood is Christian kingship writ small. The vow of fealty is in both cases the same.

        But, no Christians → no Christendom. And, no Christendom → no robust Christian society → no dour dire Christian warriors. It is only the real true Christians who are willing and happy to die for Christ and his domain. Any man might be willing to lay down his life for his nation, his family, his friends. But only a Christian might be willing to lay down his life for Christ, and so for Christendom.

        If you are not trying to live a holy Christian life, with all the danger and sacrifice and plain hard work – both practical and spiritual – that such a life involves, why then, lo, you are a Christian in name only; i.e., you are not really a Christian, but rather a rank hypocrite; and it is impossible to found a Christian domain on such as you. Indeed, if you are a Christian in name only, then are you (sorry!) a traitor to Christendom, and an ally of the Enemy, in all the forms that he takes. Indeed, in that case are you a worse enemy to Christendom than any honest Mohammedan or Jew. Saladin was a better friend of Christ than the millions of Christian hypocrites. I wager he gets into heaven, on account of his courage and honesty; not to mention his chivalry.

        Your thesis is that doubling down on individual piety will shame the atheists and Muslims and other religious competitors (whom we are powerless to stop) and that is the “only” way to Christendom.

        No. You’ve got it bass ackward, because you are taking the worldly perspective as primary. My thesis is that if you are not a Christian in practice, and working on your sainthood, why then you have not one thing to complain about when Christendom is overrun, because – obviously – you don’t really care about Christianity in the first place; and that, in point of practical fact, *the only thing it lies in your own personal power to do about this present admittedly horrible situation is to be yourself a true and valorous salient of Christ and his Church;* and that *you won’t be able to do that unless you are doing your best to live as a Christian.*

        Living as yourself a Christian is *the only tool at your disposal.* So, stop all this cheap and timorous whining about the bishops. There have always been plenty of foolish bishops. So what? How does the perfidy of some other guys let you off the hook? Are you any better than they? If not, why not? Is your own personal failure their fault? Hell no. It is yours. So, what’s up with that?

        Get real. Stand, and deliver. Be a knight. Be ready to die for Christ. Indeed, go ahead and get started on that project, by starting to sacrifice your sins, so that you can be a *true* knight of Christ, instead of just LARPing at it. Or else, just shut up and slink away like a coward and a quisling.

        Holiness is *hard.* That’s why there are so relatively few saints. But what else is there? If you are not trying to be a saint, why then by definition you make yourself a wiling servant of the Enemy: a slave, and a weakling. Nietzsche, call your office.

        Choose. And for God’s sake, stop this pusillanimous moaning and groaning about how weak and timid everyone else has been. Get strong yourself; what, are you able to make anyone else strong? Get ready for the grille, the lions, the flail, the scourge, and the wheel. Get ready for the cross, and get ready to welcome and enjoy it. Matthew 16:24.

        But also, get ready to fight, of course. You shall have to fight. Luke 22:36.

        Wherever a Christian is, there is Christendom. Christendom subsists in no other way. So, if you like and admire and want Christendom, go ahead and be it. It cannot happen in any other way.

  3. Modern martyrdom is not like the martyrdom of old. Modern tyrants have learned that feeding people to the lions engenders sympathy for the lions’ food. They have also learned that martyrs are encouraged when they can imagine a final moment of romantic defiance. So they have made modern martyrdom a sordid and shabby affair. They have learned from the gangsters that it is much more effective to hurt a man’s children than it is to hurt the man himself. They have learned how to make a martyr loathsome in the public eye. If they must kill you, they will first ensure that you die in utter despair, spat upon and agonizing over the curse you have been to those you love. Don’t prepare to be Errol Flynn swaggering up the scaffold steps with a jaunty cigarette in your mouth. Modern martyrdom will be far, far worse than that.

  4. Anti-gnostic I think you make some good points.

    I view martyrdom as deriving from the inherent unworldliness of Christianity. In particular, the principle that there are some things more important than bodily survival.

    Here are two concrete examples that I find helpful. (You may already have heard these stories).

    Polycarp, when he heard that Christians were being arrested, wanted to remain in Smyrna, but was convinced by some friends to flee to a farm near the city. The Romans found him after torturing a servant on the farm. At that point, Polycarp could flee no more and when he was brought before the governor of Asia and told to either swear by the luck of Caesar or revile Christ, he said “Eighty and six years I have served Him, and He has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?” Once he had exhausted all other options, Polycarp chose death rather than renounce Christianity.

    Moses, one of the desert fathers had previously been a bandit and then converted and became a monk. After having been a monk for many years, it was heard that some nomads were coming to raid the place where the monks lived. The other monks fled, but Moses stayed and was killed by the nomads. I don’t remember if the account I read said this, but I think that Moses had killed people during his time as a bandit and he viewed death at the hands of the nomads as a penance.

    But that being said, there are a lot of options before one reaches that point. Once all other options are exhausted, one might have to choose death, but one should not be reckless and neglect other duties.

    • I think most of the Orthosphere, including our Mr. Kristor, would fight first so I apologize for placing him with the social justice-Christians. And I agree wholeheartedly on the value of praxis and martyrdom. But I’m convinced that the full expression of Christianity is in a Christendom and the secular democratic State is not going to get us there. The Amish are living in a human zoo and on borrowed time.

      • Agreed on all counts. If you are not willing to fight and die for a cause, why then, you are not really interested in it in the first place. Fighting and dying for the cause, NB, *just is* praxis and martyrdom (*and vice versa*) and one of its fullest expressions (there are many) is in the Christian knight.

        By the way, Kristor Lawson is my real name. Let the Enemy and his goddamned minions come and find me. The Amish are on his list, too, and he knows where they live. We fool ourselves in supposing that he does not know where to find us, or how to hurt us.

        Indeed, he’s already at us, all the time. That’s why we – friends, at bottom, and shieldmates – are having these arguments.

  5. Since 2002 I’ve been pleading with Christians, first progressives and then traditionalist protestants, to begin to fight the system just by taking the sabbath seriously and therefore not shopping that one day a week. That is all. A quiet statement of faith and a small refusal to support the system.

    I’ve not had one taker, not for even the tiniest of martyrdoms, that of not going to Walmart on Sunday afternoon.

    May God have mercy upon us.

    • Wings and beer is the communion of the football watching sunday liturgy for millions. Doesnt mean it’s hopeless, just that we live in mission territory. If the Jesuits can face the Native Americans, we can face the Walmart tribe. And if the Walmart tribe rebukes us, shake the dust from your shoes!

      • The mental world of the Jesuits was closer to that of the Iroquois and Huron than any of these three are to postmodern man. Postmodern man is self-indulgent and his god, when he has one, is an indulgent god. We pretend that we are shocked that the medieval Church sold indulgences, although that may be because we believe indulgences are free for the taking.

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