Justin is known in the Orthodox Church as Martyr Justin the Philosopher. In his youth he was unsatisfied with the philosophies of the day, and after becoming a Christian he opened a school of Christian philosophy. He refused to offer sacrifice to pagan gods and was beheaded along with the martyrs Justin, Chariton, Euelpistus, Hierax, Peonus, Valerian, Justus and Charito in 165. They are all commemorated on June 1.
You can kill us but you cannot do us any real harm.
-Saint Justin Martyr
The following gives the context of the above quote and is from his first apology in 150 A.D., which he wrote to the emperor Antoninus Pius in defense of innocent Christians:
“Reason dictates that persons who are truly noble and who love wisdom will honor and love only what is true. They will refuse to follow traditional viewpoints if those viewpoints are worthless…Instead, a person who genuinely loves truth must choose to do and speak what is true, even if he is threatened with death…I have not come to flatter you by this written petition, nor to impress you by my words. I have come to simply beg that you do not pass judgment until you have made an accurate and thorough investigation. Your investigation must be free of prejudice, hearsay, and any desire to please the superstitious crowds. As for us, we are convinced that you can inflict no lasting evil on us. We can only do it to ourselves by proving to be wicked people. You can kill us—but you cannot harm us.”
6 thoughts on “You can kill us, but…”
“I have come to simply beg that you do not pass judgment until you have made an accurate and thorough investigation. Your investigation must be free of prejudice, hearsay, and any desire to please the superstitious crowds.” Such wisdom that remains applicable to many situations in our modern age.
There’s a good bit of “pleasing the superstitious crowds” going around these days. His words are apt.
Good to be reminded when we feel the pressure to go along to get along.
This is so timely for our present times, Gretchen! Which is why we commemorate the saints. 🙂