heresy - 2 a: - dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice.
martyrdom 1: The suffering of death on account of adherence to a cause and esp. to one’s religious faith.
apostasy 1: renunciation of a religious faith 2: abandonment of a previous loyalty : DEFECTION
truth 2 a (1): the state of being the case : FACT (2): the body of real things, events, and facts : ACTUALITY
Suppose Darwin had published The Origin of Species several hundred years earlier and had been accused of heresy by the Church. Suppose, like Galileo, he had been given the opportunity to recant, to ‘confess’ that his book had been inspired by the devil or something like that. By confessing and recanting he would be spared torture and being burned alive in the public square - the usual proceedure of the Church prior to the Enlightenment. After recanting, Galileo said (muttered under his breath?) “Eppur si muove.” (“And yet it does move.” (referring to the earth’s motion).
If Darwin had been forced to recant perhaps he would have muttered, “And yet we did evolve from other life forms.”
Would it be better for these pioneers to stick to their observations, to refuse to ‘apostasize’ and get themselves martyred? Are we ‘more useful, more effective,’ dead than alive? Sooner or later the truth will be out. If Darwin hadn’t published his book, Wallace would have published. Eventually the truth would be out.
‘The Way of the Martyr’ seems to have gained a glorious reputation in Christianity, and Islam. Refusing to apostasize, getting yourself crucified or fed to the lions in order to fulfill the prophets or please God; in order to become a saint . . . To me it’s like saying to a tiger, “Say you’re not a tiger or I’ll shoot you!” “Okay, I’m not a tiger.” (“Eppur si tigris.”)
What kind of idiotic god would want the tiger to get himself shot by insisting he was a tiger?
Galileo: “You’re right. The earth doesn’t move. The sun goes around the earth. My mistake. Now can I go home? Thanks fellows! (Eppur si muove).
Darwin: “You’re right. We didn’t evolve from other animals. The devil made me say it. It all happened just like the Bible says. Pray for me! Can I go home now? Thanks! (Eppur si evolutio!).
Jesus: “The son of God? Moi? You’ve got the wrong man! No, I think Jupiter is just great! Can I go now? (What are these people, nuts? Why can’t they think for themselves and be kind without me getting nailed for it? Like, hasn’t Buddha already lived a long life and explained cause and effect better than me anyway?”).
Tiger: “OK. I’m not a tiger. Put the gun down man! (Geez!)”