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To: rob777
The problem is that the western "crusaders" sacked and looted areas controlled by eastern Christians of the Byzantine Empire, as well as engaging Islam.

Yes, they did. But the "crusaders" were all kinds of people, religious and irreligious, and many were mercenaries. So, yes, some crusaders took the opportunity to loot Byzantium's riches on the way to liberate Jerusalem. But others were more pure, more sincere.

My point is just that these broad descriptors are not useful. As the article proves, you can no more say "the crusaders" as a whole did this or that than you can say much about "Christianity" or "Islam" that would be accurate for all those the term ostensibly embraces.

Network anchors in post-terror America bandy about the word "Muslims" as if that word embraces a monolithic group; so the argument rages back and forth whether muslims are peaceful or whether they are vicious. The truth is, some are this, some are that.

So it would be most accurate to say something like "The crusades were, in general, a defensive response to Arab military expansion -- but there were groups on both sides who used their causes as cloaks for looting and pillaging among the innocent."

Thus, we can take the writer's point and defend the crusades in general, while taking your point and condemning specific acts.

6 posted on 11/02/2001 5:25:57 AM PST by Taliesan
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To: Taliesan
"My point is just that these broad descriptors are not useful. As the article proves, you can no more say "the crusaders" as a whole did this or that than you can say much about "Christianity" or "Islam" that would be accurate for all those the term ostensibly embraces.

Network anchors in post-terror America bandy about the word "Muslims" as if that word embraces a monolithic group; so the argument rages back and forth whether muslims are peaceful or whether they are vicious. The truth is, some are this, some are that.



I am in complete agreement with you here.



"So it would be most accurate to say something like "The crusades were, in general, a defensive response to Arab military expansion"



I am not as convinced that the expansion of the Saracen civilization was largely due to military agression. Again, read Rose Lane Wilder's book "Discovery of Freedom", or Paul Johnson's book "A History of Christianity", or Professor Henry Chadwick's book "A History of the Early Christian Church" In a nutshell, after Christianity became "Romanized" by accepting the authoratarian structire of the Roman Empire, dissenters were marginalized and persucuted. The main military conflict on Chriatianity's eastern border in the heyday of Byzantium was with the Persian empire. The Arabs rose up in the aftermath of the collaspe of the Persian empire and the weakening of Byzantium. A BIG problem for the empire of the Christian east, was the wholesale defection of Arians and Monophysitites, who were condemend by the 1st and 4th Ecumenical Councils. A large portion of these people were in the east, particularly the Monophysites. They were not militarily conqured by the Saracens, but willingly intergrated into that civilization, all the while keeping their Christian identity. (They still considered themselves Christian, regardless of the decision of the Church councils) Greek scientist and other intellectuals also defected because of the lack of intellectual freedom they experienced. In a nutshell, the rise of Mideval Islamic civilization can no more be simply be explained away by pointing to military conquest, than the rise of modern western civilization can be explained away by pointing to alleged "Imperialism".

Be all that as it may, it is ilrelevent to the modern context. Fundalmentalist Islam of TODAY is fully totalitarian and moderate Islam does not speak out against it. We do not need to revisit the crusades in order to point out that a signifigant portion of modern Islam is hostile to the values of an open society.
14 posted on 11/02/2001 6:11:23 AM PST by rob777
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To: Taliesan
Is that the back-pedal your foot's on?
50 posted on 11/03/2001 9:22:06 AM PST by garycooper
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