Sunday, March 20, 2011

Misconceptions of the Crusades

The Crusades, a once powerful endeavor by the European civilizations to combat the Muslim forces, have been used for about 800 years as every means of political retaliation. The very word itself is often a pajorative against strong initiatives or ideologies. However, I will maintain this is not the correct point-of-view. Our society is filled with a collective consciousness that far too many take for granted. We share a worldview that is far from being static or corrupted. And this understanding of the Crusades is one of those corrupted misconceptions.

Perhaps the following article can offer you a worldview shift. Below is an important except from an article giving brief detail to one of the most misunderstood struggles of Christian and European history.

My emphasis.

Misconceptions about the Crusades are all too common. The Crusades are generally portrayed as a series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics. They are supposed to have been the epitome of self-righteousness and intolerance, a black stain on the history of the Catholic Church in particular and Western civilization in general. A breed of proto-imperialists, the Crusaders introduced Western aggression to the peaceful Middle East and then deformed the enlightened Muslim culture, leaving it in ruins. For variations on this theme, one need not look far. See, for example, Steven Runciman's famous three-volume epic, History of the Crusades, or the BBC/A&E documentary, The Crusades, hosted by Terry Jones. Both are terrible history yet wonderfully entertaining.

So what is the truth about the Crusades? Scholars are still working some of that out. But much can already be said with certainty. For starters, the Crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression -- an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands.

Christians in the eleventh century were not paranoid fanatics. Muslims really were gunning for them. While Muslims can be peaceful, Islam was born in war and grew the same way. From the time of Mohammed, the means of Muslim expansion was always the sword. Muslim thought divides the world into two spheres, the Abode of Islam and the Abode of War. Christianity -- and for that matter any other non-Muslim religion -- has no abode. Christians and Jews can be tolerated within a Muslim state under Muslim rule. But, in traditional Islam, Christian and Jewish states must be destroyed and their lands conquered. When Mohammed was waging war against Mecca in the seventh century, Christianity was the dominant religion of power and wealth. As the faith of the Roman Empire, it spanned the entire Mediterranean, including the Middle East, where it was born. The Christian world, therefore, was a prime target for the earliest caliphs, and it would remain so for Muslim leaders for the next thousand years.

With enormous energy, the warriors of Islam struck out against the Christians shortly after Mohammed's death. They were extremely successful. Palestine, Syria, and Egypt -- once the most heavily Christian areas in the world -- quickly succumbed. By the eighth century, Muslim armies had conquered all of Christian North Africa and Spain. In the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks conquered Asia Minor (modern Turkey), which had been Christian since the time of St. Paul. The old Roman Empire, known to modern historians as the Byzantine Empire, was reduced to little more than Greece. In desperation, the emperor in Constantinople sent word to the Christians of western Europe asking them to aid their brothers and sisters in the East.

That is what gave birth to the Crusades. They were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense.

Muslims weren't the only ones to suffer casualty by the Crusades, regrettably. One of the more immediate failures of the later Crusades was the "Sack of Constantinople". An unintended secondary campaign driven by self-interest, it became an event probably more damaging than Islam ever had been to Christendom.

The Crusades of the 13th century were larger, better funded, and better organized. But they too failed. The Fourth Crusade (1201-1204) ran aground when it was seduced into a web of Byzantine politics, which the Westerners never fully understood. They had made a detour to Constantinople to support an imperial claimant who promised great rewards and support for the Holy Land. Yet once he was on the throne of the Caesars, their benefactor found that he could not pay what he had promised. Thus betrayed by their Greek friends, in 1204 the Crusaders attacked, captured, and brutally sacked Constantinople, the greatest Christian city in the world. Pope Innocent III, who had previously excommunicated the entire Crusade, strongly denounced the Crusaders. But there was little else he could do. The tragic events of 1204 closed an iron door between Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox, a door that even today Pope John Paul II has been unable to reopen. It is a terrible irony that the Crusades, which were a direct result of the Catholic desire to rescue the Orthodox people, drove the two further -- and perhaps irrevocably -- apart.

For a reference to it's ramifications, the East/West Schism between the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox Catholics is often dated to 1054 when personal excommunications between Patriarchs were issued. However, after this event, most of the Church went along unnoticed to any "separation". The cultural tensions were still present between "Greeks" and "Latins", as always, however inter-religious dialogue continued forward. After the sack of Constantinople, popular support among the East for severed ties rose, and created the seemingly permanent split. Multiple attempts to reestablish union have failed in any true sense, and a millennium of historical and cultural differences has only exacerbated the Schism.

Full Article Here


  1. LIES!!! Christians get your facts right! Christianity is no different than islam...they want to control Afrikan people and they refused so the gotdamn Arabs were the fisrt to initiate the slave trade in Afrika converting them to Islam. Eurpope was next enslaving and converting them to christianity. Christianity&islam justifies slavery & genocide of the Afrikan race. You bytches have tries to keep the melaninated race from knowing our true power of self by stealing us raping' murdering us and enslaving us through indoctrination. But your time is up we have returned to nature and VOODOO/VODOUN is our GOD and you people have kept us from it but you can't stop its Karmic return! VOODOO DA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! You will pay!!!!!