There’s nothing glorious and soul-cleansing about being executed by Roman arrows. Plus it would hurt like hell, and death probably wouldn’t come quickly. Plus one of the archers might aim poorly and shoot me or my fiance in the eye. Or I might get an arrow in the groin.
If I been in the sandals of Marcellus (Richard Burton), a confirmed Christian and deeply in love with the gentle Diana (Jean Simmons), and if Caligula (Jay Robinson) had demanded that I renounce the teachings of the executed carpenter known as Yeshua of Nazareth and the nascent religion he’d recently come to stand for, I would say “damn straight, your excellence.”
What difference would a few words make one way or the other? It’s deeds that count. The court of Caligula is pure political theatre, and therefore meaningless. Moral relativism is the only way to travel.
HE solution in a nutshell: (a) Renounce Christ out of one side of my mouth, (b) Diana and I are then free to move to Capri and live a life of Christian leisure (mountain hikes, sailing, swimming + eating dates, grapes and fresh fish), and (c) Caligula would soon be killed anyway by the Praetorian Guard.
What glorious purpose would Diana and I serve by going to our deaths? You know the answer. The answer is “fuck this jazz.” The secondary answer is “martyrdom might look like an act of transcendence at the end of a 1953 20th Century Fox release, but in real life it isn’t worth it.” Because you know what? When you’re dead it’s simply lights out…no choir, no shining cosmic light, no Godly white clouds…you’re just dead.”