Debate:Crusades... Good or Bad?

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Were the Crusades Good or Bad


This is no question of 'Good' or 'Bad'. It's a question of necessity. And it might be at the time to prepare for the next and maybe final crusade. It's about time to stand up and fight for your values. Currently Muslims all around the world are pressing us to accept their ridiculous values. If you do not agree it means flag burning and terrorism. So, killing people (even at war) is a bad thing, but it might be necessary for our own survival.--Jack Ketch 06:31, 27 March 2007 (EDT)

Wait… you're suggesting we kill people for burning a piece of cloth that we've attached value to? Really, why is flag burning by aggressive individuals who, might I add, are not American themselves, significant? I am also wary of advocating "fighting for ones values". Where can we reconcile violence with "love one another"? Liπus the Turbogeek(contact me) 09:09, 31 March 2007 (EDT)

Jack Ketch, are you being serious? because if so then that might have been the dumbest thing i have ever read.


Crusades are good only if they involve Indiana Jones.

The first crusade was fine. It was wrong of the Muslims to be killing pilgrims who traveled to Jerusalem. It was okay to fight back.

Reply: Only Against the guilty, As a Jew and a person extremely concerned with human rights my opinion is that: no matter for what reason the massive murder of civilians without cause other than religios orientation is sin. The Mass killings of Jews and Muslims are underplayed in todays textbook. Holy wars are fundamentally contradictory, as most religios scholars declare that killing is Wrong. History has tought us that murder is followed only by murder.

Today, if a nation took over Jerusalem and started killing Christians who wanted to visit it, we would definitely fight back. On the other hand, the second and fourth crusades were not right and have left an embarrassing scar on the Christian world to this day. I don't know whose idea it was to sack Constantinople, but it shows the true state of these other crusades. The third crusade was a slight exception to this general state of the later crusades, but its motives are debatable. I suppose that this whole argument really boils down to weather war is "right" or not. PhilipB 14:00, 13 December 2006 (EST)

I don't think either Billy or Tim really understand certain aspects of the crusades. First of all, Billy said there was no such thing as a just war, but really there are just reasons to fight. Not all the crusades were just but to say that no war is just is false. Billy quoted "Love thy neighbor as thy self." That's right but sometimes you need to choose the lesser of sins. Which is worse, to let the defenseless be slaughtered or to defend the defenseless? Either way you're violating the commandment. Which is why there is reconciliation. Double Edge

Reply: There haven't been any credible sources that state that Christian pilgrims were killed or harassed in the Holy Land. If there was some killing, it was greatly exagerated by Pope Urban III at the Council of Clermont

Comment: Of course it is sinful to fight a war for the wrong reasons, but I don't believe that every war is by definition sinful. As noted above, war is sometimes the lesser of two evils. But remember that it only takes one party to start a fight. When someone is determined to start a fight, we cannot avoid it- we can only decide, through our actions, whether it will be a war or a massacre. We know that evil will result whichever course we take, but it does not follow that both courses are sinful. The course which leads to the lesser evil- or the greater good- is the right course, and therefore is not sinful. I believe that we all sin, but I do not believe that God puts us in positions where it is impossible for us to choose a course that pleases him. (See I Corinthians 10:13)- Chris J

Well said Double Edge. War is never morally right, war is never good. God never intended for war, but sadly, man is in a fallen state and has turned away from this original intent. War has become a very real thing in the world, but sometimes it is the lesser of two evils. PhilipB 18:19, 14 December 2006 (EST)

I don't see anything wrong with having a Christian holy war. Making Jerusalaem safe for defenseless pilgrims was a worthy goal. The Crusades were good.

Mr. Schlafly

  • Mr. Schlafly, if you are not familiar, the crusades were not uniformly good. The fourth crusade was not an attempt to recapture the holy land, but instead was a profitable and disgraceful act in which Pope Innocent III ordered the peasants to Constantinople. The out-of-control Crusaders ruthlessly and systematically violated the city's holy sanctuaries, destroying, defiling and stealing all they could lay hands on- nothing was spared. It was said that the total amount looted from Constantinople was about 900,000 silver marks. For further reading please see: Phillips, The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, intro., xiii. SunFun2 09:26, 30 January 2008 (EST)

Tim said the pilgrimages were useless. But the crusaders weren't only defending pilgrims they were defending their fellow christians in Byzantium and many of the jews that lived in the Middle-East.

This is simply false. Many Jews died due to the crusades and many Christians in Byzantium were killed by the crusaders. Constantinople itself was sacked by the crusaders in 1204. The Jews were so harmed by the crusades that the standard Askenazi liturgy changed to remember the events(to give you an idea of how rare that is, the standard Orthodox liturgy didn't change at all after the Holocaust). JoshuaZ 14:58, 13 February 2007 (EST)

I believe that the first two crusades were in defense and justified and the second two were wrong. If you believe that all wars are sinful. Then a country cannot have a defense system or military at all. If someone were to try to kill and steal from your own family you would stop them by force or would you watch them get killed. This is the same thing with a war on a national level. Ultimatlely if you do not believe in war we would not have a nation. The United States had to have its own war for independence the Revolutionary war in which, many men died. The Ten Comandments says "Thy Shalt Not Kill", but are you not killing when you refuse to defend the defenseless? For example in War World II, if it were not for the Alled forces and the United States the entire Jewish people could have been destroyed. I guess when Hitler was taking over Europe you would sat back and watched because you are a pacifist. Deborah G.

--- Tim said that the Chrsitians should have been smart enough not to go somewhere where they might get killed, and that a country has a right to control its borders. ---

However, I would like to remind everybody that things were different back in the Middle-Ages, and that the first victamized christian pilgrims had no way of knowing about their impending doom. They couldn't just check the internet for the latest Middle Eastern travel information. ---

As for the Europeon reaction to such terrorism, how is it wrong? So your statement is implying that if your friends & family got intentionally mutilated by someone, that the only 'just' action would be to find a new travel desination? ---

Also all wars cannot be bad, if they were (are) then why does God often take sides? (see different Biblical wars, specifically involving the Old Testament) --- Joe B

If the European Christians were not willing to fight the expansionist Mohammedans, then the Mohammedans would have invaded Europe. Thanks to the Crusades, Europe was not destroyed. RSchlafly 15:27, 23 February 2007 (EST)

I guess I will weigh in here, Europe was not destroyed because of Charles Martel victory in southern France The Battle of Tours 732 AD (before the 1st crusade) and the defeat (almost destruction) of the Ottoman Empire's army at the gates of Vienna 1529 (300 years after the last Crusade) and the successful defense at Malta 1292 AD (the year after the last Crusade). None of these events were concerned with the Crusades. The sacking of Constanstiople advanced the movement of Islam by weakening a power bulwarking Europe. Europe did advance in technology by exposure to the middle east as it was the more advanced of the two areas in some ways. I am saying that this looks to be more of socio/ethic/religious broad movements to me rather than the Crusades per say.

Question for above statement- How did the Crusades expose Western Europe to science and technology? From what I remember, the Rennaisance really started to kick in around the late 1300's and early 1400's, the same time that Greek-Orthodox scientists, scholars, and artists were fleeing the Turkish onslought. Nobodies ever heard of El Greco? Born as Greek-Orthodox in Crete and famous Rennaisance painter who introduced new styles? Imagine who he inspired and taught, and spread rennaisance tradition, all thanks to the Turkish onslought and the collapse of the Byzantine Empire.

Out of curiosity, why do you call Muslims "Mohammedans"? We don't call Americans "Washingtonans" or Jewish people "Abrahamans". I'm not saying the term "Mohammedan" is necessarily incorrect. It used to be the popular term for Muslims in the West. But why do you think it is appropriate?--Aschlafly 01:38, 24 February 2007 (EST)

Abraham did not create the Jewish religion, and Washington did not create American political philosophy. Lots of movements are named after their original founder and leader. I use the term "Mohammedan" because it is a neutral and well-understood term, and is the most accurate term for the way I was using it. Mohammad believed in using military force to expand his empire, and so did his followers. That makes it Mohammedan. Sometimes people use the term "moslem" or "muslim" to refer to narrower religious goals. Whether those narrower religious goals include territorial expansion would just be a distraction from the point I was making. The term Mohammedan is an ordinary dictionary word, and there is no reason not to use it. RSchlafly 04:58, 24 February 2007 (EST)
There is much revisionism on this subject; let's review some of the meta-historical aspects at work.
Mohammadism arose in the vacuum of the collapse of the Roman Empire and was spread by force. However, pockets of non-Islamic and Christian communities remained throughout Asia Minor and the Middle East (as they do today). These non-Muslim's living in the midst of Islam were very oppressed, and thier lives were spared only by accepting dhimmi status. Trade relations between Europe and the East (India and China), which had been going down the silk route since ancient times was vital to all economies of ancient civilizations. The rise of Islam disrupted this.
The first four Crusades were an attempt to "roll back" the encroachment of Islam on Western Civilization, end the oppression of Christian minorities in Muslim territiories, and restore the disruption of trade with the East which had an impact on prosperity and living standards worldwide. Western commercial trading interests, traveling the silk route in caravans were often taken hostage, forced to convert to Islam or suffer a hideous death such as beheading at the hands of persons and groups we today would probably describe as terrorists. By the end of the last Crusade it was apparant the approach of direct confrontation and rollback over two centuries had failed. Nevertheless, the economic impact of reduced trade on living standards had been felt.
Christopher Columbus came up with an idea to restore trade with the East without direct military confrontation to gain access to the trade routes -- sail west to get east. Instead of confronting the problem head on, simply go around it. It was risky and had never been tried, but hopes of regaining the prosperity of old times fueled expectations. So Columbus was granted patronage by government in those desperate times to solve the threat of Islamic terrorists to Western commercial interests.
History records what happened was bigger than anyones expections; rather than simply restore commercial contact between the Western Europe, India, and China, Western Europe embarked on an economic expansion throughout the Western hemisphere for the next 500 years. This was rewarding to the posterity of Europeans for several generations, however the original cause of the problem -- the threat of Islam to the economic interests and prosperity of the rest of the world -- had never been dealt with, and was forgotten.

Please could you provide your sources for the "disruption of trade" leading to economic problems in Western Europe? My understanding of the First Crusade is that it was largely based no reports of abuse of pilgrims, though whether that abuse was remotely institutionalised or simply the activity of individuals and small groups acting on their own behalf (just as there were thieves and bandits in Western Europe) is certainly open to debate.
The First Crusade is also known as the Pauper's Crusade; IOW, because of the widespread economic disruption over several centuries which resulted with the rise of Islam, a vast army of unemployed with little hope under the status quo and nothing to lose answered the call for the Crusade. RobS 13:52, 28 March 2007 (EDT)
The Paupers Crusade (Or Peasants Crusade) was actually the first ever crusade. It failed miserably though, the remnants finally meeting up with the de facto first crusade, which comprised of some of the mightiest princes of France. Some historians have went so far as to call it the Frankish Crusade. As per the original question, the Crusades were horrible, an act of genocide impossible to defend. When the Christians took Jerusalem, the blood of the Muslims, Jews and Eastern Christians went as high as their ankles. It truly was a bloody atrocity, and trying to frame it any other way is intellectually dishonest. In fact, a discussion like this wouldn't be found anywere else but conservapedia, which I suppose in itself is a good thing. What most amazes me about this debate is that some people can actually claim it was a good thing -> Pope John Paul II himself apologised for what is broadly considered one of the greatest humanitarian disasters of all time. Graham 12:49, 25 September 2007 (EDT)
It was bad because it was bloody? All wars are bloody. I suggest that you give us some more substantive reasons, and put them under "Bad". RSchlafly 13:02, 25 September 2007 (EDT)
I"m not saying it was bad because it was bloody - I'm saying it was bad because of the horrible atrocities based on race. It was in effect a genocide (The sack of Jerusalem, that is) Graham 13:15, 25 September 2007 (EDT)

Crusades were good, and bad depending on context to me. anytime religious folk want to murder one another over thier imaginary friend, im glad i live in a country where that sort of behavior is looked down upon (for now.) its bad when, you know, it turns into embarassing things like witch burnings and such. if 2 people or persons agree to disagree and have a throwdown, then there should be a designated area for them to express themselves. like an entire country for them to go to so people can kill themselves over thier imaginary friend...oh wait. "live and let live" seems too simple ,and too complicated ant the same time. iif you want to ruin with religion, cool! then can you at least try not to involve anyone i care about in it. and in turn just respect the fact that "dont care/believe about religion/god" does not equal "im an uncaring heretic baby raping,puppy kicking scumbag" and leave me out of the quarrel.

So, to summarize thoughts... Thry needed to retake the land, also Pope wanted to show dignity, they needed Christian world(?)and land, Muslims were first to kill pilgrims, so crusades were good.. 2008 (EDT)


Contrary to what some people believe I believe there is no such thing as a just war because war in and of itself is unjust, calling it a “Holy War” doesn’t change anything in fact it makes it worse because you are lying to yourself and your comrades ( no war is holy, just like no war is just.) The reason we know that no war is holy or just is that it is not just or holy to kill people for personal gain( if that is just then why are there laws and commandments to follow?). War goes against our teachings because we learn from the Bible and Jesus’ teachings to treasure human life and to be compassionate towards each other. You are neither treasuring human life nor being compassionate when you are killing your neighbor. Billy M.=)

I Hate to say it but I Agree with Billy here, but not for the same reasons. You can't justify a war just to protect pilgrims. It was not necessary for Christians to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem. Unlike Islam Christianity does NOT require pilgrimages. Jerusalem was nothing more than a tourist attraction. The Christian Pilgrims should have been smart enough to not go there because they could be killed. There is no justification for the crusades as a "Holy War." Christianity is not a violent religion. We do not start wars just because some Christians get murdered, if we did, we would be at war with China and many other countries that persecute Christians. A Country has a right to control who comes into that country. The Muslims had a right to control who came to Jerusalem. This does not mean that they were justified in killing the Christians, but the Christians should not have assumed the right to go wherever they wanted regardless of the wishes of the people who live there. If Muslims all of a sudden decided that they wanted to make pilgrimages to America for some reason, and did not think that the American government should have a say in the matter, we wouldn't let them would we? There may have been justification for a political war against the Muslims, if they were a threat to the the European countries. Even if there was reason for a political war, the crusades went way too far, and there was no justification for a holy war. The Pope was wrong to promise spiritual benefits to those who fought in the war. He tricked many people into joining the crusades because they thought that it would make them go to heaven if they died. Also most of the crusades were only fought for ambition and plunder.


Although I do not believe that the crusades were good, I Agree with double edge on one point: There IS such a thing as a just war! Billy's circular reasonings (see above) do not change that.


Baaad!!!!!!! --Jess 10:09, 3 January 2007 (EST)

Thoroughly bad, and completely undesirable. Killing people because of their beliefs is not justifiable. Admittedly, the Muslims were in the wrong to kill pilgrims to Jerusalem, but the wholesale massacre of the Muslims was not a viable response. Sorry to tell you, but cannibalism is not justifiable except under very extreme circumstances. (Like, say, the Donner Party, not just because you're hungry). Geekman314(contact me) 15:53, 9 March 2007 (EST)

But the Crusades were not just motivated by peoples beliefs; Islam had disrupted East-West trade and thus people's living standards by not allowing passage of trading caravans down the silk route, taking hostage of traders and forcing conversions, or killing them outright. There were economic factors at work. RobS 16:13, 9 March 2007 (EST)
Killing people because you want more money. Yep, that's quite morally sound. Geekman314(contact me) 17:48, 10 March 2007 (EST)
Has nothing to do with money; eating food is an "economic factor". RobS 17:54, 10 March 2007 (EST)
It's completely possible to grow your own food, thus removing the necessity for trade routes to obtain it. Geekman314(contact me) 23:13, 10 March 2007 (EST)
The thing that makes humans different from animals is trade. As Adam Smith said, no one ever saw two dogs trade one bone for the other. As Smith said, in that rude state of socierty before the division of labor is implemented, a man endevors to supply all his own needs, when he's hungray, he goes to the forest to hunt, when his roof needs patching, he goes to woods for material, etc. But once society reaches an advanced state of development (yes, even ancient Eygpt was an advanced state of development), a person cannot supply the everyday needs he has, and is far more dependant upon the produce of other peoples labor.
Hence, trade was just as vital then for the economic needs of people and their survival as it is today. RobS 14:04, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Ummmm... Last time I checked, humans were actualy animals, being as they are mamals. AND, Animals do not farm, they scavenge. Learning ability and comprehension seperates us from other animals-eljawa
umm a scavanger eats road kill, and thus is unkosher. Not all animals are scavangers. As Moses said, "ye shall learn the difference between clean and unclean." RobS 23:45, 24 July 2007 (EDT)
That's it. I quit. I have more important things to do than try to bring people out of the middle ages. --Liπus the Turbogeek(contact me) 11:46, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
I'll put my retort to Rob's argument here when I have time, BTW, just so I'm not labeled as having run away because I have no defense. --Liπus the Turbogeek(contact me) 13:08, 6 April 2007 (EDT)
Well, okay, I guess I don't quit. Here's my retort:
Trade can take place within a single country. 'Nuff said. And don't get me started about the other claim… --Liπus the Turbogeek(contact me) 23:01, 6 April 2007 (EDT)


Christian theologians, notably Thomas Aquinas, developed a set of rules for deciding whether a war was a just war. Aquinas' formulation is part of the Catholic catechism.

Perhaps someone needs to write an article on Just War theory. Dpbsmith 14:09, 3 January 2007 (EST)

Thou shalt not kill. It seems pretty straight forward to me. Christians shouldn't use reconciliation as some kind of cop-out. It's an abuse of your religion if you know you're going out to do something bad and then stop at the church on the way back to confess.

'thou shalt not murder', actually, but you're still right - pretty much everything Jesus said was against war. Wikinterpreter


I've never heard of a situation where a bunch of barbarians burning, pillaging and raping everything on their path was a good thing...

The way I see it, the only way you could distinguish between the crusaders and the Mongols was by the colour of their skin.

Middle Man

Actually, they were the Moors. I agree with you, but it does your argument a disservice. Underscoreb 00:41, 8 November 2007 (EST)
Ah yes. The widespread rape that occured. Good point. Tell me that was a good thing! --Hacker(Write some code) 12:58, 19 April 2007 (EDT)
Yes indeed; so can we call this the neo-confederate view [1] and fascist [2] revisionism, condemning Sherman's march to sea and the Soviet atrocities during and after the Battle of Berlin. RobS 13:36, 19 April 2007 (EDT)
Why does this topic even exist? Is there really anyone out there who thinks it's OK to start a war (and conduct it in as brutal a way as possible) just because someone lives on land that you think you have some kind of historical claim to? EmanresU 16:06, 27 June 2007 (EDT)
Yes, the palestinians do, as do the supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah. Bohdan 16:08, 27 June 2007 (EDT)
Um, the Palestinians are in exactly the opposite situation: someone else has claimed the land they live on. Besides, only a small minority of Palestinians and even Hamas supporters are warlike, just as only a small minority of Americans, and in particular Republicans, are warlike, despite the words and actions of those they have elected. Anyway, this is irrelevant, you can't justify actions by events that took place centuries later. EmanresU 13:35, 12 July 2007 (EDT)
I get it. When someone holds a knife to your thoat and says "convert or die," you're supposed to convert. Duh. Why didn't I think of that? RobS 16:31, 27 June 2007 (EDT)
I don't believe the Muslims at the time where ordering people to convert or die in the Holy Land. There are many accounts of non-Muslims living peacfully throughout the Caliphates at the time. Granted, there were instances of violence against pilgrams during the reign of some of the more extremist caliphs, but that did no last for long. Jtime 16:49, 27 June 2007 (EDT)
Well let's see; about the 700 A.D. Christians were the majority in Asia Minor and Palestine, the Levant, and other areas outside Arabia, or more specifically today, the Arabian Penninsula. By 1100, they were close to extinct, as they are today. Hmmm, what caused this to happen in what really is (if the human species is 130K years old) a short period of time....hmmmm..... RobS 18:02, 27 June 2007 (EDT)
No one ever wants to answer that question, or what happened to the followers of zoroastrianism. Bohdan 18:28, 27 June 2007 (EDT)
In other words, two wrongs make a right. War is very rarely justified IMHO. EmanresU 13:35, 12 July 2007 (EDT)
If it wasn't for war, Blacks would be slaves, America would be bowing to a king and calling Senators "Lord", and we'd all be eating sauer kraut and sushi. RobS 15:26, 12 July 2007 (EDT)
Well, I obviously meant starting wars, and if there had never been a single war, it would probably have changed world history beyond recognition, so I don't think your predictions are valid, but I feel like a rant so I'll try to address them. :)
Blacks would be slaves? Slavery is still alive and well anyway, but most countries abolished the slave trade peacefully. Bowing to a king and calling senators "Lord"? How is this worse than bowing to a president (the current one was not democratically elected anyway) and calling senators "Senator"? I'm not quite sure what to say about your last comment; do you honestly think a war over which foods you get to eat (assuming you have sufficient nutritious food either way, anyway what's wrong with Sauerkraut and sushi?) is justified? EmanresU 15:24, 13 July 2007 (EDT)

The crusades were wrong. The killing of people is wrong. It is only oaky to kill when you have to defend someone who deserves defending. As for the religious aspect of the war, religion is a poor excuse to start killing someone. Religion not like natural resources or land, its just something that gives comfort to those who strive for something to believe in. Just because you a piece of land that some guy walked on a thousand years before is not a viable reason to start a war. by 1718

-The greed of the few outweighs the needs of the many ~ Anonymous

"What you do to the least of these, you do unto me".... I'd say a lot of crusaders did a lot of harm to "the least of those" they came across.... Pandeism 22:39, 14 March 2008 (EDT)


I can not say in my opinion that the Crusades were good or bad. I think they were both, and neither. I find it more fitting to label them as tragic. It is my belief that they should not have been carried out, or at the very least they should have been conducted differently, especially the later ones. However, the fact that they were carried out, then it is my belief that things would have been better had they been ultimately successful. That the West (and do not go deluding yourselves this was a religious thing, it was not, it was a political and cultural thing, religion was used to spur on the zealots on both sides...) should have retained the Holy Land, that the world would have been better for it, if we were to use today's world as a reference point (but then hindsight is always 20/20). The The powers that be bhind he Crusades should have left the Jews alone, and sacking Constantinople was absolute lunacy. But again, it was a different time, and you couldn't expect more from the common christian of that era to be hateful and virulent towards the "killers of Christ" nor could you expect any Pope of that era to abide any collusion or otherwise beneficial relations with "schismatics." So in a word, the whole affair was tragic.