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1 team_fukit  Feb 9, 2015 6:00:49pm

the “more educated” conservatives I know are citing a blog written by a conservative Christian medievalist (Thomas Madden) that reviews The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam (NYU. 2008) by Jonathan Riley-Smith.

The book basically offered nothing new, and argues the old Bernard Lewis line that since Muslims weren’t united during the Crusades there was no “Muslim consciousness” of the Crusades as a series of religious wars. Lewis argued that Middle Eastern consciousness of the Crusades was a product of anti-colonial Arab nationalism and was distorted by Western higher education (twentieth-century liberal denouncements of Western imperialism)… but the blogger (Madden) goes further to suggest that the attacks Christians made on the Holy Land weren’t economically motivated (that’s just a “liberal” interpretation) and were religiously justifiable because of the old “Christians in peril”/”just war” canard. It becomes for them a story of Christians sacrificing themselves to save other Christians. (apparently ignoring the Great Schism between East and West)

of course it ignores all of the recent research by cultural historians that’s shown how Christian discourse against Jews and Muslims had become more hateful and extremist throughout Christendom during that time.

to some extent I think Lewis had a point, and con pundits seem to not notice that the voices who speak for ISIS don’t complain about the Crusades. They are mad about more recent colonialist slights like Sykes-Pecot.

2 KerFuFFler  Feb 9, 2015 8:24:55pm

One of the problems with believing that “unsaved” souls are destined to suffer an eternity of brimstone laden torment is that it can be seen as justification for horrific torture and savagery in the name of converting people. So what if you flay people alive if those few hours of suffering can prevent eternal damnation!

People are, of course, free to believe whatever, but I think that the belief that everyone who does not believe as you do is damned is inimical to the acceptance of living in a diverse and democratic society.

3 Wendell Zurkowitz (slave to the waffle light)  Feb 10, 2015 1:34:14am

People who commit atrocities in the name of Christianity are NOT TRUE CHRISTIANS, remember? Whereas Muslims who live together in peace with others are NOT TRUE MUSLIMS.

End of debate.


4 Patricia Kayden  Feb 10, 2015 5:27:10am

Conservatives need to understand that whether they want to acknowledge it or not, the Bible has been used by Christians to justify oppression. Not just in this country, but also in South Africa.

President Obama’s Prayer Breakfast speech was on point. It’s interesting that the only people who are upset about his speech are the very ones who are now using the Bible to try to uphold anti-gay discrimination. They haven’t changed.

5 team_fukit  Feb 10, 2015 7:31:37am

re: #1 team_fukit

I should note that the “blogger” Dr. Thomas Madden is actually a respected historian generally but more so in right-wing circles. His recent book about medieval Venice and his biography of a Venetian merchant are both well-received.

But he’s also the guy who wrote that equivocating “the Inquisition was actually good” piece for National Review a decade ago… an argument that if applied to Nazis could probably go “Nazi anti-semitism is misunderstood, they started off with the good intention of relocating Jewish people to a new homeland in Madagascar… the plan just went haywire for a few years.”(/)

I’ve found Medievalists to be a pretty conservative lot who aren’t too sensitive to any historigraphical innovations past Braudel (not shading him, he was a master), but thankfully the tide is shifting. New archaeology and fresher cultural histories for the era have really been changing the game since the early 2000s.

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