To sacrifice one’s life for a just cause is a great sacrifice, but an even greater sacrifice is to endure that which is worse than death while one is still alive.
I think that sacrifice and martyrdom for that which is right is necessary. The ancient spiritualists upheld psychological martyrdom as something special. In my opinion, Chhinnimasta from Hinduism and Hanahpu from Mayanism represent the importance of psychological martyrdom and sacrifice.
The Hebrew spiritualists treat crossing the realm of the martyr as unnecessary pain (as in the Book of Job.) The Hebrew spiritualists make it seem like a bad thing to cross into the realm of the witness to truly understand the difference between good and evil (on all levels of society from everyday relations to larger scale political issues.)
I agree with the ancient spiritualists that psychological martyrdom and other forms of sacrifice for that which is right are good things.
This doesn’t mean everybody has to cross the realm of the martyr, but those with the capacity and the responsibility to probably should.
There are some fake ascended masters who tell people to just save themselves and be selfish and some fake Buddha quotes that imply that people should have more compassion for themselves rather than for others. The Book of Job makes it seem like martyrdom is a waste of time or that after one discovers one is not evil by crossing the realm of the witness, one can just focus solely on oneself again. However, the whole point of crossing that realm is to help others.
I’m pretty sure more authentic Buddhist teachings say that people are already naturally self-concerned and don’t have to consciously try to be any more selfish than they already are. The point is to continue to have compassion for others.
I think part of the problem also stems from the realm of the pratyekabuddha.
The bodhisattva realm is endlessly altruistic, compassionate, and sacrificial. Obviously, Jains uphold it as the highest realm. Some Jains will starve themselves to death if they feel they have done all they can in the direction of true goodness and have fulfilled their purpose. Because the desire to push towards ideal righteousness is so great, many end up crossing the realm of the witness as they push towards the ideal.
From that realm, extreme agnosticism and idealism prevail. The Jain notion that no single, specific human view can claim to represent absolute truth applies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anekantavada
The idea of people who have deviated too far from God (representing ideal morality) killing themselves to please God seems understandable.
From the bodhisattva path, the Buddha path is considered unfamiliar territory. Buddha went from an ascetic to accepting a bowl of rice and eventually becoming healthy again. The bodhisattva path which knows only extreme sacrifice does not have great familiarity with what type of great revelations lie on the path where one begins trying to obtain Enlightenment (and still continues to help others, but in a way that does not do so much harm to oneself.)
Thus, after the bodhisattva realm comes the pratyekabuddha realm where one stops focusing on ideal sacrifice to experiment on how much one should nourish oneself. It takes time to experiment with such things and one can easily start being misled by Hebrew spirituality, fake Buddha quotes and fake ascended masters who tell people to just save themselves. One can start going too far and becoming too self-serving.