|Jesus and I have a similar style, I think.|
Now, most historians today who understand the political and economic climate of 1199 Europe and Middle East believe that the Crusades were not really about religion. When the Pope issued Deus Vult, which in Latin means "God wills it," it is generally thought that religion was not the reason the pope wanted to "liberate," or "reclaim," the Holy Land for the sake of Christianity. The Muslims had blocked off the trade routes east, and Jerusalem was seen as a huge money-making cultural center.
Plus, the concept of the pilgrimage was a big business back then. Along the routes of pilgrimage to Jerusalem, owners had their shops to sell provisions to the pilgrims. It did become unsafe for pilgrims shortly before 1199, but lets not pretend that the Church at the time actually cared about people's spiritual wellbeing. This was a Church very different from what we have today, very much in the enterprise of making money and maintaining political power and influence. If Jerusalem ever belonged to anyone, it belonged to the Jews, not the Christians.
So really, it was never "ours," to take, at least not on a religious standpoint. This is not the point I want to discuss though, it's a notion that somehow, some religions are inherently "better" than others.
Now to a guy like me, that idea sounds pretty damn weird. How can we say that a certain belief structure about shit we can never, ever know for certain, or even perceive, is better than another? Lets take the three major Middle Eastern religions for example: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
|Look at what the Old Testament allows these asshats to do.|
There are also several verses in the Gospels in which Jesus claims that he's not there to bring peace, but "the sword," and "division." We can say "oh well he didn't mean that literally," but then that sort of tanks the whole argument against Islam and the Quran.
Why? Because there are many Muslim scholars out there who do the same thing. "We can't take the calls to violence literally." Just as we see the bible as a matter of interpretation, so do many Muslim scholars see the Quran. And what's funny is that there are tons of fundamentalist Christians today who read those verses and take them to be literally true. We would say that they're idiots, just as Muslim scholars say that radical Muslims are idiots.
And what about the Jews? Well, they don't believe the New Testament to be true, so all of the violence God supposedly called for in the OT is still game for them according to the logic of radicalism. This is the point where we have to realize that religion itself is flawed. It's filled with tons of contradictions, hateful messages, and straight up logical fallacies. And you know why? Because it's a creation of human beings.
God did not create religion: man created it to understand God. It might be influenced by God in some ways, but when you see all sorts of major world religions claiming to be directly influenced by God, doesn't it make you wonder if they're all somehow full of shit? Religion deals with spiritual matters, things that we cannot possibly perceive, know for certain, and thus cannot possibly prove. Religion it a creation of man, the purpose of which is to try to understand the unknowable.
Religion is inherently flawed, so how can we say that one is more flawed than the other, especially when we humans are flawed? Christians committed great horrors and attrocities on the peoples of the world. They saw people tortured during the Inquisition, they rounded up all the Jews in Jerusalem into a synagogue and burned it down during the first Crusade, and they enslaved the indigenous peoples of America. And they did it all because they believed it was commanded by God to do so.
We were lucky that the Reformation and the Renaissance came along. Had it not been for the ideas spawned during those periods, we'd probably still be stuck in the Middle Ages like so many Middle Eastern countries.