Introduction to Digital Humanities

RELI/ENGL 39, Fall 2015, University of the Pacific

Perpetua, Felicitas, & Oregon

This article is different than anything we have ever read in class; this is the first time that the religion aspect is prevalent. I know that this article has been planned for us to read beforehand, but it correlates with the recent tragedy of the Oregon shooting at a community college. At the shooting in Oregon, the killer specifically sought out Christians; the students potentially had a chance to lie about their religion or, like Perpetua and Felicitas,become martyrs in the name of their beliefs.  In Perpetua and Felicitas case, they both refused to lie about their religion and chose to die sticking by their beliefs. While I commend their bravery and think they were very courageous to do this, there is sort of a blurred line whether this is the ‘best’ decision or not.  For example, one of the women left behind  a baby. Now, this baby will grow up without a mother and be left behind in the world that she is escaping. Is this considered selfish? Is this moral? It’s hard to say. The reason these women opted for death was because they would rather die than deny their allegiance to God. I’m not so religious myself anymore, but I did go to church and Bible school for most of my childhood and if I took away anything, it would be that God forgives, understands, and wants what is best for you. In my opinion, if God exists, He would understand the predicament of the situation, forgive you for ‘lying’ and would want you safe.  I guess I can’t really speak for them since I do not have a strong devotion to a particular faith, but I know if a gun was pointed at me I would say and do anything to get ouf of the situation. Is it really necessary to be a martyr over this?



  1. I liked how you related the reading to something relevant today as well as reflect on your own beliefs. I’ve been to church for almost all my life but like you, I’m not that religious anymore and I’m not sure if a god exists. I loved your honesty when you put yourself in Perpetua’s shoes and admitted that you would say/do anything to escape a situation. I suppose martyrs are completely willing to die for their faith, and they see something that we can’t see.

  2. Wow. Your post was very eye opening to me and I definitely agree with all that you are saying. I also really like how you tied in the Oregon college shooting it really made your point even clearer. I feel the same way about how God forgives and if I had a gun in my face I would say what I had to in order to remain safe. Although these two women would rather die than deny their faith to God, they did leave a helpless child behind which I believe was the worst case scenario.. Although they were very courageous, things could have gone differently and they could have still kept their lives.

  3. I really enjoyed your post, and I agree with you on your points. I would ask you to think about this though. The United States has invaded countries all over the world, in order to spread Western ideology. Men and Women are dying all around the world for their beliefs, on both sides. Would you have them lie in order to live, and live in world to which they knew they didn’t believe in? Although this ideas may not all be religious infact very few are, I would argue in all reality any ideology serves the same function as religion.

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