Geisler on the Crusades: Myth and Reality

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Philip
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Geisler on the Crusades: Myth and Reality

#1

Post by Philip » Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:42 am

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There are a lot of modern assertions about the Crusades that don't reflect the historical reality. Of course, some of what we read DOES reflect the excesses and harm done. Here, Norman Geisler gives a short view of the history:


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https://normangeisler.com/the-crusades- ... justified/

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edwardmurphy
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Re: Geisler on the Crusades: Myth and Reality

#2

Post by edwardmurphy » Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:17 pm

Sorry, Phil, this guy is a pundit playing fast and loose with the facts in order to make his point. Here are a couple of counters:
The Prologue to the Crusades: 500 Years of Muslim Advance

The Crusades can only properly be understood in terms of the 500 years of Muslim advance into the West that preceded them.
Sure, but the 500 years of Muslim aggression can only be properly understood in terms of the previous 800 years of Western aggression that began with Alexander and continued on with the Romans and Byzantines, but that can only properly be understood in terms of the 50 years of Persian aggression during the Greco-Persian Wars.

The East and West have been in near constant conflict for 2,500 years. The Roman-Persian Wars (the Romans being the Romans and the Byzantines, and the Persians being the Parthians and the Sassanids) had been chugging along for nearly 700 years before the Muslims got involved. You can't just pull the Muslim Expansion out of the timeline and claim that it's something different.
Of course, there were sins of overreactions by some Crusaders. But most of these were deeply regretted and forgiveness was sought by Christians who participated in them.
The Fourth Crusade set out in 1202, ostensibly to conquer Egypt. Presumably they had the best intentions, but - somehow or other - they accidentally besieged, conquered, and sacked Constantinople. Oops. Then they inadvertently crowned one of their guys the new emperor, divvied up the rest of the Byzantine territory among themselves, and called it a conquest. Regretfully, according to Mr. Geisler.

The result was 50 years of war between Eastern and Western Christians. By the time the Byzantines recaptured their capital the empire barely extended past its walls. They held on for a couple hundred more years - everything took longer back then - but eventually the Ottomans finished them off.

I'm sorry, but calling the deliberate sack of the largest Christian city in the world by the very people who traveled east to protect it (out of the goodness of their hearts and a deep and abiding love for their fellow Christians) a "sin of overreaction" is a bit much.
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Re: Geisler on the Crusades: Myth and Reality

#3

Post by Philip » Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:32 am

Ed, it's a complex subject spanning a very long period of time and multiple players with much bad blood and actions on BOTH sides. But the important point is that the popular modern narrative suggesting it all had "mostly to do with evil Christian Crusaders bent on genocide of Muslims" simply isn't accurate or comprehensive, and is a grand distortion of the overall picture. And certainly a lot of those people were cultural Christians who were not following the mandates of Christ. And much of it was unfortunately driven by the popular Popes-driven desire to reclaim Jerusalem and the "Holy Land" and thus flowed from an un-Biblical theology unique to the medieval Roman Catholicism inherent in Western Europe. And was born of a re-focusing of violence in a world already deep in turmoil and hostile division on both sides. There were NO clean hands on either side. But the modern popular narrative is woefully one-sided, glossed over, and highly misleading!

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Re: Geisler on the Crusades: Myth and Reality

#4

Post by PaulSacramento » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:41 pm

In short, the first couple of Crusades happened because they had to stop the Muslim expansion, and then greed and stupidity took over as it always does.
The modern revisionist POPULAR view of the crusades are, like most revisionist views we have, are ungrateful and a product of the very world that would NOT have existed if they Muslim expansion had not been stopped.

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Re: Geisler on the Crusades: Myth and Reality

#5

Post by edwardmurphy » Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:03 pm

Philip wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:32 am
Ed, it's a complex subject spanning a very long period of time and multiple players with much bad blood and actions on BOTH sides.
Absolutely. No question. I agree 100%.
Philip wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:32 am
But the important point is that the popular modern narrative suggesting it all had "mostly to do with evil Christian Crusaders bent on genocide of Muslims" simply isn't accurate or comprehensive, and is a grand distortion of the overall picture.
I don't think that's the popular narrative. Yes, there are some on the political left who make that claim, but I think they're pretty well balanced out by conservative apologists like Geisler.
Philip wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:32 am
And certainly a lot of those people were cultural Christians who were not following the mandates of Christ.
As far as I know most people in that time period, and that includes most soldiers and therefore most Crusaders, were extremely devout Christians (apart from the pagans up north). The big reason for the Crusade (apart from the need to give a bunch of violent, armed young men something constructive to do) was to secure the Holy Land for pilgrims. The big reason that so many went (apart from the Pope's promise of blanket forgiveness of their sins both prior to and during the Crusade) was that they thought that was a worthy cause. But they were also soldiers - hard, violent men whose best shot at a decent payday came from looting and pillaging.
Philip wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:32 am
And much of it was unfortunately driven by the popular Popes-driven desire to reclaim Jerusalem and the "Holy Land" and thus flowed from an un-Biblical theology unique to the medieval Roman Catholicism inherent in Western Europe.
This I don't know anything about. What do you mean?
Philip wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:32 am
And was born of a re-focusing of violence in a world already deep in turmoil and hostile division on both sides. There were NO clean hands on either side. But the modern popular narrative is woefully one-sided, glossed over, and highly misleading!
There weren't two sides. The Christians were mostly divided into small, constantly warring factions. The Muslims were in larger, sometimes warring factions. And in the north there were pagans. The First Crusade was only 30 years after the Battle of Hastings (which is considered the end of the Viking Age). Charles Martel - the guy who stopped the Umayyads at Tours (with a professional army that he financed by confiscating Church land and property) and is credited with saving Europe - spent most of his life conquering and reconquering his Christian and pagan neighbors. The world was a bit of a cluster[love] back then.
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Re: Geisler on the Crusades: Myth and Reality

#6

Post by Philip » Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:31 pm

Meant Muslim factions vs. Christian ones.

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Re: Geisler on the Crusades: Myth and Reality

#7

Post by edwardmurphy » Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:11 am

I know. My point was that it's not as simple as two factions. The Eastern and Western Christians were definitely both factions, as were the European pagans. There were also factions within the Muslim faction. There were times when Christians allied with Muslims to fight other Christians or Muslims. When the Crusader Kingdoms were established they just kind of blended in with the other warring factions in the area, at least for a while.
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Re: Geisler on the Crusades: Myth and Reality

#8

Post by Philip » Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:15 am

Yes, Ed - which is my point - that the greatly over-simplified, grandly distorted, popular modern narrative is a naive load of fiction pushed by the clueless.

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Re: Geisler on the Crusades: Myth and Reality

#9

Post by edwardmurphy » Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:47 pm

Got it. So we just disagree about what constitutes "the popular narrative." I'm actually pretty sure there are at least three.
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Re: Geisler on the Crusades: Myth and Reality

#10

Post by Philip » Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:51 pm

Got to bed, Ed! You are too old to be staying up so late - you need your beauty sleep! :P

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