Sunday, February 8, 2015

Of ISIS and Crusades

During his address at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Barack Obama made some very interesting comments. He talked about crimes that have been committed in the name of religion, and for the most part I agreed with his remarks. Too many times in the history of the world, religion has been the cover for violence and atrocity. As a religious person myself, I am often very troubled by these matters and am saddened when the non-religious use them as a way to show that religion cannot be correct. I view these arguments usually as non-sequiturs however.

The main problem with President Obama's speech came when he compared the Crusades to the modern conflict we face with ISIS. On my Facebook page, I commented that the president was not only not a very good president, but a terrible historian as well. I will give two brief points as to why.

First, the crusades were attacks made by the Catholic Church for different reasons. Some were for defense, some were on the point of aggression, others were to bring down heresy. These attacks were organized and were sanctioned officially by the Roman Catholic Church, as many times it was the Bishop of Rome (the pope) who organized them. This is not true of ISIS, a group of nomadic gangsters with no clear agenda and are not full representations of the Islamic World. 

Second, these comments are taken far out of context when we realize that this was something in the far past that has been dealt with, while ISIS is the real threat to our safety now. Also, no one has said that the religious were on there "high horse" or that only Islam has caused harm in the world. We are not at war with religion; we are at war with radical religion. Sadly, the president failed to make this distinction in his address, and until he recognizes ISIS for what it is we will never be able to stop them.

I do not have room in this brief blog to talk completely about the comparison of the crusades and ISIS. I would like to make one last point about them forever. Had the crusades not occurred, Islam would have easily taken over the Western World, and we would all now be living under Sharia law. Sound attractive? I did not think so.

3 comments:

  1. I just hope people can separate the wrong doings of religious people in the past and rely on modern faith holders to not do things as violent, but also act according to their religious consciences.

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  2. I completely agree with point #1. It's important that we separate the actions of radical religious minority groups from the official stance of the religion as a whole. The Catholic church backed the crusades. The Popes were directly involved. In some ways, they are a stain on the history of the Catholic Church. ISIS is not backed by the rightful leaders of the Islam Religion. ISIS is not backed by the Islam religion nor by the majority of Muslims worldwide. They are COMPLETELY separate things.

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  3. I completely agree with point #1. It's important that we separate the actions of radical religious minority groups from the official stance of the religion as a whole. The Catholic church backed the crusades. The Popes were directly involved. In some ways, they are a stain on the history of the Catholic Church. ISIS is not backed by the rightful leaders of the Islam Religion. ISIS is not backed by the Islam religion nor by the majority of Muslims worldwide. They are COMPLETELY separate things.

    ReplyDelete