This is in no way a post to bring down anothers beliefs.....only to help in the realization that religion seperates us as a species.
Its impossible to understand the death and destruction that religion has brought to the world. Much as been covered up, yet you can still clearly see
our past just by doing a little research. Many who have been considered Saints were beheaded, crucified, tortured and worse at the hands of TPTB of
the times. This was a time where church and state were one and the same... and some would argue, nothing has changed.
Some examples of which are as follows:
His death was occasioned by the faithful manner in which he preached the Gospel to the betrayers and murderers of Christ. To such a degree of madness
were they excited, that they cast him out of the city and stoned him to death. The time when he suffered is generally supposed to have been at the
passover which succeeded to that of our Lord's crucifixion, and to the era of his ascension, in the following spring.
Upon this a great persecution was raised against all who professed their belief in Christ as the Messiah, or as a prophet. We are immediately told by
St. Luke, that "there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem;" and that "they were all scattered abroad throughout the
regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles."
About two thousand Christians, with Nicanor, one of the seven deacons, suffered martyrdom during the "persecution that arose about Stephen."
James the Great
according to St. Luke, in the History of the Apsotles' Acts, was James the son of Zebedee, the elder brother of John, and a relative of our Lord; for
his mother Salome was cousin-german to the Virgin Mary. It was not until ten years after the death of Stephen that the second martyrdom took place;
for no sooner had Herod Agrippa been appointed governor of Judea, than, with a view to ingratiate himself with them, he raised a sharp persecution
against the Christians, and determined to make an effectual blow, by striking at their leaders. The account given us by an eminent primitive writer,
Clemens Alexandrinus, ought not to be overlooked; that, as James was led to the place of martyrdom, his accuser was brought to repent of his conduct
by the apostle's extraordinary courage and undauntedness, and fell down at his feet to request his pardon, professing himself a Christian, and
resolving that James should not receive the crown of martyrdom alone. Hence they were both beheaded at the same time. Thus did the first apostolic
martyr cheerfully and resolutely receive that cup, which he had told our Savior he was ready to drink. Timon and Parmenas suffered martyrdom about the
same time; the one at Philippi, and the other in Macedonia. These events took place A.D. 44.
Was born at Bethsaida, in Galilee and was first called by the name of "disciple." He labored diligently in Upper Asia, and suffered martyrdom at
Heliopolis, in Phrygia. He was scourged, thrown into prison, and afterwards crucified, A.D. 54
In total there is 22 chapters in this book...
I urge you to read what you can for informational purposes only, and hope that you will come to this realization...
Fox's Book of Martyrs