THE CRUSADERS AND THE CHURCH
The crusades represent a part of church history that many have attempted to forget and leave hidden within the history books. Some claim the crusades to be a courageous time for the Christian church as they attempted to trample out false doctrine and protect the Holy Land from the cult of Islam. Others will quickly identify the crusades as the darkest and most regretful period of time in the history of the church. Either way, there is much detail surrounding the history of the crusades and how they developed. It is not quite as easy as a black and white assumption because many of the men involved had mixed intentions and sentiments regarding what the crusades were actually about.
The crusades were centered on the threat of Islamic expansion and had several factors that led up to their beginning. Islam was birthed through the alleged revelations and visions of Muhammad, Islam’s prophet who was born in 570 A.D. When Muhammad became twenty-five years of age, he went from keeping camels to taking charge of the affairs of business for a wealthy widow who happened to be fifteen years older than him. The widow liked him a lot and made a proposition of marriage to him. Muhammad accepted the marriage proposal. She remained his only wife through the rest of her years, although after she died he had many wives.
Muhammad began going into a cave for long periods of time at the age of forty for meditation and thinking. One day, he came out of the cave and told his wife that an angel had visited him and ordered him “to recite” what was given to him. He then wrote the Quran which literally means “to recite”. His wife was supportive and became his first follower and many families then followed suit. Muhammad did not merely spread his new religion by peace. His followers soon learned to pillage, loot, murder, rape, and fight to gain control of new areas within the region. Those who did not follow willingly were forced or expelled. After many...