APOLOGETICS315 INTERVIEWS Professor Clay Jones in regards to church history and the Crusades. He deals with some myths and corrects many historical errors in understanding. Apologetics315 interviews can be uploaded via i-Tunes for free:
Assistant Professor of Apologetics, Biola University
Dr. Clay Jones (D. Min and M.Div) is Assistant Professor of Apologetics in the graduate program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University. For several years, Jones was the host of “Content for Truth,” a weekly, call-in-talk radio program (nationally syndicated through the USA Radio Network), which sought to provide a forum for how to think Christianly about issues of the Bible, theology and culture. He has also authored Prepared Defense, an interactive apologetics software program, along with diverse encyclopedia articles on theodicy, evil, and suffering; journal articles on why God ordered the destruction of the Canaanites, and has a forthcoming book, Why God Allows Evil. Dr. Jones has been on the pastoral staff of two large churches and continues to speak widely on why God allows evil; how to think about the Crusades, Inquisitions, Witch-hunts, etc.; the glory that awaits the Christian in heaven; and related topics. (His blog can be found here: CLAYJONES.NET)
I deal — somewhat — with the beginning of the crusades and their cause in an older post, reproduced below:
This is from a philosophy 101 class my son and I took at a local community college. Francis Collins, one of America’s leading scientists and head of the Genome Project for America – one of the most important scientific programs of our day, stepped outside his expertise and tried to don on a cap of a historian at times. Here is my critique of a portion of Collins book for class:
b. Faith in God is harmful, since “throughout history terrible things have been done in the name of religion” (p. 39).
Another favorite of the skeptic. Here Collins drops the ball in my opinion. I will critique two aspects of his work: i. his understanding of Islam, and ii. His understanding of comparative crimes.
i. Collins is getting out of his genre a bit. If I met him I would probably hand him two books by Robert Spencer. Quickly, before I quote Spencer. Muhammad personally ordered (and partook in) the slitting of 900 throats of men, women, and children. Jesus, when Peter cut off the Roman soldiers ear, told Peter to put the sword away and healed the soldiers ear.
The nine founders among the eleven living religions in the world had characters which attracted many devoted followers during their own lifetime, and still larger numbers during the centuries of subsequent history. They were humble in certain respects, yet they were also confident of a great religious mission. Two of the nine, Mahavira and Buddha, were men so strongminded and self-reliant that, according to the records, they displayed no need of any divine help, though they both taught the inexorable cosmic law of Karma. They are not reported as having possessed any consciousness of a supreme personal deity. Yet they have been strangely deified by their followers. Indeed, they themselves have been worshipped, even with multitudinous idols.
All of the nine founders of religion, with the exception of Jesus Christ, are reported in their respective sacred scriptures as having passed through a preliminary period of uncertainty, or of searching for religious light. Confucius, late in life, confessed his own sense of shortcomings and his desire for further improvement in knowledge and character. All the founders of the non-Christian religions evinced inconsistencies in their personal character; some of them altered their practical policies under change of circumstances.
Jesus Christ alone is reported as having had a consistent God-consciousness, a consistent character himself, and a consistent program for his religion. The most remarkable and valuable aspect of the personality of Jesus Christ is the comprehensiveness and universal availability of his character, as well as its own loftiness, consistency, and sinlessness.
Not to mention that just saying the Crusades were wrong is almost jeuvinile. Robert Spencer talks a bit about the lead up to Christendom finally responding — rightly at first, woefully latter.
The Third Crusade (1188-1192). This crusade was proclaimed by Pope Gregory VIII in the wake of Saladin’s capture of Jerusalem and destruction of the Crusader forces of Hattin in 1187. This venture failed to retake Jerusalem, but it did strengthen Outremer, the crusader state that stretched along the coast of the Levant.
The almost Political Correct myth is that the crusades were an unprovoked attack by Europe against the Islamic world. I can see with quoting Tillich and Bonhoeffer, although worthy men to quote, they are typically favorites of the religious left. Robert Schuller and Desmond Tutu on the back of the cover of Collins first edition are also dead give a ways. So PC thought is entrenched in Collins general outlook on religion and life. Continuing:
The conquest of Jerusalem in 638 stood as the beginning of centuries of Muslim aggression, and Christians in the Holy Land faced an escalating spiral of persecution. A few examples: Early in the eighth century, sixty Christian pilgrims from Amorium were crucified; around the same time, the Muslim governor of Caesarea seized a group of pilgrims from Iconium and had them all executed as spies – except for a small number who converted to Islam; and Muslims demanded money from pilgrims, threatening to ransack the Church of the Resurrection if they didn’t pay. Later in the eighth century, a Muslim ruler banned displays of the cross in Jerusalem. He also increased the anti-religious tax (jizya) that Christians had to pay and forbade Christians to engage in religious instruction to others, even their own children.
Brutal subordinations and violence became the rules of the day for Christians in the Holy Land. In 772, the caliph al-Mansur ordered the hands of Christians and Jews in Jerusalem to be stamped with a distinctive symbol. Conversions to Christianity were dealt with particularly harshly. In 789, Muslims beheaded a monk who had converted from Islam and plundered the Bethlehem monastery of Saint Theodosius, killing many more monks. Other monasteries in the region suffered the same fate. Early in the ninth century, the persecutions grew so severe that large numbers of Christians fled to Constantinople and other Christians cities. More persecutions in 923 saw additional churches destroyed, and in 937, Muslims went on a Palm Sunday rampage in Jerusalem, plundering and destroying the Church of Calvary and the Church of the Resurrection.
A pastor once made mention to me that to paint a picture of the crusaders in a single year in history is like showing photos and video of Hitler hugging children and receiving flowers from them and then showing photos and video of the Allies attacking the German army. It completely forgets what Hitler and Germany had done prior.
While the church withheld the Bible from most, so the misuse of it wasn’t the case as much as a drive for political supremacy – and in fact was the catalyst for the Reformers and pre-Reformers getting copies of it into the laities hand so they could actually read what the Bible said on such matters – the response by the West’s only large organization to the Islamo-Fascism of the day was in fact a net-good. (Actually showing that God can bring good out of the bad.) This response may have been carried out wrongly at times engendering people’s fears and prejudices, however, the Bible played no role in these fears or prejudices. Mainly because the people involved in these atrocities had no access to a Bible. That aside, the totality of the Crusades [good and bad] was a net moral good for our planet and shows God’s providence over the course of history.
Woodcrest Worldwide Church (2015) – We are honored to have a few of the top philosophers and apologists of our time with us this weekend. We have a different speaker from Biola University at each service on the Columbia South campus!
As an aside, a great post to include in these studies is over at WINTERY KNIGHT and responds to these four myths:
Myth #1: The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.
Myth #2: Western Christians went on crusade because their greed led them to plunder Muslims in order to get rich.
Myth #3: Crusaders were a cynical lot who did not really believe their own religious propaganda; rather, they had ulterior, materialistic motives.
Myth #4: The crusades taught Muslims to hate and attack Christians.
There was nothing wrong, in principle, with the Crusades. They were an appropriate (if belated and badly managed) response to the conquest of the Holy Land by Islam. Did marauding 11th century armies inevitably commit outrages? They certainly did. In fact, that still happens today. But the most unfortunate thing about the Crusades is that they failed. (Powerline)
9 Total Crusades from 1095-1272 A.D;
The crusades lasted about 177 years;
About 1-million deaths – this includes: disease, the selling into slavery, and died en-route to the Holy land;
About 5,650 deaths a year.
His rise to power in 1927 lasted until his death in 1953;
Stalin’s reign was 26-years;
Middle road estimates of deaths are 40-to-50-million;
That clocks in at about 1,923,076 deaths a year.
(Some put the death toll per-week by Stalin at 40,000 every week — even during “peacetime”)
ISLAM (killing Hindus)
160,000 a year.
(As an aside… about 5.714 [to be clear, that is 5-point-714 people] people were killed a year by the Spanish Inquisition if you take the highest number over its 350-year long stretch if you use the leading historian on the topic.)
I have some maps to help make my case… and we know that conversion in these days was due to duress, like it is today. This first map puts a time-table to the 3-caliphates:
Around this same time (and you mentioned this in the convo I viewed) this was going on:
▼ The Third Crusade (1188-1192). This crusade was proclaimed by Pope Gregory VIII in the wake of Saladin’s capture of Jerusalem and destruction of the Crusader forces of Hattin in 1187. This venture failed to retake Jerusalem, but it did strengthen Outremer, the crusader state that stretched along the coast of the Levant. (The Politically incorrect guide to Islam-and the Crusades, by Robert Spencer, pp. 147-148.)
…the Crusades were a defensive war, not an aggressive grab for land and loot. In fact, crusading was an expensive and costly endeavor. After the success of the First Crusade nearly all the Crusaders went home. Virtually none of them recovered the cost of crusading. If one wanted to get rich, crusading was definitely not the best route to make it happen. Many atrocities occurred in the Crusades.
Understandably, war can bring out the worst in people. Even during World War II some American soldiers committed atrocities, but this does not mean the war was conducted so soldiers could commit crimes. [me: nor does this mean the whole of the meta-good of the conflict is undone] (Sean McDowell)
[Like the video says: Islamic jihad was enslaving Kafirs, the Crusaders were freeing them — key distinction.]
The almost Political Correct myth is that the crusades were an unprovoked attack by Europe against the Islamic world are dealt with in part:
▼ The conquest of Jerusalem in 638 stood as the beginning of centuries of Muslim aggression, and Christians in the Holy Land faced an escalating spiral of persecution. A few examples: Early in the eighth century, sixty Christian pilgrims from Amorium were crucified; around the same time, the Muslim governor of Caesarea seized a group of pilgrims from Iconium and had them all executed as spies – except for a small number who converted to Islam; and Muslims demanded money from pilgrims, threatening to ransack the Church of the Resurrection if they didn’t pay. Later in the eighth century, a Muslim ruler banned displays of the cross in Jerusalem. He also increased the anti-religious tax (jizya) that Christians had to pay and forbade Christians to engage in religious instruction to others, even their own children. Brutal subordinations and violence became the rules of the day for Christians in the Holy Land. In 772, the caliph al-Mansur ordered the hands of Christians and Jews in Jerusalem to be stamped with a distinctive symbol. Conversions to Christianity were dealt with particularly harshly. In 789, Muslims beheaded a monk who had converted from Islam and plundered the Bethlehem monastery of Saint Theodosius, killing many more monks. Other monasteries in the region suffered the same fate. Early in the ninth century, the persecutions grew so severe that large numbers of Christians fled to Constantinople and other Christians cities. More persecutions in 923 saw additional churches destroyed, and in 937, Muslims went on a Palm Sunday rampage in Jerusalem, plundering and destroying the Church of Calvary and the Church of the Resurrection. (The Politically incorrect guide to Islam-and the Crusades, by Robert Spencer, pp. 122-123.)
One person (my pastor at the time) said to paint a picture of the crusaders in a single year in history is like showing photo’s and video of Hitler hugging children and giving flowers to them and then showing photo’s and video of the Allies attacking the German army. It completely forgets what Hitler and Germany had done prior.
This second map show there were raids, violence, and rape that reached close to Paris itself:
So far from the Crusades being an “out-of-the-blue” event, it was people in the West stopping the Muslim horde. Literally! Here is a 35-minute interview with Professor Clay Jones on the Crusades:
As well as a 6-minute section where Michael Medved was interviewing Robert Spencer. About half way through a call is taken… your typical “party-line”
Below is a comparison I used for a class at church comparing Muhammad and Jesus:
Not only that, but to say that the Crusades were immoral IS to borrow from the Judeo-Christian ethic. I make this point in a recent question/challenge sent to me by an atheist which I posted on here.
There is nothing in the pantheist worldview (Buddhism, Hinduism, Janism, Taoism, etc) which can account for people saying, “you [or ‘the church’] ought not have done that.” In fact, when I updated my chapter to reflect a recent event, I said this:
It is laughable that some defend this doctrine tooth and nail. However, if really believed, they would come to realize there is no real good or evil! The Inquisitions, the Mumbai terror killings at the hands of Muslims, as examples, were merely the outgrowth of the victim’s previous karmic lives. Therefore, when those here defend karmic destiny in other posts speak of the horrible atrocities committed by religion, they are not consistently living out their philosophy of life and death, which are illusory. The innocent victims of the Inquisitions, terror attacks, tsunamis, or Crusades then are merely being paid back for something they themselves did in a previous life. It is the actions said people did prior that creates much of the evil upon them now. So in the future when people who are believers in reincarnation say that Christianity isn’t what it purports to be because of the evil it has committed in the past, you should remind them that evil is merely an illusion (maya – Hinduism; sunyata – Buddhism) to be overcome, as karmic reincarnation demands.
And there is nothing in evolutionary naturalism either to denote an action being immoral. As the first of the links above clearly show. Only if you have the Judeo-Christian God in play do you have such a case to make. In other words you have to assume that which you wish to show false.
One last note on this differing direction of the convo. The Bible does not teach the horrible practices that some have committed in its name.
It is true that it’s possible that religion can produce evil, and generally when we look closer at the details it produces evil because the individual people [Christians] are actually living in rejection of the tenets of Christianity and a rejection of the God that they are supposed to be following. So it [religion] can produce evil, but the historical fact is that outright rejection of God and institutionalizing of atheism (non-religious practices) actually does produce evil on incredible levels. We’re talking about tens of millions of people as a result of the rejection of God. For example: the Inquisitions, Crusades, Salem Witch Trials killed about anywhere from 40,000 to 80,000 persons combined (World Book Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Americana), and the church is liable for the unjustified murder of about (taking the high number here) 300,000-women over about a 300 year period. A blight on Christianity? Certainly. Something wrong? Dismally wrong. A tragedy? Of course.
Millions and millions of people killed? No. The numbers are tragic, but pale in comparison to the statistics of what non-religious criminals have committed); the Chinese regime of Mao Tse Tung, 60 million [+] dead (1945-1965), Stalin and Khrushchev, 66 million dead (USSR 1917-1959), Khmer Rouge (Cambodia 1975-1979) and Pol Pot, one-third of the populations dead, etc, etc. The difference here is that these non-God movements are merely living out their worldview, the struggle for power, survival of the fittest and all that, no evolutionary/naturalistic natural law is being violated in other words (as non-theists reduce everything to natural law — materialism). However, and this is key, when people have misused the Christian religion for personal gain, they are in direct violation to what Christ taught, as well as Natural Law. (A condensing of Gregory Koukl’s, “The Real Murderers: Atheism or Christianity?“)
In fact, A recent comprehensive compilation of the history of human warfare, Encyclopedia of Wars by Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod documents 1763 wars, of which 123 have been classified to involve a religious conflict. So, what atheists have considered to be ‘most’ really amounts to less than 7% of all wars. It is interesting to note that 66 of these wars (more than 50%) involved Islam, which did not even exist as a religion for the first 3,000 years of recorded human warfare. Even the Seven Years’ War, widely recognized to be “religious” in motivation, noting that the warring factions were not necessarily split along confessional lines as much as along secular interests.
The above paragraph is an adaptation of sorts from these two sources:
Alan Axelrod & Charles Phillips, Encyclopedia of Wars, Facts on File, November 2004
John Entick, The General History of the Later War, Volume 3, 1763, p. 110.
John Quincy Adams is worth reading at greater length on the topic, as he provides some insight into what has been going on in Iraq now that Obama has prematurely removed our troops:
▼ In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar [i.e., Muhammad], the Egyptian, […..] Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST. – TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE…. Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. The war is yet flagrant … While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men.
Winston Churchill deserves a longer hearing too:
▼ “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.”
Islam has not changed over the centuries. All that has changed is that never before have we been ruled by people who take Islam’s side against us. That is why the Marines were created in fact… the Barbary Wars. “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (ECC 1:9). While other religions has entered modernity and rejected claims by men to get closer to their founding doctrine. Like what Jesus ACTUALLY teaches versus the guy in the pulpit… which was why it was illegal to own a Bible in parts of Italy all the way to 1870. Those in charge didn’t want the words of their Founder to be read.
People like Luther and Calvin read it, and read it well.