Wednesday, May 5, 2010

the crusades

Did anybody else see that movie "Kingdom of Heaven" that came out about 6 years ago?  It was a long, gory, mediocre movie about the Crusades.  Of course, it was a wildly inaccurate fictionalization of Christianity's darkest period.  In order to purge the memory of that movie from my mental history, I've picked up the book entitled "God's War: A New History of the Crusades," by Christopher Tyerman.  It's a fabulous historical account of the Crusades.  I would recommend it to anybody willing to slog their way through 950 pages of academia. 

Today's Christians have to face up to the disturbing fact that our brothers and sisters in the Lord committed heinous atrocities throughout the Crusades.  Stories of murder, rape, pillaging, and unchecked marauding are pervasive in Tyerman's account of the period.

Christians today cannot either 1) live in the past and constantly apologize for these abominations or 2) pretend like they never happened.  Instead, we need to learn from our past and grow out of that place.  We have to understand that our brothers and sisters went through this crisis of violence but that the Prince of Peace has called the church out of that dark place.  In the same way, Christ does not compel us to sin but only to repent.

Yes, Christianity went through a tragically violent period during the Crusades.  Thanks be to God that we have been given the gift of disgust.

1 comment:

  1. On another note: modern day atheists take the accounts of the Crusades and say that there is no God, because God's followers are so unrighteous. Religion, they say, accounts for a large measure of violence in our world.

    In response, we have to be clear about a few things. First, just because some Christians may have been evil people doesn't mean that their God is an evil entity (or simply doesn't exist). True, they did unspeakable things in the name of God, but this has no bearing on God's very existence. In the same way, when we sin, we are not denying God's existence, but we are denying God's reign over our lives.

    Yes, Christianity went through a tragically violent period during the Crusades. Thanks be to God that we have been given the gift of disgust.

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