“I don’t understand why you won’t sign, what difference will it make to you really?”
The man looked at his inquisitor with sad eyes; he pitied his lack of comprehension but more he pitied his lack of curiosity. Why do men follow orders so blindly he wondered.
“You say that this will make no difference to me and yet you are asking me to renege on everything that I hold dear; the fundamental beliefs on which I have based my entire life. Tell me, how can this make no difference?”
“For God’s sake man! It’s just a piece of paper! You can think or believe what you like, you just need to say that the King is right in this matter and you can go free”
It was so simple for the questioner. He really couldn’t fathom why the man who sat before him was so stubborn. Yes he had his faith but what would change if the Pope was head of the church or the King? Personally he didn’t care and in any case he could always repent when it was his time to die and God would forgive him. He knew he wasn’t an educated man but, to him, this seemed like a simple matter.
“Let me put it to you like this. Do you believe that the Pope was appointed by God to be His representative on Earth?”
“Well yes but the King has said…….”
“No matter, I won’t push you for an answer. I believe that God appointed the Pope therefore I believe it is God’s will that he heads the church in England. If I sign this paper and agree that the King is head, it is to deny the will of God, which is to deny his omnipotence. If I do not accept that God is all powerful and all knowing then I cannot accept that he is God and must therefore deny Him; this I cannot and will not do”
“Yes but as I said you don’t have to change your beliefs, you just have to sign the paper”
The inquisitor was becoming exasperated, he’d been told that before him was the most educated man in the kingdom but he was beginning to think that he’d been lied to.
“To sign the paper is to deny God and to lie and I will do neither. However, I will also say nothing against or about the King in this matter; if I say nothing, how can I offend his Majesty?”
“Look, everyone has signed it because the King has demanded it and you are no different. If you don’t sign it’s Treason and you will lose your head so you don’t really have much of a choice”
He’d lost patience now and just laid it on the line.
“It is there that you mistake me my friend; I do indeed have a choice. The worst that you can do to me is to take my life, whatever happens I will lose it one day; if I deny God I could lose my soul and that would be for all eternity. I will not sign so you must do what you have to do but you will not impose your will on me”
The guard shook his head and walked out of the cell wondering both at the man’s stupidity and how he could look so serene when facing certain death; he would never understand some people……..
This, once again, is in response to the one word prompt from the ever creative Fandango and it’s how I imagined the conversation between Sir Thomas More and those who questioned him. He was eventually beheaded because he wouldn’t accept the King as head of the church in England. Personally I can’t imagine having a faith so strong that I would lose my life for it…..what do you think? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you