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The Crusades were military outfits that were related to Christians who engaged other religions and rival Christians in violent wars in the name of spreading the Christianity faith. Most of the battles were blessed by the Pope of medieval times. The battles were mostly concerned with the spreading of the Christianity faith and also the acquiring of holy sites. Most of the Crusade’s battle was directed at the Muslims but there were also the victims like the Jews, Orthodox Christians, and other minor religions. The Crusades were mainly located in the Middle East and Europe. Most of the modern times violences that are related to religion can be rooted in the Crusades (Stearns, p. 195).
This paper will focus on what the Crusades revealed about the medieval major religion that being the Muslims and the Christians. The Paper will also focus on the effects of the Crusades and how they have shaped modern religious trends.
Revelations of the Crusades
The Crusades had a lasting impact on both religions. The Crusades revealed that Christians from Europe were opportunistic and that they were engaged in the Crusades just because of the economic gains that were accrued to the Crusades. The Muslims developed an acute hatred of the Christians especially those from the continent of Europe. Although the first Crusade may have been genuinely based on faith, the following crusades were fueled by greed for the expansion of the territory. The Christians who were involved in the Crusades had their blessings from the Pope himself and this leaves a lot of doubt on whether the Christian faith was really based on the principles of Jesus Christ on issues concerning stealing, love of your neighbor, and honesty (Stearns, p. 216).
The Crusades also revealed that although the Muslims seemed to be United in faith, they were not united politically. There were a lot of civil wars and assassinations involved in the Islam communities that were involved in the Crusades. This lack of Unity made the Muslims feel threatened from all corners and hence they adopted the policy of turning in on to themselves. This created a culture of sensitivity and defensive attitude which has continued to manifest itself with time. This culture has also evolved as the world evolved and hence the modern state of affairs in the Muslim countries, where these countries are considered very defensive and overly sensitive to international matters (Wallbank, p. 396).
Effects of the Crusades
One of the effects of the Crusades was the initiation of a rival culture between the two major religions in the world. The Muslims could not trust the Christians in any way and hence developed a hostile attitude towards them. The Muslims are justified in their stand because the Christians were mainly fueled by greed and the need to expand their territories (Wallbank, p. 426).
On the positive side, the Crusades opened up new avenues of trade and also created the basis on which the foundation of nation-states was initiated in the European continent. Trade rose because the need to transport the armies across the continent necessitated the initiation of trade with other communities in the continent of Europe and hence there was developed a thriving trading ground (Stearns, p. 254).
Whether the Crusades were right or wrong is a matter of opinion but it is important to note that they had adverse effects on the major religions of the world. It is negative in the light that many lives were lost and there was gross exploitation by the Christians to other religions especially the Muslims. They are also responsible for the acute rivalry that is witnessed between the two religions even in modern times. However, the Crusades opened up new doors of development and trade and these have been the hallmarks of modern civilization. So in the real sense, the positivity or negativity of the Crusades is a matter of personal opinion (Wallbank, p. 456).
- Stearns, P. (1987) Documents in World History Vol. 1: The Great Traditions – From Ancient Times to 1500. New York, Harper and Row.
- Wallbank, Walter & Taylor, Alastair M. (1949). Civilization: Past and Present Vol. 1. From the beginning of civilization through the discovery and conquest of the New World, Paleolithic Era to 1650 AD. Chicago, Scott, Foresman.