Kathy Shaidle has had several posts relating to forced conversion and in the update of one mentions Caption Ed of Captains Quarters post on this issue.
UPDATE: and with all due respect to the usually right headed Captain Ed: you have it completely backwards. Perhaps you haven’t heard the famous expression "the seed of the Church is the blood of the martyrs." And frankly, I suspect that David Warren knows much more about the early history of Church than you have forgotten, and read about it in Greek and Latin primary sources…
She also posts from the Magic Statistics blog:
"Captain Ed’s implicit equivalence between martyrdom and ‘mindlessly dying’ is, to put it mildly, problematic. As far as I’m aware, no Christian suffered martyrdom without considering whether the situation warranted such a sacrifice. Indeed, Jesus himself warned all who would follow him to give careful thought to possible consequences of so doing. (See St Luke 14:25-33 and St Matthew 8:18-22.)
"As a matter of fact, Christians were indeed subject to sudden and often apparently random attacks, both from Roman governing authorities and town mobs. Many were martyred in just such circumstances. Sporadic but widespread official anti-Christian persecutions during the first three centuries AD resulted in the deaths of countless thousands of ordinary Christians. Surely Ed has heard of the men, women, and children thrown to the lions simply for refusing to deny Christ?"
I have been a consistent reader of Captain’s Quarters for over three years and have been usually pleased by what Captain Ed had to say when he would post on matters relating to Catholicism. This though was not one of them. Especially wrong-headed was his saying "Christianity did not survive because of martyrdom; it survived despite it, and the martyrs prepared themselves for the task." "…who argues that religious fanaticism must be fought with more religious fanaticism." and "not by mindlessly dying for Christianity." This to me seems to be a slander of the martyrs and a relativistic equivocation between giving all for Christ and true fanaticism.
I certainly doubt that Saint Thomas More saw himself as mindlessly dying. He certainly did not run towards it and did what he could to avoid it, but he would not betray his conscience to be let go. To play along and sign a document so that he may go home. Most Catholics when reading stories of the martyrs wonder how they would react in the same situation. If he would have had Captain Ed as a counselor and took his advice he would have betrayed his own conscience and there would likely be no St. Thomas More. St. Thomas More is someone Captain Ed has called one of his heroes so there seems to be some confusion in his own thought.
Many Catholics when reading stories of the martyrs wonder how they would react in the same situation. We can easily imagine our own weakness when facing a convert or die situation. What we can’t usually imagine though is the grace that God gives those martyrs in these situations. It is not just a matter of preparedness, unless you see growth in holiness as preparedness.
Jimmy Akin previously took up this topic of martyrdom and with his usual skill writes on The Martyr’s Dilemma.