Kingdom of Heaven -- The Crusades Are Not An Excuse

It happened again the other day. I was talking to someone, then God entered the conversation. Then the Crusades entered the conversation. Then God exited the conversation.

Many people use the Crusades to excuse their disbelief in Jesus Christ. This is silly because the people who inspired the Crusades had nothing to do with Jesus Christ. The army that marched around with crosses on their armor was not Christian.

As soon as people hear that such an easy-to-remember event in history can be used to excuse their disbelief, they clench their minds around it like a steel trap. The irony of this situation is, while people speak out against the injustice of the Crusades, they are actually thankful for the convenience of this alibi, which serves to ease their consciences a little bit.

If not the Crusades, then people would use some other excuse such as, "This one person who said he was Christian was mean to me," or "I can't believe in Jesus Christ right now because I've got bills to pay."

Disbelieving in Jesus Christ because of the Crusades is like dropping out of school because you heard that one time a man said he was a professor when he was actually a serial killer.

The "Christian" crusaders wore crosses on their uniforms, but this did not make them Christian. A Christian is someone who follows Jesus Christ by obeying His direct commands and, in general, by following His example. There might have been some crusaders who were Christian (incidentally) but the overall motivation behind the Crusades was not Christian.

Jesus says: "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then my servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews (people who threaten to harm me physically)." (John 18:36)

As long as humanity remains evil, war will be inevitable. It demonstrates the insecurity of men that they would say, "You'd better submit to me or I'll shoot you." But Jesus is not so insecure. Jesus advocates a kind of battle that does not depend on physical tools of war, but rather only God's Spirit. Jesus teaches His followers to depend on the Spirit to transform people's hearts and minds. Christians (Christ-followers) don't need to hold a gun to anyone's head, we have a far more powerful Weapon.

The Crusades were a misguided attempt to secure the "Holy Land." But Balian understood that God, if He is God, values human life more than land or buildings (according to his address to the people just before the fighting started). Balian also understood that God values life more than man-made superstition (He ordered the accumulation of corpses to be burned against the counsel of the local priest, who thought this would prevent God from resurrecting them later).

Jesus said to the woman at the well, "An hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth." Balian seemed to understand this better than his peers, which led him to fight for people's lives rather than religious dirt. This fact ended up saving innocent people's lives.


SMSreports from Fr. Steve (Switzerland) said...

I agree with you:"Many people use the Crusades to excuse their disbelief in Jesus Christ."

I make everyday the same experience. People always use this kind of excuse to disbelieve. Not only crusades but all of kind of horrful actions that some christians made in the past.

Well I answer always: Just go on and don't look to the mistakes from other christians to build your christian life but look at the holy people who had a successfull life unter the eyes of God


Anonymous said...

Do also remember that at least part of the Crusades were a perfectly valid defense against Muslim aggression. Expansionist muslim nations had taken over Spain and were at the gates of Vienna, with the danger of taking over all of Europe and subjugating, then eliminating Christianity. The Crusades were organized to defend against that continuing and relentless attack.

This is luagha from, by the way.