- In recent days with the spread of Islamic extremism around the world, some have argued that Christianity has its own history of violence and they point to examples like the Crusades as evidence.
- The Crusades, however, which took place roughly 1,000 years ago, were very different from the Islamic extremism we see today and throughout history.
- First, the Crusades began as a reactionary response to Muslim aggression throughout N. Africa and the Middle East. The first 300 years of Islamic history was marked by military conquest and expansion, much of which was directed against Christians and Jews. Were it not for the Crusades, the Western World would not know the freedom and democracy we are blessed with today.
- Second, while historical examples of injustice and atrocities can be found in the Crusades, it’s important to remember that not everything done in the name of Christ or by so-called “Christians” is truly representative of the way of Jesus. When it comes to Islamic extremism however, we find numerous Koranic justifications for killing infidels and we see in the example of Mohammed a lifestyle of warfare and violence directed against his enemies.
- Third, the ultimate truth of Christianity isn’t diminished by examples of injustices carried out during the Crusades. While those are sad chapters in history, the truth of Christianity is based on the historical reality of the person of Jesus Christ and his resurrection from the grave. Jesus and his teachings are the standard by which Christianity should be judged.
For more information on the Crusades, Christianity, and Islam please check out the Apologetics Study Bible for Students, available in our online store.