How do the crusades impact modern day Christianity own sense of morality and spirituality? What do these things mean to a person of faith?

The Crusades, from Wikipedia

The Crusades were a series of religiously sanctioned military campaigns, called by the Pope and with the main goal of restoring Christian control of the Holy Land. The crusaders came from all over western Europe. The main series of Crusades occurred between 1095 and 1291; historians have given them numbers, later unnumbered crusades were also taken up for a variety of reasons.


Related Question:

How did the Inquisition impact modern Christianity?

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    A quick note on question formatting conventions: Any annotation (like the "related questions" reference above) should be placed at the bottom of the post so not to dominate the question and the 'questions' page preview. – Robert Cartaino Sep 30 '11 at 23:26

Well, only the Catholic and Orthodox churches existed during the times of the crusade. So, most major Protestant groups tend to wash their hands of the whole matter since they didn't exist at the time.

The Catholic church specifically, has apologized for the Crusades (back in 2000) and seems to carry a sense of shame about the whole event.

The event itself seems to be a bit of a dark mark in Christian history--a time when people were willing to kill other people for their religious beliefs. Most Christians seem to take the fact of the Crusades at face value and see it as a historical event (and something to avoid).

Since these events aren't preached upon or taught in churches, it seems that there is minimal impact on modern Christianity, except for possibly the preclusivity of mounting another Crusade/holy war from a Christian stance.

sources 1; 2

  • Why is people being willing to die for their beliefs "a dark mark"? Isn't that the ultimate expression of faith and devotion? – Mason Wheeler Sep 28 '11 at 20:13
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    Good catch. I've edited. It's the killing that's the bad part, not so much the dieing. ;) – Richard Sep 28 '11 at 20:18
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    @MasonWheeler - To die because of your love for Christ or for someone else is an honor, but to die doing what is morally wrong is just a waste of a good life, as it doesn't honor God. The Crusades was immoral, but people allowed themselves to be convinced to fight these "infidels" and we hear the same issues brought up now and people are willing to attack this group again. – James Black Sep 28 '11 at 23:01
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    We protestants cannot "wash our hands of" catholicism's mistakes back then. You can't divorce yourself from the root that supplies you as the branch. – jchaffee Oct 12 '11 at 14:56
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    Many of the crusades were against other Christians (see the sacking of Venice and Constantinople). – TRiG Oct 12 '11 at 16:57

When it comes to Christianity, we know that all the denominations hold one single view in terms of character of Jesus of Nazareth, him being the risen Christ and his teachings of love and many other things. So, irrespective of who is responsible of the crusades, it does leave a "dark mark" in the history of Christianity as a whole, which whether we like it or not, we cannot run from it but have to accept it.

But, when a question is raised about the immorality of the crusades, it is important here to understand that "IT IS NOT THE LOGICAL OUTWORKING OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH". what I mean is, the crusades, though they were carried in the name of Jesus(Christianity as a whole), never conformed to the teachings of Jesus, but in fact were opposite to that of what Jesus taught. I could give many citations from the verses where Jesus insisted on his followers to love one another, but it is very evident from the bible itself. One such verse that comes to my mind is where Jesus tells his disciples to love one another, this way the world will know that they(his disciples which means even we) are his and he lives in them.(John 13:34-35)

Now, we know that we believe in Jesus because he is the truth, the way and the life. We believe in what the bible describes about Jesus. So, though these crusades which we cannot deny, happened in the name of Jesus, it in no way undermines our belief in Jesus of Nazareth described in the NT. And this must be kept in mind "WHETHER THE ACTIONS CONFORM WITH THE BELIEF THAT IS HELD".

According to me, these Crusades should not impact much on modern Christianity!

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