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The Crusades as a Religious Endeavor - Essay Example

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Summary
How can the Crusades be categorised as religious when the reasons behind them are a combination of factors, perhaps the least of which is religion How do the Crusades relate to present-day problems in the Middle East, the continuing conflict among Christians, Jews and Palestinians over Bethlehem and other Israeli-Palestine sites, the zeal of the jihad in their effort to make believers of everyone with little concern for human life, even their own Are there answers to be found as to what constitutes a religious war, and should the term 'religious war' be considered an oxymoron
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The Crusades as a Religious Endeavor

Download file to see previous pages... Islam not only posed the threat of a rival religion, they also posed the threat of a rival culture (Rosenthal, 2005). Cultural and political influence must therefore be considered necessary additions to religion as factors in the ensuing power struggle. A thousand years after the Crusades, little has changed, with Christianity, Islam and Judaism vying for control throughout, not just the area of the Byzantine Empire, but the world. Again, culture and politics must be considered as well as religion. In the name of democracy, President George W. Bush considers the war in Iraq a quest for freedom, but a large contingent in the Middle East are followers of Islam, and in this respect consider the effort by Western nations to change their culture and religion in the name of democracy to be unacceptable. Great Britain's Tony Blair has remained committed to Bush's actions in Iraq, but the people of Great Britain are more realistic than the Americans as to the economic, political and cultural aspects involved in the Iraqi War. Perhaps, by studying the results of the Crusades, its effect on different populations might be an indicator of the importance of world cultural studies. A study of the Crusades might offer a different viewpoint of the present wars in which religion happens to play a major role.
Pope Urban II as a Catalyst
Pope Urban II has been credited with initiating the Crusades. He was elected as Pope in 1088 but did not take the papal throne until six years later, having been in exile on the Island of St. Bartholomew. Political issues kept the Byzantine Empire in a state of flux, and Urban was faced with many difficulties. The timing of his ascension, however, was in his favor. Not only was he a truly religious person with a focus on sharing Christianity throughout the world, he was also charismatic, and when he broached the idea of a Crusade against the enemies of the Christian faith at a council meeting in Clermont in 1095, it turned out to be a matter of good timing and use of imagination on his part. He strongly appealed to the general public, and the Crusades became a major undertaking, encompassing several countries (Butler, 2003).
Appeals were sent out all through Europe urging people to take the cross. It must be noted, however, that one benefit of the Pope's appeal was to offset the propensity for violence within the Byzantine Empire__with individuals acting from personal and political motives__and the desire for economic expansion (Sloan, 2000). The Crusades gave society a common goal, and after a life of exile, upheaval and poverty, Pope Urban II finally was able to carry out his providence. The so-called "People's Crusade" was successful initially, but success was followed by failure, and a new crusade was begin in 1100, the second of eight formal crusades, and this army too was destroyed in 1101. For almost two hundred years, the Crusades affected a broad geographical and cultural area which carries through into the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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