Date of Thesis

Spring 2018

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Major

Religious Studies

First Advisor

John Penniman

Second Advisor

Brantley Gasaway

Keywords

Martyrdom, Evangelicalism, Suffering

Abstract

The subject of martyrdom and Christianity is one that has been well documented and studied over the course of history. However, as I began my Religious Studies courses at Bucknell, I found there to be an unsatisfying amount of study concerning the topic of American Evangelicalism and martyrdom. This thesis works to uncover the ways in which American Evangelicals have used ideas of martyrdom, persecution, and suffering in the name of Christ as a way to create and perpetuate a sense of embattlement among their faithful.

In my work, I have examined the slippage of terminology among American Evangelicals when discussing the notion of “suffering for God” and how this slippage broadens the meaning of the term “martyr.” Through reviewing compendiums of martyrdom, popular modern American Evangelical publications, and popular media sources, including music and films targeted at American Evangelicals, I have analyzed how American Evangelicals are able to maintain a sense of embattlement in the United States today.

My thesis shows the manners in which language and tales of martyrdom are presented in order to create an American Evangelical worldview that is rooted in suffering and persecution. This sense of embattlement is crucial to how this group then relates to the world and has tangible effects on American society.

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