Very Reluctant Martyr!

“ Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.”~ Winston Churchill

Listening to the atrocities  in Paris, and in fact all over the world where terror is being meted out by those who seem to think they can kill anyone who disagrees with their ideas. I am shocked by so many  of these stories.

I came across the stuff about these terrorists  being willing to die themselves for their cause,  and if they are killed while committing their vile acts then they will become  “Martyrs”.

This ridiculous idea of “martyrdom” seems to permeate  all of these man made extreme religions, including the sick catholic one that I was thrown into.

In fact in  all of my early years I truly expected to become a martyr! Not the domestic kind that we all secretly cringe at, those terminal doormats who whinge a lot,  but a real “suffer intolerable torture and die for your faith” kind of martyr.

I was brought up in such a fear filled catholic environment where everything but breathing was considered sinful, and catholics considered themselves to be a persecuted minority. I was told that I would have to be prepared to die if asked to “renounce” my catholic faith.

 I didn’t particularly relish the idea (especially when I was five) – in fact I dreaded the time when I would  be called upon to stand and be counted, and then perhaps beheaded or burnt at the stake rather than denounce my faith.

  I felt dreadfully guilty at my reluctance, and ashamed to admit that I would really prefer to live a little while longer and risk hellfire and damnation.

 It was never actually made clear  quite who it was that  would ask  me to die rather than give up the catholic faith. It was just what I had been told might very well happen. Nor was I ever told  why anyone would need me to renounce my “faith”?  I just presumed that whoever “they”  were, they would come for me at some point, ask me to give up being a catholic or die,  and I already feared I would be found lacking!

I was born just after the second world war, and we were fed a diet of heroic war films and stories, so I imagined my “collection” for martyrdom would be something like a Gestapo raid.

 The thing about martyrs it seemed was  that they were  always willing, in fact  positively  happy to die for their faith, according to my mother and her practically  “sainted” sisters!

In my sheer terror,  I listened dutifully, and prayed incessantly, but no amount of inspirational stories made me willing! I began to fear the inevitable choices I would be asked to make.

 I didn’t dare tell anyone about my unwillingness, having learned very early that to show any kind of reluctance when called upon to demonstrate my devotion resulted in severe disapproval, absolute exclusion, punishment or emotional torment.

 I think one of the worst experiences for a child is to be ignored, excluded, invisible. For me, it was so painful that it was to be avoided at all costs.

 I knew that the worst thing I could do (among all the other “intolerable sins” which I committed on a daily basis) was to show a “lack of faith”.

So I kept my unwillingness well hidden, it became an imperative because I thought terrible things would happen to me if I didn’t preserve the illusion.

The first time  I was abused by one of their “holy” priests, I even imagined that this might be the beginning of my martyrdom! (I was TEN!) and so then I  should not have been surprised when my Mother (who caught him “in the act” when I was thirteen) did nothing to help me, suggested that this must be “part of god’s plan” and that I should “pray” for the priest!

 I simply felt sacrificial.

There is something sickeningly  abhorrant about these religions that nullify anyone’s life in any way, to make any one human being’s existence of no consequence. These hierarchical narcissistic religions that terrify and indoctrinate so that even a child sees herself as being insignificant and not be able value her own life. 

I wonder  how far, if at all, they have ever actually come from being absolute barbarians. 

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