Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Crusades +/- (Blog 5)

Looking back on the Crusades the aftermath is a mixture of pluses and minuses. There are many subjects that I know a little about, a few subjects that I might even consider myself to have a respectable amount of knowledge on, but as for religion – I usually leave that discussion to the experts. However, religion overall has had a larger, more profound impact than anything else ever has; it has changed lives and controlled history, inspired the arts, and transformed our thoughts and views. Try to imagine for a moment a world where God does not exist and attempt to rewrite history. It is difficult because almost every significant past event has an intimate relationship with religion and God, regardless of their validity. From the first sacrifice, to the crusades, to the recent events in the Middle East, God and rituals surrounding him has been a vital part of our human culture.

The results of the Crusades cannot be stated simply. The crusades started the abhorrence of the Muslim attitudes towards Christians. At the same time, doubts were raised among Christians about God's will, the church's authority, and the role of the Pope. However, as a result of the Crusades, European cities had a better commerce, a greater interest in exploring the orient, and as a result new trade markets were established. Arab influence on styles and customs was also seen throughout the west.

During this age of religious wars, leading to the Renaissance, warfare drastically changed. Strategies, weapons, as well as art itself was reshaped by the contact with other peoples. This new contact and new knowledge of vast possibilities of trade, as well as the violent way in which the nonbelievers were forced into Christianity, expanded into many new areas of bloodshed, all for the sake of beliefs.

On a positive note a strong impact of the Crusades is that they caused the European expansion into the rest of the world. Europeans learned great military tactics such as the crossbow, catapults and they also learned about gun powder from the Muslims. The departure of so many nobles and knights for the crusade led to the decline of feudalism. The crusades can be stated as the first step in the long history of European imperialism and although Europe had been exposed to the Muslim beliefs for many centuries much “knowledge in areas such as science, medicine, and architecture was transferred from the Islamic to the western world during the crusade era.”

If you look closely at the crusades there should be a feeling of deja vu - The Catholic Church sent thousands of soldiers, many of them mercenaries, to wipe out the Islamic infidels in order to open trade routes and steal their wealth. The order was to wipe out every man, woman and child - and they did or tried to. Now we have the Islamic jihads calling Americans and Europeans infidels saying that anyone who does not convert should be wiped off the face of the earth. Sounds like a pure case of karma to me. The definition of karma −which I believe in − is an action or deed which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect. The Church gave an order which started an action which has now cycled 180 degrees back from whence (more or less) it came. The answer is not going to be found in war because it was war that began the cycle and war will only continue the cycle. A political attitude was set in motion during the Crusades which continues today. What's the answer? I can only say it cannot be found in war. Einstein said that you cannot solve a problem from the same mindset that created the problem, you must change how you think about the problem − find a different perspective.

Maturing is a thing that comes with time, and with thousands of years of humanity, we should come to realize that fighting and killing solely because is religious disagreement is asinine. While some third-world countries still persecute its citizens for following other beliefs, hopefully we live in a society that has come to accept most every belief or a pessimistic attitude, or it could be that we are still immature with wisdom still to come.

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