Friday, July 22, 2011
THE CRUSADES AND WHY CHRISTIANS SHOULD NOT BE ASHAMED OF THEIR HERITAGE
There are so many misconceptions and myths surrounding the Great Crusades that it is difficult to know where to begin. So, perhaps as close to the beginning is the best place.
If this were year 629 AD, and the local newspaper arrived as it does today, one of the front page headlines would read:
"MUSLIM JIHADIS LAUNCH UNPROVOKED ATTACK ON CHRISTENDOM, CHRISTIANS WAIT NEARLY 466 YEARS TO MOUNT A DEFENSIVE COUNTER-ATTACK!!!"
So you see, the Crusaders were a defensive unit, the Muslim Jihadis were the aggressors. That is an important fact to remember. The battle of Mu'ta in year 629 was just the beginning of unprovoked Muslim attack upon Christians and Jews. As you know from reading today's headlines, the Muslims have not stopped attacking Christians and Jews since the first attack in 629. It wasn't until the year 1095 that the 1st Crusade began, a self-defense action. (There was a total of nine Crusades)
Yesterday's Blog article contained Myth#1 concerning the Crusades. Today we will dispel misconception i.e., Myth #2
MYTH # 2: The Crusaders wore crosses, but they were really only interested in capturing booty and land. Their pious platitudes were just a cover for rapacious greed.
Historians once believed that the rise in Europe's population led to a crisis to too many nobles, second sons if you will. Second sons were trained in chivalric warfare but had no feudal lands to inherit. The Crusades, therefore, were seen as a safety valve, sending belligerent men far from Europe where they could carve out lands for themselves at someone else's expense. Modern scholarship, assisted by the advent of computer databases, has exploded this myth. We now know that it was the "first sons" of Europe that answered the Pope's call in 1095AD, as well as in subsequent Crusades. Crusading was an enormously expensive operation. Lords were forced to sell off or mortgage their lands to gather the necessary funds. Most were also not interested in an overseas kingdom. Much like a soldier today, the medieval Crusader was proud to do his duty, but longed to return home.
After the spectacular successes of the First Crusade, with Jerusalem and much of Palestine in the Crusader hands, virtually all of the Crusaders went home. Only a tiny handful remained behind to consolidate and govern the newly won territories. Booty was also scarce. In fact, although Crusaders no doubt dreamed of vast wealth in opulent Eastern cities, virtually none of them ever even recouped their expenses. Money and land were not the reasons that they went on Crusade in the first place. They went to atone for their sins and to win salvation by doing good works in a faraway land. They underwent such expense and hardship because they believed that by coming to the aid of their Christian brothers and sisters in the East they were storing up treasure where rust and moth cannot corrupt (heaven). They were mindful of Christ's exhortation the he who will not take up his cross is not worthy of Christ. They also remembered that "Greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends."
I wonder how many Crusaders there would have been if they weren't connected to a works religion, i.e. Catholicism? For instance, if you know as we believe today as Evangelical Christians, that you can attain salvation by repenting of you sins and accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, would you still go to war in a far off land to gain the treasure of salvation? Was it God in His infinite wisdom that put the Pope and the Catholic church in place for the purpose of stopping or at least slowing down the follower's of Allah? Do you think that God in His infinite wisdom has placed anyone to counter attack the new Muslim Empire and Caliphate being built today?
Tomorrow, Myth # 3.
God Help Us
(Sources: Thomas Madden, Author of "A Concise History of the Crusades and Learntheology.com from an article by printed on "History of Jihad.com)