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Those who wish to bash the Catholic Church do not hesitate to bring up the "Crusades" and the "Inquisition" as evidence of tainted Church history. It's the common non-catholic apologetic against the Church, and it comes with the admonition: "History proves that organized religion is bound to pillage and plunder the innocent."
Do these people have the facts on their side? Or, do they merely parrot bigotted misinformation they were taught from the time of their youth? Does it go deeper than that? Perhaps they wish to believe the accusations against the Church, be they true or false, in order to justify a sinful life that is in rebellion against Church doctrine!
Did those who lived during the times of the Crusades and shortly thereafter regard the Crusades as necessary and something of virtue? Has the average man on the street with an axe to grind against the Church embraced myths of revisionism without realizing it? Muslims had more respect for Christians during the times of the Crusades than do revisionists in our day. They regarded Christian soliders as worthy adversaries who fought with piety.
So then, where does the revisionist view of Church history come from?
What if it came from none other than Martin Luther? He'd already waged his war against Church indulgences, doctrine and Papal Supremacy. He was the first within Christianity who argued in a forcible way that to fight in the Crusades as a Christian would be the same as fighting Christ Himself. He believed that Christ had sent the Turks to punish the Church for its infidelity to God, but his claim lasted only until Austria was invaded and his own territory had become endangered. He decided it would be "permissable" to fight in the Crusades, but he had to maintain the Crusades were evil in order to save face. For the next two centuries people viewed the crusades through the bigotry of Martin Luther, and Protestants in our day have picked up his banner against the Church.
We also have men like Voltaire who felt that medieval Christianity was nothing more than vile superstition. For him, and others like him, the Crusades represented a time of mindless barbarians who allowed themselves to be driven by the fanaticism of religious belief that was fueled by greed and lust.
So then, what are the facts behind the real story of the Crusades? Were they unprovoked wars of aggression against a muslim world that was at peace in its own lands?
Is it true that Crusaders wore "Crosses" on their clothing to cover the shame of what they did? Was their piety false? Or, were the soliders of the Crusades like a solider in our own day, proud of his country and duty, but longing to return home to peace?
This trial will ferrot out the revisionists of Church history.
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