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Demosthenes's avatar

Were the Crusades a justified response to Muslim aggression?

Asked by Demosthenes (9306points) November 1st, 2019

There’s been enough discussion of contemporary issues and politics; let’s argue about the past! I have a few questions in mind. Feel to answer only one of them:

1. Were the Crusades a justified response to Muslim aggression against the Christian world?
2. What is the legacy of Crusades and how they relate to current clashes between the Muslim Middle East and the West?
3. Is it appropriate to make comparisons between the Christian Crusades and modern Islamic terrorism as examples of violence in the name of religion?

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23 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

First of all, you are conflating Islam with Arabs. While the two overlap, Islam encompasses (and a thousand years ago, encompassed) different ethnic groups.

And, a “justified response” countering Arab aggression would have been raising armies to kick the Arabs out of Spain earlier than the 15th Century.

The current situation involves a long memory of genocide by Catholic armies. And no, it is not an appropriate comparison to modern terrorism. Modern terrorism against the West has its roots in fighting against Western Colonialism and the partition of the Ottoman Empire after World War 1.

Demosthenes's avatar

@zenvelo Thanks for your answer. To be clear, I don’t really believe the line “justified response to Muslim aggression” literally; that is a commonly repeated trope among right-wingers that I’ve never exactly agreed with, though certainly one justification at the time for the Crusades were the attacks on Christian pilgrims by the Seljuks.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Were the Crusades truly a response to Muslim aggression then the Crusaders would have stopped at driving Muslims out of Christian lands. Instead they raped, pillaged and put to the sword anyone who not only not Christian, but not the right brand of Christian.

Muslim, Jew, Pagan, Orthodox, whatever. They’re all fair game because it’s not murder to kill an infidel.

kritiper's avatar

The Crusades were “Any of seven (some recon nine) military expeditions undertaken by Christian powers, in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries, to recover the Holy Land from the Moslems.” -from Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 1960 ed. under “crusade.”

stanleybmanly's avatar

The Crusades were in fact schemes to loot the “Holy Lands”, plain and simple. In this they mirror our “liberation” of Iraq, Libya, etc. There will always be some pretext to incentivize the chumps required to do the dying.

Dutchess_III's avatar

“Justified” would depend on which side of the fence you were on. Why did they want to “take the holy lands back”? It was to increase land and profit and power, and to indoctrinate a group of people who already believed the nonsense the government had taught their people to believe, to control them and to make money off of them. The Muslims just needed a little tweaking.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Demosthenes In many countries, such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen, North Korea, Iran, etc…., Christians are killed daily for being Christian. From the first century, Christians were persecuted by Jews, then Romans, and it hasn’t stopped since.

In your reply to @zenvelo, you mentioned you hear that from the Right often, that’s what they mean.

https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/stories/11-christians-killed-every-day-for-their-decision-to-follow-jesus/

Response moderated
Demosthenes's avatar

@KNOWITALL I meant specifically in the context of the Crusades. I know that Christians are persecuted in Muslim countries around the world today.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It stopped when Constantine adopted Christianity as the religion of Rome which is why today it is still the “Roman Catholic Church.” And from that point onward, it became the role of Christians to assume the necessary duties of ruthless persecution and intolerance of the beliefs of others. Just ask the Jews about the “benefits” of Christian tolerance.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Isn’t it ironic. A religion that depends on persecution to be valid, is the foremost persecutor of other religions .

But your dates are off @stanleybmanly. ”In 313, Constantine…..issued the Edict of Milan decriminalizing Christian worship.”
The Crusades happened occurred between 1096 and 1291, well after Catholicism became Rome’s official religion.

Or maybe I didn’t understand what you meant by “It stopped…” I don’t know what “It” is, I guess.

flutherother's avatar

I’ll just point out that Charles Mackay devoted an entire chapter to the Crusades in his book “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” an early study of crowd psychology.

Demosthenes's avatar

@flutherother Interesting. I have read a number of histories of the Crusades but have not examined it from a psychological point of view.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It was a brutal time. Most of history has been.

flutherother's avatar

@Demosthenes It has been through many editions since the first in 1841. You could probably get a Kindle version quite cheap.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Dutchess III I meant the Roman persecution of the Christians ceased when Christianity became in effect the state religion of the Roman Empire.

MrGrimm888's avatar

No such “war,” is justified.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ah! I thought I must have misunderstood you @stanleybmanly.

@MrGrimm888 I agree. But we’re on the same side of the fence.

MrGrimm888's avatar

War , is never justified. Especially if it is a religious war.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@MrGrimm888 I agree. But we’re on the same side of the fence.

MrGrimm888's avatar

We’re on the same side of the fence, in most issues Dutch….

Dutchess_III's avatar

Except when you’re on the wrong side!!! XOXOXOX :)

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Guilty as charged Dutch.

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