This is a continuation of a post on how we are being deceived by revisionist history, particularly regarding American and Israeli history. However, I also want to briefly look at The Crusades, another misunderstood historical event.
One could certainly question why the Church got involved in waging war, as it did with the Crusades. We also know there were atrocities done by the Christian forces, although such things seem to happen in most wars – even by “the good guys.” Today Muslims, and those unfamiliar with the history and background of The Crusades, portray them as wars of aggression and imperialism, with evil Christians attacking peaceful Muslims in a kind of Christian jihad. To this day, Western nations seen as interfering in Muslim regions are referred to as “crusaders” by Muslims. This reveals that the Muslims view struggles with the West as primarily religious in nature: Islam vs. Christianity.
While the Muslims cry out “God is great!” (Allahu Akbar) we in the West are pushing God out of our society. Many no longer attend church, and some are abandoning (and even denying) our Judeo-Christian heritage – even at the highest levels of government. I wonder, will God bless us in our struggle against Islamic terrorism? Should God bless and protect a people who are rejecting him? Take a look at the Bible, especially Israel’s history, and you’ll get the answer.
Getting back to The Crusades, they were more geo-political than religious, although there was certainly a religious aspect to them. By the early 1000s, the Islamic armies had taken over a huge amount of formerly Christian lands in the eastern Mediterranean. The Byzantine Empire had grown smaller and smaller as a result, and it wouldn’t be too long before the Muslims were at the door of Constantinople. If that city fell, Europe lay wide open.
So the Byzantine Emperor asked the Pope if he, the most powerful man in western Europe, could organize an army to help the beleaguered Byzantines keep the Muslims from taking more of their land and eventually reaching the gates of Constantinople. In addition, it would be an opportunity to take back from the Muslims the Holy Land with all of its religious sites, sort of a fringe benefit. Knowing the risk of the Islamic armies breaking through into Europe, the Pope convinced the European kings to contribute to this “Crusade” to take back the Holy Land and protect Europe.
After initial conquests and occupation, the European crusaders were eventually pushed out of the Middle East by the Islamic armies. As predicted, the Islamic armies continued to whittle away at the Byzantine Empire and Constantinople fell to them in 1453. They continued into the Balkans and got to the gates of Vienna. Much of Europe rallied to the cause and defeated the Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Vienna in 1683. Some of the Balkan countries are Muslim to this day as a result of their occupation by the Islamic Ottomans.
So the Crusades were primarily campaigns to halt Islamic conquests and to regain Christian lands lost earlier to Muslim armies. They were not wars of imperialism to take land from innocent and peaceful Muslims as they are popularly portrayed. Although there was certainly a religious element to the Crusades, the main aim of these military campaigns was to defend the weakened Byzantine Empire from further loss of lands and protect Europe from Islamic conquest.