Considering he was neither priest nor scholar, the young man gave sensible, thoughtful replies -- the more so, perhaps, for being untrained, for he had not learned what he should believe or should not believe. Present a statement to him in flagrant contradiction to all Christian doctrine and he could be persuaded to agree on its good sense, unless he remembered it was the sort of thing of which pyres are made for the incautious.
The idea that truth always triumphs over persecution is one of those pleasant falsehoods, which most experience refutes. History is teeming with instances of truth put down by persecution. If not put down forever, it may be set back for centuries.
There was a time when skepticism was an act of rebellion. Since to a degree I both believe in evolution and have faith, I can only conclude that, as prophesied, to have faith will someday be an act of rebellion.
When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet, of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen, some Emily Bronte who dashed her brains out on the moor or mopped and mowed about the highways crazed with the torture that her gift had put her to. Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.
Kate faced the crowd. They were just eyes and teeth to her, just spit and voices. It was a moment, even, before they became people: a man with one blind eye, another whose neck was thick with lumps and weeping wounds of scrofula. The poorest of the market.At Kate's feet, Drina. Her scarf and shirt were torn open.
Long before it was known to me as a place where my ancestry was even remotely involved, the idea of a state for Jews (or a Jewish state; not quite the same thing, as I failed at first to see) had been 'sold' to me as an essentially secular and democratic one. The idea was a haven for the persecuted and the survivors, a democracy in a region where the idea was poorly understood, and a place where—as Philip Roth had put it in a one-handed novel that I read when I was about nineteen—even the traffic cops and soldiers were Jews. This, like the other emphases of that novel, I could grasp. Indeed, my first visit was sponsored by a group in London called the Friends of Israel. They offered to pay my expenses, that is, if on my return I would come and speak to one of their mee
Maybe people had no choice but I wonder sometimes what would have happened if everyone without a choice would have made a choice anyway. If we all chose not to participate. Not to be bullied. Not to take up arms. Not to persecute. What would happen then?
The longer he remained on this earth, the more he was sure that mankind had no clue about God or heaven. Not when they used him as an excuse to kill, to punish, to discriminate.
It was strictly forbidden to preach to other prisoners. It was understood that whoever was caught doing this received a severe beating. A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted their [the communists' ] terms. It was a deal; we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching. They were happy beating us, so everyone was happy.
If you live in such a manner as to stand the test of the last judgment, you can depend upon it that the world will not speak well of you.
Let us not forget: we are a pilgrim church, subject to misunderstanding, to persecution, but a church that walks serene, because it bears the force of love.
Persecution for Christians is not a possibility, it's a promise, it's not a maybe, it's a surely! Following Jesus can mean finding the trouble you've been looking for!
Colonization of the world, more often than not by robbery and warfare, spread Christianity into the Americas and other corners of the earth, just as Islam was spread throughout Asia and Africa. lt is not a coincidence that the two most widespread religions in the world today are the most warlike and intolerant religions in history. Before the rise of Christianity, religious tolerance, including a large degree of religious freedom, was not only custom but in many ways law under the Roman and Persian empires. They conquered for greed and power, rarely for any declared religious reasons, and actually sought to integrate foreign religions into their civilization, rather than seeking to destroy them. People were generally not killed because they practiced a different religion. Indeed, the Christians were persecuted for denying that the popular gods existed — not for following a different religion. In other words, Christians were persecuted for being intolerant.
And all at once he saw before him a precipice, as it were without bottom. He was a patrician, a military tribune, a powerful man; but above every power of that world to which he belonged was a madman whose will and malignity it was impossible to foresee. Only such people as the Christians might cease to reckon with Nero or fear him, people for whom this whole world, with its separations and sufferings, was as nothing; people for whom death itself was as nothing. All others had to tremble before him. The terrors of the time in which they lived showed themselves to Vinicius in all their monstrous extent...Vinicius felt, for the first time in life, that either the world must change and be transformed, or life would become impossible altogether. He understood also this, which a moment before had been dark to him, that in such times only Christians could be happy.
It comes from history. It comes from the record of the Inquisition, persecuting heretics and torturing Jews and all that sort of stuff; and it comes from the other side, too, from the Protestants burning the Catholics. It comes from the insensate pursuit of innocent and crazy old women, and from the Puritans in America burning and hanging the witches — and it comes not only from the Christian church but also from the Taliban. Every single religion that has a monotheistic god ends up by persecuting other people and killing them because they don't accept him. Wherever you look in history, you find that. It’s still going on.
If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England, blamed persecution in the Roman church, but practised it against the Puritans: these found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here and in New En
Any religion-based state has a mission to limit the minds of its people, to fight the developments of history and logic, and to dumb down its citizens. It’s important to stand in the way of such a mentality, to deny it from continuing its mission to murder the souls of its people, killing them deep within while they are still alive and breathing.
States that are built on a religious foundation limit their own people in a circle of faith and fear.
Prejudice is a disease. And when they come for you, or refuse your worth, I will be ready for their stones. I belong to you.
They can take our homes, our possessions. Our families. Our lives. They can drive us out, like they've driven us out before. They can humiliate us and dehumanize us. But they cannot take our thoughts. They cannot take our talents. They cannot take our knowledge, or our memories, or our minds. In music there is no bondage. Music is a door, and the soul escapes through the melody.
The end of the persecutions was, paradoxically, a source of disappointment for many Christians. In the new climate of imperial favour, bishops were increasingly at war with their congregations and with one another, arguing about matters ranging from the mundane to the mystical. Money was often at the root of the problem, and this was distressing.
If you don't follow Christ or love others in the way Christ said, and let yourself be bogged down instead with fearfulness, hatred, violence and the persecution of others - HOW can you call yourself a 'Christian'?
If the Pentateuch be true, religious persecution is a duty. The dungeons of the Inquisition were temples, and the clank of every chain upon the limbs of heresy was music in the ear of God. If the Pentateuch was inspired, every heretic should be destroyed; and every man who advocates a fact inconsistent with the sacred book, should be consumed by sword and flame.In the Old Testament no one is told to reason with a heretic, and not one word is said about relying upon argument, upon education, nor upon intellectual development—nothing except simple brute force. Is there to-day a christian who will say that four thousand years ago, it was the duty of a husband to kill his wife if she differed with him upon the subject of religion? Is there one who will now say that, under such circumstances, the wife ought to have been killed? Why should God be so jealous of the wooden idols of the heathen? Could he not compete with Baal? Was he envious of the success of the Egyptian magicians? Was it not possible for him to make such a convincing display of his power as to silence forever the voice of unbelief? Did this God have to resort to force to make converts? Was he so ignorant of the structure of the human mind as to believe all honest doubt a crime? If he wished to do away with the idolatry of the Canaanites, why did he not appear to them? Why did he not give them the tables of the law? Why did he only make known his will to a few wandering savages in the desert of Sinai? Will some theologian have the kindness to answer these questions? Will some minister, who now believes in religious liberty, and eloquently denounces the intolerance of Catholicism, explain these things; will he tell us why he worships an intolerant God? Is a god who will burn a soul forever in another world, better than a christian who burns the body for a few hours in this? Is there no intellectual liberty in heaven? Do the angels all discuss questions on the same side? Are all the investigators in perdition? Will the penitent thief, winged and crowned, laugh at the honest folks in hell? Will the agony of the damned increase or decrease the happiness of God? Will there be, in the universe, an eternal auto da fe?
I wonder what could happen if self-confessed followers of Jesus surrendered our human powers, and our desires for power, and began to celebrate openly our human weakness in exchange for the experience of Christ as Power within us. What could happen if, for Christ's sake, we openly delighted in our weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties?
Everyone pretends to be 'free thinkers', but few individuals pass the line into expressive territories that may be detrimental to their own social well-being.
Nothing will ever equal that moment of joyous excitement which filled my whole being when I felt myself flying away from the earth. It was not mere pleasure; it was perfect bliss. Escaped from the frightful torments of persecution and of calumny, I felt that I was answering all in rising abov
No, what Great Aunt Winifred was suffering from was the persecution every happily single woman suffers: the predictable social condemnation of her independence and childlessness. Dorothy reminded herself of what she'd learned during a university course on feminist history (with a strong Marxist slant): spinsters are a threat to patriarchy.
Some skeptics believe religious people are religious because they fear Hell. It's about as fair as saying skeptics are skeptics because they fear the ridicule of modern society.
The challenge of abating one with a genuine ego problem is to not try to put him down. Any and all antagonization, in his mind, is merely compensated for by his own descriptions: his feelings of persecution by the envious and his ideals of worth. Arguably, the genuine ego is more of a circumstantial defense mechanism rather than a steady arrogance in need of starvation.
Father Brendan Flynn: A woman was gossiping with her friend about a man whom they hardly knew - I know none of you have ever done this. That night, she had a dream: a great hand appeared over her and pointed down on her. She was immediately seized with an overwhelming sense of guilt. The next day she went to confession. She got the old parish priest, Father O' Rourke, and she told him the whole thing. 'Is gossiping a sin?' she asked the old man. 'Was that God All Mighty's hand pointing down at me? Should I ask for your absolution? Father, have I done something wrong?' 'Yes,' Father O' Rourke answered her. 'Yes, you ignorant, badly-brought-up female. You have blamed false witness on your neighbor. You played fast and loose with his reputation, and you should be heartily ashamed.' So, the woman said she was sorry, and asked for forgiveness. 'Not so fast,' says O' Rourke. 'I want you to go home, take a pillow upon your roof, cut it open with a knife, and return here to me.' So, the woman went home: took a pillow off her bed, a knife from the drawer, went up the fire escape to her roof, and stabbed the pillow. Then she went back to the old parish priest as instructed. 'Did you gut the pillow with a knife?' he says. 'Yes, Father.' 'And what were the results?' 'Feathers,' she said. 'Feathers?' he repeated. 'Feathers; everywhere, Father.' 'Now I want you to go back and gather up every last feather that flew out onto the wind,' 'Well,' she said, 'it can't be done. I don't know where they went. The wind took them all over.' 'And that,' said Father O' Rourke, 'is gossip!
We are united by something greater and more valuable than our beliefs alone: the freedom to have those beliefs, and believe what we want without persecution - we must protect that at all costs.