I now want to discuss a long-known phenomenon, that of some instances of Christian Martyrs apparently not sensing the pain of their tortures prior to their deaths. Sceptical researchers actually verified that Believers can suppress pain better than non-believers. How does this happen?
It is known that neurotransmitters called endorphins are responsible for relieving pain and producing euphoria. Thus, it can be conjectured that the Holy Spirit stimulated brain structures to release endorphins to ease the pain of the martyrs when death was near. The above cited researchers used pictures of the Virgin Mary that Roman Catholic volunteers focussed upon while being subjected to electric shocks. Brain scans during the sessions confirmed that pain suppression centers in their brains were being activated that were not being activated in the non-believers, so there is no possibly of biased reporting.
I mention this because of an interesting incident that occurred to a co-worker, Ken Fuqua, who has been instrumental in several aspects of this research. While cooking, he accidentally spilled boiling water on the back of his hand. Although it was a quick splash, it proved to be a severe second degree burn that developed scarring along with some peripheral first degree burns. Rather than taking pain relievers, and having been told of my early conjectures about the relationship between the Holy Spirit and neurotransmitters, he called upon his Symbiote to relieve the pain. The pain was gone within an hour and did not return. It was his report that made me remember the experience of the Martyrs, and to the realization that they were able to endure the pain due to Spirit initiated endorphin release. Mr. Fuqua's experience indicates that this capability can be called upon at will.
In view of the current persecutions of Christians in the Third World, active suppression of benign Christian cultural expressions in the name of "freedom from religion", and calls from increasingly belligerent athiests for a systematic program to inculate atheistic belief into all elementary school students, I believe I have good cause to be uneasy about the future. In the course of researching this capability, I re-read the accounts of the Christian martyrs in the second chapter of Foxe's Book of Martyrs. While doing so, I both marvelled at their courage and doubted my readiness to imitate their worthy conduct. I was then delicately reminded by my Symbiote that I was writing an essay and had to get back to this section.
I then re-read this section, and realized that their courage sprang from an inner conviction of the truth and reality of the Presence of Jesus Christ within them. Did I, in some way, doubt the reality of what I am presently experiencing, so that it appears less real to me than their experience appeared to them? I am loath to put myself in any way equal to those worthies, but certainly I should have more reason than they to expect that, if I am to pay the ultimate price for my faith, my Symbiote would come through by enabling me to endure it bravely: after all, I know "how the sausage is made" to a degree they did not. What they had over me was that they lived much closer to the Saltation than I, and were unencumbered by a world view calculated to destroy belief in the supernatural and miraculous.
It is my hope that these researches will enable us Christians, not to endure persecution, but to stand up against it and to throw back the night until we are taken out of the way via death or the Rapture. But if we are overtaken by events that prevent the completion of this work, the very existence of this page assures us that, whatever end God appoints us, we will be able to endure any violence directed at us, proving by our personal reactions the existence of an eternal reality that is superior to that which is seen.
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