Thursday, January 17, 2008

Kingdom of Heaven - How Christians and Muslims Differ

I am watching Kingdom of Heaven, a movie about the crusades. It is an entertaining flick and there are some interesting things you can take from it. One point I think that they try to make is that Christians and Muslims are not too unalike in using their religion to justify killing those of a different faith. Many scenes and dialogue show the very real attitude of the day that God wills the killing of Muslims and that somehow it can cleanse your sins. The Muslims of the day also believed the same. The one big difference is that we (Christians) don't believe or practice that, the Muslims do.

Is it because Christians are from the west and our culture is superior? Not quite. The difference is that the vast majority of people could not read, so they could not read the bible. Those that could, could not read Latin or Greek. This meant that the church alone had access to the Holy Scriptures. They used it for power and to pervert the Word into whatever would suit their needs, such as a crusade. When Martin Luther came and translated the bible into German, and then when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, the common man could read the true message of the bible, which goes against the crusade mentality.

For Muslims, it doesn't matter how many people read the Koran, in fact it may even be worse the more that read it. Their Holy book calls for the killing and forced conversion of the infidel. They can't hide it and they can't change it. That is why they are stuck in the Dark Ages. Christian people can do bad things and Muslims can do bad things. If Christians follow the bible, they won't do bad things. If Muslims follow the Koran, then there will be a bloodbath.


Joseph said...

You're wrong about the Crusades, and about medieval society. Far more people were educated in the Middle Ages then you are claiming. Religious orders offered free schools to peasant children throughout the medieval era. Most people had at least a rudimentary knowledge of Latin, and most people spoke several languages. During the Crusades, knights from Italy and France were able to talk with one another. In addition, medieval Christians were highly familiar with the Bible. Although books were rare because they had to be hand copied, medieval Christians were constantly contemplating biblical stories. Medieval townspeople would put on dramatic performances of biblical tales and they made art dealing with biblical topics for their cathedrals.

The Crusades were about defense. The Muslims had conquered 2/3 of the Christian world, and the Crusades were simply a response to that. St Bernard himself noted that were there any other way to defend Christendom from Islam, a peaceful solution would be better. But Islam was far too warlike to be dealt with any other way.

Luther introduced theology that was far more violent than anything prior to his writing. He himself thought that the state should punish religious criminals. "The sword of the state should be bloody at all times", he wrote. He thought that the state should regulate the church and the clergy.

Joseph said...

Let me also add, my friend, that there is absolutely nothing historical about Kingdom of Heaven. I am a Crusades historian and the film is utter rubbish, total fantasy.

jrchaard said...

For a time period of such knowledge and biblical study, where did these men find in the new testament to kill and conquer their enemy. Christ called for loving your enemy. Certainly not a war of aggression. Regardless, my post stands. The bible calls for no such action as the crusade. The Koran is quite different

Joseph said...

That's your interpretation of the Bible. Christians have maintained a tradition of just war for centuries. That's exactly the theory behind the Crusades, which were defensive. At any rate, the Bible didn't even exist among Christians for the first 400 years of Christianity. Christianity is not a faith based merely on a text, it is an apostolic tradition handed down from the original followers of Christ who started the first churches in Rome, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, etc.