Crusading for the Crusades: How Revisionists Are Whitewashing a Bloodbath

crusades

As you may have noticed, the Crusades have become something of a sacred cow in the U.S. As President Obama discovered, anyone who dares point out how brutal they were is in danger of being branded as anti-Christian and anti-American.  In recent years, a spate of revisionist books have tried to paint the Crusades as a noble and just endeavor; one of the most egregious of these volumes, for instance, is The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Crusades (“politically incorrect” being a euphemism for ideologically tilted and/or historically inaccurate).

There are basically four flimsy defenses that the Crusades Crusaders offer for their pet cause:

Flimsy Defense # 1: It was a long time ago

Because a millennium has passed, some crusaders suggest, it’s no longer cricket to express horror and outrage — at the same time, however, they see no problem with reaching back into the past nearly half a millennium in order to find some grounds for defending the Crusades (which we’ll get to in a moment). The implication is that because the Crusades are so deeply buried in the vaults of history, Christian violence is too.

Wrong.

These folks are overlooking the Inquisition. They’re overlooking the witch trials. And they’re overlooking events in modern times as well. For example, violence between factions in Ireland (a centuries-old tradition carried over into recent years), though officially pegged as politically rooted, was in fact largely occasioned by differences in religion. This conflict gave rise, among other things, to The Shankill Butchers, a band of Protestant fanatics who abducted, tortured and murdered Catholics (as well as a few fellow Protestants who pissed them off).

More recently, there was the “ethnic cleansing” in the former Yugoslavia, which might be more accurately characterized as religious “cleansing”.

And we’re certainly not out of the woods now. You’ve surely heard a great deal about Muslim terrorists these days, but chances are you’ve heard much less about the more common and more menacing Christian terrorists. Violence isn’t exclusive to any one age or country or religion. And somebody once said something important about those who can’t remember the past.

Flimsy Defense # 2: Everyone else was doing it too

Because the Crusades occurred so far in the past, some people imagine that there is a magical boundary between Then and Now; and that once humanity crossed that line, it was suddenly transformed into a different biological order. Back then, they want to believe, people were just more violent in general, so it’s understandable that Christians would have been too (though at the same time, Christians were supposed to be morally superior to everyone else).

I was having a discussion along these lines a few years ago with a friend — a highly intelligent friend who knows more about history than I do — when I brought up what a bloodthirsty sleazeball Columbus was. To which he replied, “Well, can we really judge a Fifteenth-Century man by modern standards?”

Yes, absolutely, we can.

One reason we know so much about the misdeeds of Columbus and other Christian conquerors in the New World is that a contemporary priest, Bartolomé de Las Casas, recorded them with disgust. If he could feel compassion and respect for the Natives and revulsion over violence and exploitation, why couldn’t Columbus?

It isn’t human nature that has evolved. It’s the collective social order, to the point that most societies now frown on genocide, slavery and torture. On an individual level, though, some people still do it when they can get away with it. But just because some people do it is not, and has never been, ample cause for someone else to do it.

Flimsy Defense # 3: It was self-defense

This is the most popular of the flimsy defenses, the very heart and soul of Crusades revisionism. According to this tidy fairy tale, the Crusades were a just and holy undertaking, quite pleasing unto the will of God, because they were a defensive maneuver against those nasty Muslims who were picking on Christians. But this narrative is at best a gross oversimplification.

There were numerous crusades — the exact number is a matter of debate — over a period of a couple of centuries (some historians maintain they lasted as long as five centuries). Some were motivated by political and economic rather than, or in addition to, religious factors. Not all of these were directed toward Muslims; the Christians also targeted Jews, pagans and even their fellow Christians whose beliefs were considered “heresy” by those in power. And far from being uniformly defensive, these were often aggressive campaigns with the aim of not only conquest but eradication.

The mythos of  Crusades as defense has its roots, curiously enough, in what is generally taken to be the first major Crusade (1096-1099), which was organized ostensibly for the purpose of retaking Jerusalem, which had been conquered by Muslims.  Evidently God wanted Christians to have Jerusalem for themselves, because they consider it a holy place and all.  It is, for one thing, the site of the “Holy Sepulchre”, the reputed burial place of Jesus. The expedition, in other words, was at least as much about recovering control of a shrine as it was about protecting Christians from alleged abuses — arguably a campaign about conquering places and things rather than liberating the oppressed or defending ideals.

Furthermore, the Islamic sacking of Jerusalem occurred some 4 centuries earlier. If the Crusaders were following the calling of The Almighty, they certainly were taking their sweet time about it. One explanation for the delay is that the subjugated Christians in and around Jerusalem found life tolerable enough until the Seljuk Turks took over and began oppressing and persecuting them more heavily. But even if we grant this, they at least were allowed to live under Muslim rule. The conquering Christians did not return the favor, but systematically exterminated the Muslim men, women and children they encountered. They also slaughtered Jews living there, some of whom joined the Muslims in fighting off the Christian invaders — which just might provide a clue as to who the real bad guys were.

Flimsy Defense # 4: The numbers have been inflated

Of course they have. The Crusades, like the witch trials and the Wild West gunfights, have become the stuff of legend. And legend invariably lends itself to hyperbole.

So what’s the point here? That murdering 1000 people is more morally upright than murdering 10,000? This kind of argument might carry a bit more weight if the difference had been 10 or even 100 versus 1000.  But even though the numbers have been exaggerated, they are still quite extreme enough, numbering in the high thousands if not the millions.

Perhaps the purpose of playing the exaggeration card is to suggest that Christian atrocities like the Crusades were carried out by fringe elements, and thus do not represent “true” Christianity, whatever that may mean. In fact, the Crusades were carried out with the approval of, and even under the impetus of, the Pope.

Finally, we should mention that one of the most troubling things about Crusades revisionism is its Machiavellian implications. Which is to say, it suggests that many Christian apologists believe that if they can establish there was worthy reason to undertake the Crusades, then it excuses any and all actions undertaken by the Crusaders. That’s a similar line of reasoning to that exercised by guys who fly planes into buildings.

Let’s be very clear: these holy Crusaders ruthlessly butchered, tortured, beheaded, dismembered, impaled, burned, and even cannibalized innocent people of all ages. At times they literally waded in the blood of their victims, with which they were smeared from head to toe, and wore proudly as a token of their triumph as they exhibited the severed heads and limbs of the vanquished.

Is there really any cause sufficiently holy to justify all of that?

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23 thoughts on “Crusading for the Crusades: How Revisionists Are Whitewashing a Bloodbath

  1. Like most politicians, when the President is truthful and actually points out that Christians too, are not strangers to violence, nor are they above using religion as an excuse for using violence as a means to an end—he is immediately in trouble for making such frank statements. Such honesty is bound to offend those whose minds are heavily invested into believing that “christians” are different, or that only Christians are the true followers of God.

    You’re absolutely right POP, that the crusades, although possibly used to advance political
    opportunism were still ostensibly actions taken to return the Holy land into Christian hands. But any of us with any conscience or awareness of our common humanity, could never really rationalize doing such horrific acts in the name of any God or religious Icon.

    I have no doubt that many believers are exploited by greedy leaders, whose messages have to do with the acquisition of power, and the self-righteous nature of whatever cause they advance. But I also know that neither Christ nor Buddha nor Mohamed, intended to transmit such a distorted message. Not only are religious leaders who use a distorted concept of religious faith for their own advantage, NOT believers in the messages delivered by their religious Icons, they have inverted the idea of love, into some self-righteously justified use of obscene violence–truly a perversion of what their icons stood for. But why is it so easy to distort a message of true love and compassion in order to justify such obscene and brutal actions? The sad truth is that, those who enlist ordinary people, to achieve their own ugly ends, could not do so, unless they had a captive audience willing to follow any extreme program they have dressed up in the guise of religion or patriotism.

    I have heard the sobering fact that of the 100 years in the 20th century, at least 100,000,000 people all over the world have been slaughtered at the hands of ruthless leaders who have murdered an average of 1000,000 people per year in various genocides. So yes, these terrible crimes are not unusual, nor are they confined to any one group, ideology, or theological belief–they are unfortunately, par for the course among gullible and ordinary human beings!

    The phrase, “true Christian,” means to me, that an individual recognizes the message of peace, love and compassion, and cannot be fooled into committing atrocities as the result of someone perverting the message of Christ. Jesus himself said, “He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword”, he urged us to “turn the other cheek” and, “if someone takes our cloaks, give him your robes also.” And he urged us to love our fellow mEn as ourselves.This is not something that only Catholics, protestants, Jews, or Muslims have A monopoly on. Love is love no matter who actually is involved in spreading it! If we want to believe in and spread love, the only ideology or theology required, is that we believe in love and act with compassion towards our fellow human beings. When he died on the cross he looked down with utter compassion and said, “Forgive them father they know not what they do.” He didn’t say, smite them for being so bad, or, condemn us for willfully not doing the right thing–he asked God to forgive the Roman soldiers who had taunted him, pierced his side, and driven nails through his joints, as well as all the rest of us, because we (don’t know) what we do—we don’t understand the spiritual consequences of our behaviors—we are so deep into our human illusions that we sometimes actually think nothing of brutally torturing and killing our fellow human beings.

    Admitting the depths and vileness that even Christian groups may sink to, in their passion to follow corrupt political leaders, is an issue that must also be faced by today’s Christians–especially when we begin feeling superior to Muslims and condemning them for displaying the same brutality that is also part our own tainted history.Obama came right out and said, that atrocities like those done by ISIS, are not the actions of religious Christians, Muslims, Jews, or the unique actions of those in any other faith–they are really obscenities promoted by Criminals–period! We will get nowhere if we keep thinking that only our particular faith has it all, and is the only one endorsed by God. Yes, Christ said, “I am the way the truth and the light, no man comes to the father but by me–but what is the “me.” that he refers to? if it is just his identity as a being named Jesus, Christ, Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, etc. they why not Wilbur, Frank, or Roger? I choose not to believe that “Wilbur,” for example, represents the only form of universal of love in the universe. None of us should hide that fact by playing favorites, while ALL our BROTHERS die and are tortured in the name of religion. If we think of ourselves as innately morally superior to any other group, that’s when we truly begin to lose all perspective.

    Thank for another pertinent and timely article POP. Isn’t it true that so often our political leaders get into trouble by telling the truth, and prosper by telling the most persuasive lies? Sorry if I got too preachy, this issue about being “Holier than thou,” is something that really gets me going.

  2. I support free will to not celebrate Columbus Day. But if people especially European Christians such as Italians and Spaniards want to celebrate Columbus Day or which in Iberoamerica is called el dia de la hispanidad (la fiesta nacional de espana in Spain), then I will support their free will to celebrate this day. The late Prof. W.H. Carroll and anthropologist Carol L. Delaney (Stanford) said that Christopher Columbus asked Spain to send good Christians and that Christopher Columbus forbade marauding and atrocities. But many of the people who were sent to the New World were convicted criminals, sometimes death row inmates. Christopher Columbus did not want the administrator job given that he and his brothers were Italian, the sailors and soldiers often went against orders Columbus and his brother Bartolome gave. Christopher Columbus said in his diaries that he wanted things to be done like this but his sailors and soldiers did differently.

    Now while 1 can discard or debate hundreds of years later the sincerity of what Christopher Columbus wrote in his diary, again only he knew. Columbus and his 2 brothers are thousands of miles away in another land, having to deal with mutiny threats, diseases and warring Indians. 1 could conclude that Columbus and his 2 brothers believed they could not stop the people (who disregarded their orders) from doing what they were doing had to go along with it by pacifying the people they were in charge of until help came from Spain & that we do not know the fear, or other things if they did not go along-but again, only they knew their motives.

    While Professor Carol L. Delaney and the late Prof. W.H. Carroll (Christendom) don’t know all the answers, those who do mock trials of Columbus and the late Howard Zinn (didn’t read his book but know about him) also don’t know all the answers. With Christopher Columbus, the soldiers and sailors who were under his command were often convicted criminals including death row inmates who had their sentences commuted for freedom. I know about slavery, tribute system which Columbus allowed. Did Columbus allow this as a way to pacify those he was in charge of as they disregarded him? Again, only Christopher Columbus & his 2 brothers knew their motives as Columbus did ask Spain to send good Christians but instead many convicted criminals including death row inmates who had their sentences commuted were sent and they disregarded him and his 2 brothers. Historians can say that he allowed this but what they can’t know are what his motives were & those who have done mock trials of Columbus don’t know the answers regarding Columbus’s motives.

    It’s likely the Native Americans who Christopher Columbus discovered were not the original people. We know the history from 1492 in that both the Tainos and Caribs were fighting each other for land, but we don’t know what the history was before 1492, as we don’t know who was there in 1482, 1472, etc. We don’t know how long the Caribs and Tainos or Arawaks were there, how much of the land was originally theirs and whether there were other tribes living there before who were killed or expelled. It’s possible that in 1462, there were other Natives living there before the Caribs and Tainos drove them out either by war or threat of war-after that the territory fighting left was between the Caribs and Tainos. If this is true, then the Tainos and Canibs would not be the original inhabitants, the original inhabitants would be those who were there before them.

  3. While I don’t always agree with the Catholic Church, I don’t believe Christian leaders especially the Catholic Church would defend Columbus if they believed he was a tyrant. The Catholic Church has not defended los conquistadores such as Hernando Cortez & Francisco Pizarro. Christians (especially Catholics) have said that he & his brothers were in other lands thousands of miles away and the soldiers and sailors who were with them were hostile to them that they allowed this to pacify those who they were in charge of. That is why only they knew their motives.

  4. Added thoughts-we can say that Christopher Columbus believed Christianity as the right faith & he did things for Spain’s interests-which is what the King & Queen of Spain wanted. Prof. Carol L. Delaney said that Columbus believed the natives should be instructed as to Christian faith & left money in his will for this. There has been speculation of whether Columbus & his brothers were conversos who converted from Judaism to Christianity.

    Now with the rest-again with Columbus’s & his brothers motives-only they knew. It is true that Iberoamerica was colonized by both Spain & Portugal. Before this Native Americans got their lands by fighting wars against other Native Americans. Yes you can say that it was not the place of Spain & Portugal to colonize and impose Christian faith on the Native Americans, Native Americans often got their lands by wars against other Natives before Europeans took it.

    It’s likely the Native Americans who Christopher Columbus discovered were not the original people. We know the history from 1492 in that both the Tainos and Caribs were fighting each other for land, but we don’t know what the history was before 1492, as we don’t know who was there in 1482, 1472, etc. We don’t know how long the Caribs and Tainos or Arawaks were there, how much of the land was originally theirs and whether there were other tribes living there before who were killed or expelled. It’s possible that in 1462, there were other Natives living there before the Caribs and Tainos drove them out either by war or threat of war-after that the territory fighting left was between the Caribs and Tainos. If this is true, then the Tainos and Canibs would not be the original inhabitants, the original inhabitants would be those who were there before them.

    Historians also sometimes get ideological & dishonest when they say the Tainos were peaceful. Both the Caribs and Tainos fought eachother for land, Caribs & to a lesser extent the Tainos both practiced cannibalism. Also both the Tainos and Caribs sometimes kidnapped women and girls to take as wives so it wasn’t Eden’s Garden. If historians say that wars were used to get land from Native Americans & that Whites did things for their own interests, then that is right. But for historians to make Native Americans to be Noble Savages who lived in peace is dishonest esp. when they omit the violent lives Native Americans lived. Native American societies were not democracies.

  5. William J. Murray decided on his free will to become a Christian when he was 33 years old. He did so after thinking about this and he believes there is a God. Yes, William J. Murray supports voluntary school prayer in public schools but there’s nothing wrong with that. There can become conflicts with allowing prayer in public schools in that if you allow public school prayer, then conflicts can possibly happen when non Judeo-Christians such as Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists do their prayers. I don’t care about public school prayer 1 way or the other.

    It’s 1 thing to believe your religion is right. Christians believe that they are right and other faiths are wrong, Hindus believe their faith is right and others are wrong, atheists believe there is no God. There’s nothing wrong with believing your religion is right because somebody is right and somebody is wrong. There was nothing wrong with Madalyn Murray O’Hair being an atheist and saying why she did not believe in God. But Madalyn Murray O’Hair did not just do this. Madalyn Murray O’Hair condemned people who did not share her view. Madalyn Murray O’Hair even condemned atheists who did not go along with her Communist view.

    Madalyn Murray O’Hair was an arrogant haughty woman who mistreated others and she mistreated her son William J. Murray because he believed in God and decided to become Christian. William J. Murray supported his mom’s free will to not believe in God but Madalyn Murray O’Hair condemned William J. Murray’s free will to believe in God. Again, I’m a non-religious person who agrees with William J. Murray because what he said is right & I think William J. Murray is sincere.

    • As with anyone, it’s a matter of opinion whether Madalyn Murray O’Hair, was an arrogant woman who mistreated others and mistreated her son.

      Like many of those who criticized her, she felt passionate about her beliefs and consequently, felt betrayed when the son she had literally fought off bullies for, and gone the extra mile for, in order to protect him from harassment at the hands of shallow and self-righteous “Christians”, stubbornly expressed no gratitude for her devoted efforts!

      In a world where, all too often, atheists are considered villains, or perpetrators of evil—for simply refusing to honor the wishes of others—O’hair’s worst crime seems to have been, (according to the “benevolent” religious idiots who did nothing remotely “Christian” for her)— simply daring to express her own opinions and, to follow her own free will—without fear of being punished—O’hair simply dared to defy their self-righteous hatred and bigotry!

      There are many personal accounts taken from people who both praised her and condemned her. And, as someone I know is fond of saying, “Only she knew why she did what she did, or what was really in her heart.”

      All too often the “good,” Christians of the world are prone to persecute those who don’t subscribe to, or won’t condone, their “morally infallible, and irrefutable” opinions? and, who are, all too often, eager to lie about and demean, anyone whose differing beliefs make them insecure–as was obviously the case with Madalyn Murray O’hair!

      • Peter W. Johnson, on other posts you have said that I’m a jerk & that you wouldn’t reply to my posts because I called Methew W. Shepard’s dad on Nov. 3, 2014. Since you replied again & though we’ve seen this before see http://associate.com/testimonies/billmurr.html

        The allegation that William J. Murray was beaten up as a boy because his mom was an atheist is again Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s side of story which I have not seen confirmed. It’s possible that it happened & if true that would be wrong. But it’s also possible the allegation’s a lie told to get sympathy and Madalyn Murray O’Hair does have a credibility problem. I have not seen William J. Murray confirm or deny the allegation.

        Madalyn Murray O’Hair had a right to be an atheist & I supported her free will to be 1. In the interviews I saw Madalyn Murray O’Hara gave, she was arrogant & obnoxious. Madalyn Murray O’Hair was also a Communist who wanted to move to U.S.S.R.-millions were killed by Communism there as they were in Communist China. Communism has killed more than Nazism. Madalyn Murray O’Hair did not respect her son William J. Murray’s free will to become a Christian http://www.wnd.com/2012/06/top-god-haters-unholy-crusade-4-95/ & Madalyn Murray O’Hair mistreated her son William J. Murray.

        Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s allegations of her kids being beaten up by Christian youths is possible but we heard her side of story and I wouldn’t be surprised if she made it up for sympathy. Her son Bill who has since become a Christian says the rumors about Madalyn Murray O’Hair are true.

      • Abner,

        I told you that I wouldn’t reply to you any more, but when I see you trying to make this thread, which is really about Christian participation in the crusades, into another opportunity to diss someone you have never even met, I just had to give you my opinions about the many judgemental things you have said about Madalyn Murray O’hair—such as:

        “Madalyn Murray O’Hair condemned people who did not share her view. Madalyn Murray O’Hair even condemned atheists who did not go along with her Communist view.”

        Excuse me Abner, but you obviously disagree with Madalyn Murray O’hair, and are eager to pass judgment on her every chance you get.

        This issue has nothing to do with whether you approve of atheists or not—a lot of self-righteous,nasty Christians have already done that for you. But considering how caustic you are when describing Madalyn, and how often you claim that her Alcoholic son was a poor persecuted soul, who must surely have been mistreated by her, it is a little funny when you claim not to be motivated by religion while deciding arbitrarily that one of her sons and all of her religious critics who thought she was a monster, were right beyond a shadow of a doubt?

        As I did before, I could find websites with testimonials from people who met her, who discussed her generosity and high moral standards. Just as you can find many religious or other types of sites that give the opposite impression. But is hard for me to believe that someone like O’hair, with the fighting spirit she had, would hesitate to come to the aid of a son who was being cruelly bullied by other children, or that children of “good,” moral Christians woud hesitate to make her life a living Hell, just for daring to disagree with the God they created in their own image. So, I will continue to offer the other side of that story when it is appropriate.

        I am glad though, that you are now more willing to admit some of the things you might be wrong about, and that you have the decency to say to. I also may be wrong about my assessment of O’Hairs relationship with her son. However, I find it very easy to believe that after years of abuse and hardships with his school and his hateful peers, that her son William could very well have sought to assign her the role of a villain whose stubborn adherence to independent principles made his life so full of torment so painful. The fact is that whether any individual approves of an in-your face atheists, a large group of hateful believers will want to heap scorn onto anyone who disagrees with them, and dares to do so loudly.

        Madalyn was beaten and tortured to death by a criminal whom she gave a chance to become straight. You may want to spin this some other way, but again, it’s very possible that she really did treat most other decently and expected the same from them. Only she knew for sure what was in her heart, and what her motivation rally were.

        The reason I told you that I wouldn’t answer you again, was because of your rude and uncalled for behavior when ranting at someone who had to lose their son to the hate and cruelty of someone who you also say, only knew what was in his heart. Be that what it may, you did rudely and arrogantly insult someone you have no right to claim is glad to live off the money brought in because of his own son’s cruel death. I could provide one fact after another, I could have an independent auditor examine the books of Matthews foundation, and I could quote from websites which directly contradict all of the mudslinging at both the dead and the living that you seem to thrive on, and still you would continue to think you had the right to mistreat Matthew’s father over something only he knows for sure, and which is frankly, something which is nobody else’s business! So I still think you’re a jerk.

        I just wish that when you take part in a forum having to do with the fact that many Christians don’t want to admit that their own faith are not historically without horrific faults—like a history of genocide—that you could concern yourself a bit more with religious groups as a whole, and not go off on tangents concerning whether one controversial person deserve to be called evil instead of good? I happen to disagree and think the details of her life really deserve discussion on a more directly relevant post.

      • Instead of saying:

        Many Christians don’t want to admit that their own faith are not historically without horrific faults—like a history of genocide,”

        I should have said:

        “Many Christians don’t want to admit that their own faith IS not historically without horrific faults—like a history of genocide,”

  6. At least you mentioned that economic reasons were involved in the decision to wage the war for the control of the trade routes we now call the Crusades.
    I find it interesting that when the Portuguese figured out how to sail far enough down the coast of Africa to take most of the African slave trade away from the Muslim controlled North African slave traders and followed it up with sailing to East India for spices the Crusades basically ended, along with the power of the Islamic empire which was based on the control of trading routes. It was also the start of the Portuguese Empire.

    When I look at other more modern wars which are justified by either political or religious ideology I tend to notice most of them are explained more simply with economics instead of ideology.

    If you look at the globe you notice that economic resources are often localized and that you need to control certain choke points to control the routes for transporting them.
    Empires are still very willing to fight for both the direct control of the resources and for the control of the transportation routes. In the 10th century the choke points were the Bekaa Valley (Jerusalem, Beirut) and the Straits of the Bosphorus (Constantinople) which were locations to be controlled.
    Today because of shipping by sea is more efficient than camel caravans through deserts the choke points are more likely to be ocean routes around continents than mountain passes or ports and if you look at where most of the military bases are located it becomes pretty clear how important control of the Suez Canal is.
    The pattern is the same for Panama, the Cape of Good Hope and the Straits of Magellan. It also holds for the access to many of the seas around the world where shipping routes are restricted to narrow passages between islands and subject to blockading.
    The direct control of resources is another economic reason for wars that continues to be important today. Wars were fought over slaves, over spices over minerals and over plants.
    If you consider the fact that French Indo-China (Vietnam) was the worlds supply of rubber and that the American realization that rubber could be made out of oil instead of grown on plantations coincided very closely with the ending of the Vietnam war but not very closely with the fall of communism the argument that wars are fought for anything but economic reasons is questionable.
    This leaves religion as a tool of war instead of as a cause. In other words religious differences are used as propaganda to justify wars that are fought for economic reasons.

      • Still, although religion is often used to motivate large numbers of people in response to what are basically economically justified excuses for war, one can’t deny that thousands of people are all too willing to take up their swords, assault weapons, or armed nuclear warheads, based at least partly on the belief that they are righteously opposing various unpopular theologies, or fighting against threatening religious extremists. And invariably the levels of violence they employ is often monstrously extreme!

        The real problem with “justifiable” warfare, is not that religion can be used to promote it, but that too many uninformed or underinformed every day people are so willing to fight, after using religion as one, out of many excuses, to shed blood and spread horrific violence.

    • Wow, that was actually a good point. For example of religion used as propaganda for economic reasons would be the Idea that black people were the descendants of Ham so that justified their enslavement. However that is bullcrap on protestant documentation because the SPECIFIC sons of Ham to be enslaved were those of CANAAN. One would argue that they are still sons of Ham and deserve mistreatment….but the same would have to apply when studying ancient Egyptians too. Not saying they’re black or anything but they were sons of Ham.

      As much as the Bible can promote an ill idea it may also be able to debunk it to. That’s the advantage of having an ancient text spanned over years of different social values and writers.

  7. Other things. Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco da Gama, los conquistadores Hernan (Hernando) Cortez & Francisco Pizarro all did things for Spain & Portugal’s interests as they had been sent by the Kings & Queens of Spain & Portugal to find the new world. They did things by religiously believing in Christianity (Catholicism) being right & they were interested in bringing Christianity to the Natives. Don’t think that they believed in Inquisition but they did believe Christianity was the right faith.

    Los conquistadores such as Hernan Cortez and Francisco Pizarro were honest when they conquered the Aztecs and Incas. Both of them told the Aztecs and Incas that there was land, metals (such as iron, gold, silver), etc. which Spain wanted & that either give the land peacefully or war would happen, which they took by conquest. Conquest of Iberoamerica & the Phillipines was done by wars & los conquistadores were Christian soldiers. Wars were used to get land from American Indians or Native Americans. Most Whites are not the original inhabitants except for Solutreans who came during the Ice Age & the # of Solutreans or Solutrians is not much.

    Will say though that what P.O.P. wrote here is selective critique because he omitted fact that pre-Columbian Americas were violent in again that Native Americans got their lands by fighting wars against other Native Americans and in some Native American societies such as Aztecs and Incas-human sacrifice happened. Both the Caribs and Tainos fought eachother for land, Caribs & to a lesser extent the Tainos practiced cannibalism. Also both the Tainos and Caribs sometimes kidnapped women and girls to take as wives so it wasn’t Eden’s Garden.

    Don’t think there was a planned genocide of Native Americans because the Christians did not want to exterminate the Native Americans. White Christians wanted to do things for interest of White Christians but again they wanted the Native Americans or American Indians to become Christians. With the millions of deaths-there are things we don’t know. How many of the Indian deaths were by diseases and how many were by wars with Europeans such as los conquistadores Francisco Pizarro and Hernan Cortez? How many of the Indian deaths were by wars against other American Indians? Native Americans had high death rates in that if an American Indian family had 6 kids, 4 or 5 of the kids won’t make it to adulthood dying of disease, accidents. And again there sometimes were wars with other Native American tribes. Wars did happen between Native Americans and Whites. Yes, los conquistadores were sometimes brutal. Some say that los conquistadores are the lesser of 2 bads when compared to human sacrifices which existed in some Native American societies.

    I would not have wanted to live during time of el sistema de las castas & I also would not have wanted to live during time of human sacrifices. I also would not want to live in the difficult lives the Native Americans lived where you fear your 9 year old daughter could be abducted by a neighboring tribe to be taken as a chief’s wife. I also oppose Europeans imposing culture & religion on Native Americans and I oppose el sistema de las castas which existed in Iberoamerica. I believe again in democracy and all must be treated fairly which means no colonialism, no discrimination . Aztecs, Incas and all Native Americans must be treated with fairness and not be discriminated against. Europeans must be treated with fairness and not be discriminated against. In fact, all ethnic groups must be treated with fairness and not be discriminated against.If injustices are happening to Native Americans today, then that is wrong but what happened in 1800s is irrelevant to what is happening now.

  8. It’s worth pointing out, again, that Christians do not have a monopoly on attacking people who disagree with their beliefs; atheists do it too. A case in point:

    Robert M. Price is a theologian who rejects the claim that Jesus was a real person and otherwise castigates religion, theism, and faith in general.

    He is also politically ultraconservative, who believes that atheists who are Progressives (ie, Leftists) have simply substituted one blind faith for another:

    http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/zblog/?p=41618

    and he criticizes moderates, multiculturalism, the “Nanny State”, and “Political Correctness” as destructive. He is also a nationalist, a global warming denialist, a gun rights apologist, and a Libertarian Nietzschian who rails against “Collectivists” and the “slave herd” while truly believing that the “supermen” will provide for the disadvantaged out of the goodness of their hearts:

    http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/zblog/?p=21

    He considers Islam bloodthirsty barbarism and insane savagery:

    http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/zblog/?p=35137

    and believes Muslims are trying to take over the world. As such, he also believes we should threaten them with nuclear destruction if they don’t get rid of their terrorist fractions themselves:

    http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/zblog/?p=12568

    He honestly believes that the government has convinced most blacks that they are victims, and encourages them to attack blacks who become successful as Uncle Toms:

    http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/zblog/?p=25904

    and that liberals are trying to ruin the country by avoiding offending anyone:

    http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/zblog/?p=2421

    I could go on, but people really need to read all his posts to discover all of his weird beliefs and claims.

    • It’s undoubtedly true that there are many atheists who are intolerant. However, verbally attacking someone for dissenting is a far cry from roasting them alive.

  9. That’s because atheists have never had that kind of power (except in Communist nations). Give them that kind of power and watch what would happen. Bob Price at least distinguishes between ideology and fanatic zealotry (“atheism gone cultic” as he puts it), even if he paints with very broad strokes.

    “Just goes to show everybody but certain of my fellow atheists that religion is not the problem; zealotry is. And iron-fisted zealotry can be and has been secular as easily as religious.”

    http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/zblog/?p=625

    Besides, Christians haven’t “roasted” anyone for at least two centuries, and quite probably longer (Great Britain formally abolished death by burning of heretics in 1676). Even in the 17th century most people burned were traitors rather than heretics, Jews, or witches. This is especially true of women, because traditionally men were hanged, drawn, and quartered in the nude, whereas concerns for “decency” did not allow women to be publicly naked, so they were burned instead. By the 18th century, people were no longer “roasted” alive in any event; they were strangled first, and then their bodies publicly burned. Burning as a form of execution largely ended in the West in the 18th century. The last persons executed by burning were criminals in 1803 and 1812.

    In any event, burning was never exclusively Christian. It has a long history in Antiquity; the Romans burned Christians as did the Japanese. The American Indians tortured and killed captives by burning. Muslims burned people for apostasy, blasphemy, and heresy, and death by burning is still considered to be an acceptable form of punishment (witness the burning of captives by ISIS). In India and Africa, widows were burned with their dead husbands (not all of which were voluntary). Even in modern times it has been used as a method of torture and intimidation, and for ethnic cleansing. The practice of bride-burning still continues.

    In any event, my point was that it is both irrational (strawman) and disingenuous to condemn Christians for intolerance while neglecting to mention that atheists can be just as intolerant, thereby implying that atheists are somehow morally superior to Christians, especially when they are the victims of intolerance. And invoking past Christian atrocities to make modern atheist intolerance seem benign is itself a strawman and a red herring, especially if Christians no longer commit those kinds of atrocities.

    • It would have been odd indeed had I discussed atheist intolerance in a post about the Crusades, when atheists did not (to the best of my knowledge) participate in the Crusades. My use of “roasting alive” was of course a metonymy for persecution and oppression in general. It’s quite true that atheists have never had that kind of power; furthermore, I’ll predict with the utmost confidence that they never will. And, if for no other reason than that, weighing atheist hostility vs. Christian hostility is a false equivalence — which, as it happens, is a topic I’ll be discussing very soon.

      • As I see it, your new post was not made to address whether Christians alone are responsible for extreme violence, or to defend atheists by way of omission, rather, it was a comment on the fact that, when whitewashing the role of Christianity in the Crusades, today’s Christians seem unable to admit that their religion also has had periods typified by dark and ugly behavior. Thus, the President was merely trying to point this out in an attempt to keep Christians from believing that historically, they are unique, and/or different from all the other groups which have also used their religion as an excuse to murder and torture those who stood in their way–at least according to the way the Orthodox Christian church attempted to justify its actions while perverting that faith— for whatever reasons or purposes.

  10. I never said anything about you discussing atheists in your post about the crusades; that’s another red herring. My comment about intolerant atheists was prompted by this remark by Mr. Johnson:

    “But is [sic] hard for me to believe … that children of ‘good,’ moral Christians woud [sic] hesitate to make her life a living Hell, just for daring to disagree with the God they created in their own image.”

    As I stated at the start of my post, atheists are not immune to making someone’s life a living hell if that person disagrees with their beliefs, and I used Mr. Price as a specific example of just such an atheist. The people Price labels as “Westboro Atheists” are other examples.

    As I’ve already pointed out, Communist regimes are examples of atheists or at least secularists acquiring the power of persecution and using it, with much the same results as the Christians you castigate. Your attempts to downplay that evidence by suggesting those regimes had motives other than atheistic ideology for committing their atrocities does not refute this fact. (And I find it disingenuous of you to suggest this when you criticize me for making the same suggestion about Medieval and Reformation Christian atrocities.)

    Subtlety and subtext can sometimes go over my head, but my point applies to general persecution and oppression as well. Christians simply haven’t had that kind of power for the last two centuries at least, and so have been limited to rhetoric, which is exactly the same tactic atheists use.

    “…weighing atheist hostility vs. Christian hostility is a false equivalence….”

    Again, it sounds like you are trying excuse atheist hostility on the basis that they haven’t committed as many atrocities as Christians. This is true only from an historical perspective, unless you compare the several hundreds of thousands of heretics, Jews, and witches killed by Christians with the several **millions** of ordinary people killed by the Nazis and the various Communist regimes, all of which were at least secular if not atheistic. From a contemporary perspective, atheists can be and have been just as hostile as Christians, though I would argue that both stem from fanatical zealotry, not ideology or faith.

    • If you believe Christian hostility has been limited to rhetoric in the past couple of centuries, you haven’t paid attention to what I’ve said about the way atheists have been treated by Christians in very recent times. And you’re probably not as old as I am or you might have witnessed some of these things first-hand. And the notion that the Nazis were “secular if not atheistic” is a big stretch to say the least. The most one could say is that the Third Reich was not OFFICIALLY Christian. But the Nazis were for the most part believers in Christian dogma, and Hitler himself not infrequently referenced his own Christian convictions. By the way, you have misused the term “red herring” several times. I might have made a faulty inference, but that is by no means the same thing.

    • I’ve got to say that most of my sarcastic references to “good” Christians were meant to insult those who are blatant in their intolerance. And that’s what stood out to me concerning the hardships Madalyn Murray O’hair had to endure, at the hands of religious hypocrites. Apparently they thought nothing of treating her any way they wanted to—not in accord with what Madalyn would not want not to do to them.

      I agree that atheists can very easily commit atrocities for their own political gain, But the point I am trying to make concerning religious justifications for war, is not that Christians wanted to kill Muslims or Jews to gain power wealth or prestige. Those were more likely the objectives of greedy leaders,(atheists or Christians) who exploited their positions and used religion as a means to their greedy ends.

      Rather, about ordinary everyday Christians like myself, I am primarily concerned about how easily we, and members of other faiths, have been so easily fooled and exploited by those who enlist us to carry out very unchristian acts. Perhaps this criticism should be made about authority figures in general, but one of the influences various religions usually have, is that they are frequently used by authorities who convince the masses to obey them without thinking. Once again, not every religious person is so intellectually or emotionally malleable that they can be willingly used to satisfy the wishes of corrupt and evil people, but historically it seems that all too often, religious people, (of any faith) are eager to take up a causes based on the influence and authority of others. And when all of us refuse to enable power hungry people, that’s when the full intentions of what our prophets and religious Icons, will be fully heard—minus the spiritual detours devised to control us by those who exercise their personal and corrupting influences.

      I don’t wish to take sides when it comes to atheism or Christianity, but I do think that Madalyn O’hair was on the receiving end of actions done by hypocrites who considered their own “self-righteousness,” as being handed down directly from God. Whether one loves the words of Christ or not, let’s at least admit that, all too often, way too many of us are easily duped into following those who pervert the message of Christ.

      • Madalyn Murray O’Hair had a right to be an atheist & I supported her free will to be 1. In the interviews I saw Madalyn Murray O’Hara gave, she was arrogant & obnoxious. Madalyn Murray O’Hair was also a Communist who wanted to move to U.S.S.R.-millions were killed by Communism there as they were in Communist China. Communism has killed more than Nazism. Madalyn Murray O’Hair did not respect her son William J. Murray’s free will to become a Christian http://www.wnd.com/2012/06/top-god-haters-unholy-crusade-4-95/ & Madalyn Murray O’Hair mistreated her son William J. Murray.

        Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s allegations of her kids being beaten up by Christian youths is possible but we heard her side of story and I wouldn’t be surprised if she made it up for sympathy. Her son Bill who has since become a Christian says the rumors about Madalyn Murray O’Hair are true.

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