The Dangerous Idea of Martyrdom in Christianity and Islam
The Dangerous Idea of Martyrdom
Column by Rajiv Malhotra –
While it is fashionable for moderate Muslims and Christians to condemn religious violence, they appear to be doing nothing to challenge the glorification of martyrdom found in their own religions. Martyrdom, in today’s usage, is the violent self-sacrifice of one’s life as a holy warrior. It is remarkable to observe, in light of current world events, that Christianity and Islam continue to place a strong emphasis on martyrdom whereas in the Dharmic traditions the practice does not exist. In the long list of Hindu and Buddhist exemplars of early periods, martyrdom is never among the reasons cited for their greatness.
When Christianity started to challenge the dominant social and religious mores of the Roman Empire, many Christians were socially ostracized, while others suffered torture and death at the hands of the state. For this reason, the Greek word martyr (“witness”) came
Read the Rest at the Link…