Religious Justification for Warby Rit Nosotro
Change Over Time essay
In the West, how did the cause for “Just War” shift from religion as being the only just cause for going to war, to religion being the only unacceptable cause for going to war?
Summary: As the Roman Catholic Church gained political power from Charlemagne up through the Crusades, the main just cause for a war was a religious one. However, following the religious wars set in motion by the protestant reformation, Christianity began to reform culture as it spread across Europe. As secularism gained a foothold in the West, war was decreasingly waged for religious reasons. Conversely, in the Islamic world, aggressive calls for Jihad (Holy War) against Jewish Israel and Christian America have brought on defensive wars against well organized Muslim attackers and those Islamic states that support them.
Religious war is as old as Cain killing Able out of jealousy of an acceptable sacrifice. Why do people go to war? In the times of the Biblical Judges where “everyone did as he saw fit”, battles and blood feuds raged. Superstitions and animism lent religious support for the pagan people in Europe to be in near constant warfare up to the Roman conquest. After the fall of Rome, the subsequent prideful warrior cultures went to war for a host of varying reasons that stemmed from religious conflict, greed, revenge or punitive measures.
Yet, despite this chaos, the Roman Catholic Church continued winning converts throughout Europe - and not a moment too late. The violent advance of Islam across northern Africa, up through Spain was finally checked in 732 in France. By 800 AD, Charlemagne was the first king to be crowned by the Pope and in the process cause his entire region to accept Catholic doctrines. From the time Charlemagne had been sanctioned by the pope to the strong papal servants of Ferdinand and Isabella, royalty had used its resources to take back the Iberian peninsula from the Muslims. After seven centuries of religious war the turning point came in 1492 when Christians finally took back Granada from Muslims.
In the midst of that reconquest, Vikings had raided everywhere their boats and swords could reach. But they too accepted Christianity. When the Normans landed in France, they settled down and took the religion of the land as their own. Yet feudalistic battles were often the norm rather than the exception. The Pope outlawed fighting during certain days of the week in what he called God’s Truce and God’s Peace.1 Given the culture of knights trained for battle, with no just cause to exercise their deadly skills, it was only a matter of time before the stage was set for a broader defensive war against the Muslims who had taken control of the Holy Land from Christian settlers and pilgrims.
Perhaps the pope was truly grieved at the Muslims who had invaded the Holy Land. Or perhaps the Pope saw his political solution to stop the in-fighting of Europeans, and simultaneously expand Christendom, and thus his power.2 Pope Urban II launched the first crusade in 1095. Monarchs and people from every nation and place in Europe answered this call to a holy war for the Holy Land. His priests preached of the great rewards in heaven for those who would defend the place of Christ’s birth.3 Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages and veneration of relics was a strong force in Roman Catholicism.
When the Catholic Crusades got out of control, with the sacking of Constantinople, the massacring of Jews and Muslims, and eventually being driven from the Middle East in disgrace, the wars of Europe took a different twist. Although wars were mostly political struggles, they almost always included religious overtones. By the mid 16th century, when the Reformation took place, the Catholic rulers began to wage war on those who were Protestants. For the next two hundred or so years there was a constant struggle in Europe between Protestants and Catholics.
After America became independent from the Anglican Church, and the French Revolution rebelled against religion in response to the centuries4 of French Catholic attacks against Huguenots on warfare in France, the West lost the taste for religion as a reason for war. During the American Civil War both sides claimed the moral high ground regarding slavery and obedience to governments established by God.
The Imperial wars of Britain were all motivated by profit. Although many Christians in Britain felt that they had a moral right, even obligation under "The White Man's Burden", to rule the world, they didn’t claim their wars to be primarily religious ones. In fact, it was pressure from Christians in parliament that brought an end to Britain's greed driven Opium Wars against China. Within the twentieth century the west fought WWI and WWII, both which were propagandized as moral duties, but not as religious wars. Although Reagan won the Cold War against the "Evil Empire" of the USSR, only a minority viewed it as a struggle between godless communism and lovers of God. The only truly religious wars were fought were between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, in the Iran-Iraq war that killed at least 10 million, and the repeated failed attempts by Muslim nations to wage genocide against the Jewish state of Israel. Islamic Jihad, or religious holy war, continues to be a theme that targets not just the Christians of Darfur in Sudan, and the "great Satan" of America, but also moderate governments in Muslim dominated countries. Even Saudi Arabia has Muslim Terrorists on their list of most wanted criminals. President Bush proclaimed that Christians are "not at war with Islam" even through nearly 100% of global terrorism is implemented by Muslims.
The schools of the west have denounced the atrocities committed in the Crusades, and taught that reason is above religion. This has become so indoctrinated into the western culture that when attacked by Islamic terrorists (9/11), the response in America was the promotion of Islam in public education and more tolerance curriculum. Religious war has moved from the point that the only acceptable war was one with a Pope’s blessing, to become the most despicable type of war - as far as the West is concerned. Thus, the west reached the point where the only reason which is totally unjustifiable for going to war is a religious one, but this has brought it into awkward conflict when continuously attacked by Muslim terrorists. In 2003, US General Boykin, was clobbered by the U.S. media and the world at large for saying that Islamic militants hate "America because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christians. ... And the enemy is a guy named Satan.”5
Muslims have used religion as a means for expansion since the 7th century, fighting jihads as they entered new lands. Muslim expansion continues under the flag of their "peaceful" religion. Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are religious driven organizations that find government support from Iran, Syria, and Sudan.
The Hebrews had gained their homeland through following God’s orders to invade a country and kill the sinful inhabitants who followed a religion that required the burning of infants on the arms of Baal. Cortez felt justified in putting an end to the Aztec religion of human sacrifice, but it was small pox that wiped out the that culture of death. According to secular historians, perhaps the most brutal religious based slaughter in the history of the world occurred when Islam overran northern India and put to tortuous death millions of Hindu idol worshipers. Islamic Iran pursues the nuclear bomb with the stated purpose of wiping Jewish Israel off the map. The fact of religious based war continues despite the wishful thinking of atheistic and liberal politicians who would rather put their head in the sand and pretend that humanity has evolved beyond religious causes for war. The millenniums old battle between good and evil, light and darkness, did not end just because of the vogue of political correctness and post modern revisionist history. The US army can only slow, not stop, Islamic terrorism by using guns more than ideas. In an ideological religious war, the weapons used against the west are manufactured in mosques, websites, and Islamic schools. The pen is still more powerful than the sword. Refusing to acknowledge the religious basis of the "War on Terror", will be to eliminate the most effective weapon - Truth.
1. Which king was the first to be crowned by the Pope?
b) Henry VIII
c) Louis XIV
d) Elvis or B.B.
2. Knights readily answered the call to a Crusade, because they were frustrated by
a) Vikings becoming Christians
b) Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda, trying to bomb Israel off the map.
c) repetitive days of "God’s Peace" or "God’s Truce"
d) America's liberal left blaming American intolerance for the 9/11 attacks
3. Which two religious groups warred in Europe following the Crusades?
a) British Catholics and Irish Protestants
b) Sunnis and Shintos
c) Roman Catholics and French Huguenots
d) Environmental Lutherans and Gaia Methodists
4. What is the best example of the modern opposition of religious support for
a) The French refusal to help the Iraqis become a viable democracy.
b) The way Obama claimed Bush went to war for the wrong reasons.
c) The way the media criticized General Boykin for his statements.
d) The Iman's plea for more children to put on bomb belts against Israeli citizens.
1.a 2.c 3.c 4.c
1 Dr. Michel Calvo. “Sovereignty to G-d? Legal Analysis and Implications” October 17, 2000, <http://www.ldolphin.org/psalm2.html>(September 23, 2004)
2John Sloan, “Crusades” <http://www.xenophongi.org/milhist/medieval/crusade.htm> (September 23, 2004)
3Gerhard Rempel, “The Crusades” <http://historymedren.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=historymedren&zu=http://mars.acnet.wnec.edu/~grempel/courses/wc1/lectures/21crusades.html> September 27, 2004
4 C.T. Iannuzzo, “The Wars of Religion” <http://www.lepg.org/wars.htm> September 27, 2004.
5 “Rumsfeld Defends General Who Commented on War and Satan” Friday, October 17, 2003 <http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/10/16/rumsfeld.boykin.ap/> September 27, 2004.
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