The Crusaders: Muslims vs. Christians

Osama bin Laden said of the American response to 911 it is a “new crusade and Jewish campaign led by the big crusader Bush under the flag of the cross.”

Christianity is often criticized for the Crusades involving the Muslim world. A review of some of what preceded and precipitated the Crusades might put them in a different light. A chronology of history reveals Islam struck first in the Middle Ages as Osama did in America.

Jerusalem has been the center for much of the conflict. Byzantine Emperor Heraclius captured it from the Persians in 630 AD. The first Muslim-Christian clash over the territory resulted in the Muslim conquest and banishment of the Byzantines (Christians). They began work immediately on a mosque on the temple mount.

Exultant in victory the Muslim armies soon conquered Armenia and Egypt in the 640s. By 711 they had control of north Africa and parts of Europe. By 712 they penetrated deep into Spain killing the king. They crossed the Pyrenees and invaded parts of France. They were stopped at the battle of Tours.

By 717 they besieged Constantinople for the first of seven times. It finally fell in 1453. Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica fell to the Muslims and provided launching ports for assaults against Italy. By 846 they were pillaging outlying areas of Rome. By the tenth century the tide began to turn. The Byzantines began to counterattack and regain some territory. By 1000 most of the Holy Land was Christian but a Muslim ruler named Hakim persecuted them and drove them out.

In 1055 the fierce Seljuks, pagan nomads, made deep incursions into the Muslim world. They converted to Islam and became even more militant in spreading their new faith. In 1071 the Byzantine Emperor was totally defeated by these new Turkish Muslims. This resulted in great loss of territory. The Seljuk Turks captured Jerusalem from the Egyptian Shi’ite Fatimid in 1071 and drove out the Christians in 1091.

The Fatimids recaptured Jerusalem in 1098. In 1099 the first Christian crusade was launched against Jerusalem. Christians controlled most of the Holy Land until the Muslims once again conquered it in 1291.

By the fourteenth century the formidable Ottoman Turks began to invade Europe. Such territories as Hungary, Albania, and Serbia fell to them. Bitterness still exists in those areas. In May of 1453 they conquered and pillaged Constantinople. Much of their army was composed of young adults who were captured as children, taken from their Christian parents and “converted” at the point of the sword.

In 1683 the Ottomans launched their last assault against Europe which was their second attack on Vienna where they were defeated. The Muslim world went into a long period of eclipse from which it is just now emerging.

The crusades represent a grim and regrettable part of history. Perhaps this historical background frames them in better understanding.

Creation By Chance

The Raelians have given cause for people to consider origins of life. The idea that aliens came to this planet and created human life is a stretch worthy of science fiction. Their theory is destructively flawed. From where did the aliens come and how did they get there? Who created them? The search for the ultimate source of all that is has challenged human thought through the ages.

The concept of origins is a swamp in which most minds bog down. It stretches the best of thinkers.

The simplest concept of the origin of the universe and subsequently life is the one requiring the least faith. It is the Genesis account that God as the prime cause spoke the universe into existence out of nothing. Although many modern cosmologists attempt to explain the creation of the universe without God their theories point to a prime cause.

One popular postulate is that the universe sprang into existence as a result of a single event called the “Big Bang.” This is but one prime cause suggested. All must be evaluated in light of two axioms. One ex nihilo nihil fit (“out of nothing, nothing comes”) and the second, the law of causality (“for every effect there must be a cause”) both require something or someone to create the universe. The universe could not have come from nothing because out of nothing, nothing comes.

Another prime cause often suggested is that the world came into existence by “chance.” “Chance” is the descriptive term for a mathematical relationship of factors, that is, the probability that something will occur. “Chance” is nothing and has no power therefore it cannot create. “Chance” is not a cause and hence could not produce an effect. The previous two axioms disallow chance as a cause.

An antithetical alternative to “chance” is that the universe simply has always existed. However, based on the second law of thermodynamics (which states disorder is increasing) the universe would have already rundown because an infinite amount of time would have preceded the present.

When the concepts of the eternal existence of matter and spontaneous generation are disallowed there standing on histories horizon larger than life is God. Who better?

Where there is a law there is a law giver. Such laws as the laws of thermodynamics, gravity, and inertia demand a law giver.

Where there is a design such as the earth rotating on its axis and revolving in its orbit there must be a designer.

If not God then who designed this orderly cosmos with its universal laws?

The wisest of the wise, Solomon, expressed it well: “From everlasting to everlasting thou art God.” Literally, “From eternity past to eternity future, from vanishing point past to vanishing point future God always has been and always will be.”

Thinking back and forward there comes a time when the greatest of minds reach a point where thought can’t go any further, it vanishes. There in both directions as imposing as ever resides God.

The Confusing Koran

The western mind is in general unfamiliar with the Islamic faith. Current conditions have created a general curiosity about its origin and some basic precepts. An overview of the founding of the faith helps appreciate its basis.

Muhammad, the man who dictated the Koran and gave guidance to the movement was born in Mecca in the Saudi Arabian peninsula in AD 570. Until the age of 25 he worked with caravans and was exposed to both Christianity and Judaism. At age 25 he married a wealthy 40 year old widow. This allowed him financial independence. When he reached age 40 he related that a spirit called him to be an “‘apostle” and “‘prophet.” Neither of these terms are a part of any Arabian religion. He learned them from his days working with caravans.

After his death his writings were compiled as the Koran. The works were not arranged in any chronological or subject order.

At the time Muhammad received his initial visitation there were over 300 gods being worshiped in Mecca by pilgrims who came there each year to pray at the Kailaba. There was a small building there housing a black meteorite and effigies of the various gods. One of these gods was Allah, the moon god. That is the reason the crescent is the symbol of Islam.

The Koran is divided into Suras, meaning chapters. Conscientious Muslims and non-Muslims are divided over the complex and occasionally conflicting passages. There are many peace loving Muslims. The religion is described as “the peaceful religion of Islam.” The multiple global acts of violence by Muslims advocating a holy war defy this description. These base their conduct on such passages as Sura 9:29 which commands Muslims to fight against Jews and Christians until their either submit to Allah or else agree to pay a special tax.

Sura 2: 65,66 and Sura 5:60 contain references to Jews as “, apes and swine to be despised and rejected.”

In contrast to the “Golden Rule” which advocates doing unto others as you would have them do unto you Sura 2:194 sanctions revenge: “If anyone transgresses … against you, transgress likewise against them.”

Many not reared in the Islamic culture are confused by stories of suicide murderers being motivated by what awaits them in Paradise. The following is not an opinion it is merely a summary of Suras 52: 17-14, 55:54-56; and 78:32-34. Therein Paradise is depicted as a place of pleasure consisting of gluttonous feasts and endless sex orgies. One way to reach Paradise is to die fighting for Allah (Sura 3: 157).

Persons who would like to read for themselves some of these Suras will find a fully indexed copy of the Koran which can be searched by words and phrases at:

In our pluralistic culture tolerance is broadly advocated. I know our Muslim friends will be patient with those seeking to learn the teachings of the Koran.

Christian Civil Disobedience

What would happen if all the lambs roared at once?

The absurd extent to which the false concept regarding separation of church and state can be taken is now being played out in New York.

First, it should be noted the intended meaning of that expression as used by our founding fathers is essential to good church and state.

However, in New York it is acceptable to display a Jewish minora and a Muslim crescent. Agree! However, it is not permitted to display a nativity scene. Did I miss something? Isn’t there a hint of discrimination in this?

Didn’t someone once say, “What’s fair for the goose is fair for the gander?” Isn’t the playing field supposed to be level?

This bigotry is dramatized by the fact Congress established a national holiday called “Christmas.” The event is a legal federal holiday. The name in the law given the holiday is “Christmas.” It is not “Winter Fest” or any other contemporary title employed in an attempt to replace even the word Christmas.

Discrimination against Christians is evidenced by numerous other settings in which anything even indirectly relating is disallowed. In one school any Christian symbols or nativity depictions were forbidden. Some of the teachers encouraged the children to paint a large mural of an early evening winter scene. Snow was on the ground, stars twinkled in the sky, animals rested serenely. Protest were so strong that it was taken down. Some parents said the trees would remind people of the cross and the star of Bethlehem. Be real!

In some places students and teachers have been forbidden to wear jewelry or T-shirts with anything related to Christmas.

Consider this scenario. It is called civil disobedience. It was a method used by Ghandi in India and Martin Luther King Jr., America.

What would happen if all Christians showed up one day wearing a statement or symbol of their faith? What if all the lambs roared at one time?

If the extreme bands were imposed and people sent home because of it schools would have to close, businesses would be very short of employees, and government offices would be dramatically understaffed.

If an American flag can be burned under the pretense of free speech why can’t a Christian symbol be displayed? Aggressively proselytizing in public places is wrong. However, personal statements of individual faith should not be stifled.

Persons of the Jewish and Muslim faiths have every right to display their symbols. All of us should defend their right to do so. If they have the right, and they do, why do Christians not have the same right?

Interesting question isn’t it? What would happen if all the lambs roared at one time? Of course lambs can’t roar. However, enough simultaneous bleats might sound like a roar.

Changing Morals

Quietly a noticeable change in the moral climate of our society has occurred. A variety of factors have contributed to it.

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was a catalyst. When he postulated it he was concerned that some would not only relate to physical science but expressed apprehension some would apply it to social science. Today it has been expanded into a philosophy of relativism. This means there are no moral absolutes. Right and wrong are relative.

Philosopher Fredrick Nietzche declared God is dead. Others have since joined his chorus. He concluded that since God does not exist morality is a matter of personal choice. With God out of the game we become our own umpire, our own judges. That is why there is so very little moral consensus.

Our PC climate has removed the Bible from the public forum as a standard of morality. Without this long standing compass everyone decides for him or her self which direction is north; what is right and what is wrong. Right and wrong are a matter of personal opinion and the only opinion that matters is “mine.”

Yet another influence in the change in our moral climate is insistence on tolerance. The word “tolerance” has even been more sharply redefined. For years it meant I value you and your opinion to which you are entitled but I disagree with it. That is called negative tolerance and is considered narrow minded.

Positive tolerance is the concept that one opinion is as good as any other and should not be rejected.

If God is dead, moral relativism true, and positive tolerance allowed then there is no basis upon which any action by a person can be criticized or condemned. Really?

If true ethnic cleansing, slavery, polygamy, pedofilia, incest, cloning, euthanasia, terrorism, murder, adultery, and rape would garner no moral outrage. After all those are acceptable ideas to those advocating and/or practicing them. Apologies should be offered to Hitler, Timothy McVeigh, Theodor Kazinski, Osama Ben Laden, and a host of other radicals. They considered their ideas as good as any, even better.

A brilliant British journalist, C.S. Lewis, acknowledged the root of his denial of the existence of God. He said he professed there was no God because he knew if he acknowledged God existed he would have to confess his guilt before Him. That, he said he did not want to do because he was enjoying his adultery too much. As long as he professed there was no God he did not have to admit to guilt.

It is not adultery in every case but denial is an evasive tactic practiced by many. To admit there is a God means there are moral norms. He is a God of absolutes and ultimates. His created laws of nature prevail for our comfort. Because of the law of gravity we know we are free to jump up because we will come down not float off in space. His moral laws are based on what is good for us and therefore afford comfort. When the rules of the game are known everyone has a standard. Moral laws are no more relative than the rules by which football is played. They are not relative but they are relevant.