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The legacy of Crusades
The Bible frequently faces the challenge that consists in the failure to interpret it in an adequate way. Misunderstanding can generate serious problems such as a false representation of customs and distortion of some facts. One of the evident examples refers to the crusades that are a series of religious confrontations in Europe against the Islamic ruling in the Nearest East at the threshold of the 11th and 12th century. The idea of the crusades, therefore, has been initiated due to the specific subjective interpretation of the Saint Scripture to justify the violence on behalf of the Christianity. However, the veritable meaning of the Bible seems to refer more to the spiritual extension of the Christ reign in a final judgment. Regardless of the positive influence of the Crusades on Europe, from the perspective of cultural value and artistic value, they hardly advanced the cause of Christ. The reason is that it is difficult to justify the deaths on behalf of Christ. Their actions could not be regarded as the activities for the sake of the Gospel; on the contrary, they have aggravated the situation by exercising violence and aggressive expansion.
The idea of the crusades derives from eleventh-century Europe continuing to grow until the sixteenth century. Between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, the major crusades were organized to save Jerusalem from infidelity to God. The crusades aimed at chasing Muslims who recaptured Jerusalem and abused the Christians. Pope Urban II called the Christians to adhere to the spiritual duty and rewards and eradicate those who are against Christ. The sermon was the first case in the history that was considered a major instrument for promoting the interests and goals of the Christian church. Urban II promised to forgive the sins to those who participated in the crusades. In such a way, crusades have shed a new insight and understanding of Christianity. The first Crusade was successful, and Europeans managed to establish their Christian dominance in 1099. The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem was created and lasted till 1187. The subsequent crusades aimed at capturing Jerusalem. They were under the lead of the most outstanding rulers such as King Phillip Augustus, Holy Roman, Frederick Barbarossa, and King Richard of England. They encountered the Muslim king, Saladin. The crusades of the period of 1200-2004 were less successful and resulted in failure and destruction of greater work of literature and art. The Crusade led by the Holy Roman emperor, Frederick II, aimed to gain control of Jerusalem, with a promise to get access to the city of the Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Further, King Louis IX of France attempted to guide the crusades though he failed as a military lead. Other multiple attempts to capture the city introduced some political, social, and cultural influences.
The behavior and actions of the crusades were directed at reinforcing the connection between Christendom, feudalism, and militarism. In addition, they manifested themselves into ratifying the acts of vandalism and violence initiated by the clergy. The growth of the indulgence system catalyzed the Protestant Reformation. Furthermore, the crusades had a tangible impact on the development and institutionalization of the Dominican orders and Medieval Inquisition. The aggressive encounters appalled the Muslims and Greeks developing the gap between the Latin and the Orthodox religions. It also resulted in a loss of reaching the reunification of the church, which created the false images of Westerners who were considered as defeated aggressors.
The fact that due to the crusades, people misinterpreted the Bible is undeniable. In the pursuit of purity and obedience of society, the religious supporters have made health reformers to focus on specific daily practices being a moral obligation such as a proper hygiene because the disease was regarded as a sin. At this point, some of the violent activities and aggressive expansions have also been explained at the moral obligation of the crusades to make people follow the religious reign. In fact, the relative significance of the knowledge of the Muslim opposition as a reason explaining the lack of Catholic missionizing among the Muslims can be evaluated through the comparison of Catholic Christendom with other religious groups that encountered Islam, including those from Spain and the Byzantine Empire. According to Kedar, the traditional missionary frontiers of these Christendoms were not necessarily in the north and east, and with the possible exception of the Spanish Christians, they can by no means be considered culturally inferior to their Muslim neighbors. At the same time, the crusades did not launch missionary attempts among the Muslims.
There is no unanimous assumption about the fact that Crusades were a way to convert people or impose a religion on them. The popes forced people to Christianity and Catholicism; however, they failed to preach to them. The reason was that they sought to take control over every sphere of their lives, including spiritual, physical, and social. In general, the crusades did not manage to restore the control over Jerusalem by the Christians though they succeed in other spheres. To enlarge on the issue, they have enhanced the influence and power of the pope over the European Church. In addition, due to the IV Crusade, the power of the Byzantine Empire was significantly weakened. Crusaders invaded Constantinople resulting in the Empire to gradually lose its territory. Apparently, the crusades shaped a violent and aggressive image of Christianity in the West as well as in Islamic culture.
Due to the controversial policies of the Latin Church, the opposition against Crusades and their missions always existed because religion was a voluntary choice rather than imposed by force. Many people considered religion and government to stand apart because both religious people and infidels had the right to enjoy human rights though the dominance of the Latin Church was still justified. When crusaders were defeated, these problems were reconsidered and recovered during the thirteenth century. Louis IXs disaster was beneficial to Franciscan radicals. It was argued that crusades involved the religion in secular wars, admitting the assumption that most of them were not morally justified. Regardless of the fact that the infidels were defeated, the Christians still lacked support and approval. Additionally, the hidden motives pursued by the popes resulted in the collapse of later crusades. Mundy explains, when Constantinople fell in 1204, Thomas Morosini replaced the Greek patriarch of that city and, importing Venetian canons, planned to replace all Greek prelates with them. In this respect, the crusades bore some political character since the pope sought to increase the power and expansion of the territory of influence.
In the end of the thirteenth century, witnessed the papal interest in the influence that non-Christians had on Christians increased. Muldoon states, according to the papal letter, the Jews were making converts from among their Christian neighbors; as for the Moslems ... popes saw them as potential allies for armies coming from the remaining Saracen kingdoms in Spain or armies that might come from Africa. Indeed, the Church has imposed strong pressure on the conversions due to its unwillingness to decline in its control over the country and community. Furthermore, papal limitations on Moslems and Jews to prevent damage were insufficient. They aggressively forced them to convert to Christianity and assist those in their new lifestyle and religious vision. Urban IV even provided financial support to facilitate the process of expansion. The development of missionary effects was also supported by other activists such as Nicolas III who especially aimed at converting the Jews. Specifically, he issued Vineam Sorec velut, the bill that described the problem of conversion. Preachers were to be sent against other religions. To prove the purity of the doctrine, Innocent IV continued imposing pressure to ensure that the Crusades were properly introduced, and most of the people were under the Christs rule.
In general, the Crusades ideology was against the genuine teachings of the Saint Scripture according to which religion should be regarded as moral practical manual for individuals to be tolerant to each other. The Bible is a sort of teaching and practical guide for those who want to know how to maximize their experience and achieve results, as well as how to achieve intellectual development and professional accomplishment. The series of religious expansions were not justified in these terms because they imposed abuse and violent manner.
With regard to the above-presented facts about the crusades, it could be admitted that the religious war negatively imaged Christianity which caused deaths of thousands people. The genuine purpose of the military actions, however, were not determined by the principles and ideas presented in the Bible but by the wrong interpretation of the Church of certain moral principles for the sake of establishing control and influence over other lands. Although the crusades had certain artistic and cultural values, they did not advance the cause of Christ but the papal control over the adjacent territories which were captured for expanding their influence. Overall, the crusades resulted in failure to increase converts because violent methods were ineffective, and religions should be followed willingly to understand the essence of spirituality and divine commitment.
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