We all have faith to some degree, the atheist believes in himself (or herself) and believes in science, the agnostic accepts that there is something more, optionally there is a god (the dyslexic one totally believes in the existence of ‘dog’) and the believers, where do they stand?
I grew up being a Catholic, when the news from the Boston Globe reached the world, we became confused, the matter did not help when we watched the movie Spotlight and got a better view on a global scale just how corrupt the world facilitating to the Catholic Church had become. The 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven by Ridley Scott did not help the Catholic case either.
Now, we accept that the premise of the movie is not real, but the background is and there is plenty of supporting evidence. The Council of Clermont (November 1095) gives a lot to consider, the words by Pope Urban “a barbaric fury has deplorably afflicted and laid waste the churches of God in the regions of the Orient” has been accepted as a undisputed truth and for the longest of time (almost a 1000 years), we have been taught from primary school that the Saracens (Arabs) were the great evil, yet after the entire cold war and the Vietnam war, the word by government is no longer readily accepted and as the entire Catholic abuse stage has been evolving over the last decade those believing in something larger are in a internal fight of faith. Even in historic ways our place in the world is debatable. It is shown going back to the Treaty of Clermont 1095, when Georg Strack from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich gives us in his article ‘The Sermon of Urban II in Clermont and the Tradition of Papal Oratory‘ the larger issue: “Since we only have the reports of chroniclers and not the manuscript of the pope himself, each analysis of this address faces a fundamental problem: even the three writers who attended the Council of Clermont recorded three different versions, quite distinctive both in content and style“, even there the scribes were all about paraphrasing giving us no clear report, a failing to be sure. Even beyond the Crusades, the Catholic Church has been the driven power to lay waste to dozens of civilisations, eradicating them all.
Fulcher of Chartres
When we look at the very first crusade we see: “a cleric who took part in the First Crusade and was probably present at the council itself. At least he asserts in his prologue that he has recorded only those events which he saw with his own eyes. Even though it has been argued that personal experience was of less importance in crusading chronicles, it is noteworthy that Fulcher explicitly mentions this topos and other sources do not“, in addition to this, we are given “he reports not only a call for the crusade but two speeches by the pope. According to this source, Pope Urban first admonished the clergy and declared the official causae of the council in an opening sermon. Probably on the first day, he addressed the gathered ecclesiastical dignitaries with an ‘eloquent address’ (adlocutio dulciflua) about the necessity of Church reform. Firstly, the pope exhorted the assembled bishops and abbots to meet their responsibilities. He explained that they were called shepherds and should, therefore, ‘guard on every side of the flock entrusted to them (John 10. 12–13)’” A stage that could be seen in a few ways, but there is a call for the stage where we see the need of ‘the assembled bishops and abbots to meet their responsibilities‘ and there we see the problem, the nobles pillaged the realm of Saracens to the maximum, there are indications, but no witness reports to the degree we would accept. Yet the stage between 1095 and when Jerusalem was handed to Saladin (An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub) in October 1187 (after a siege that lasted two weeks), was only the beginning, even as the Kingdom of Jerusalem shifted its capital, in the end Saladin took control of Acre, Nablus, Jaffa, Toron, Sidon, Beirut, and Ascalon, with only Tyre remaining because of the arrival of Conrad of Montferrat. In all cases those fleeing the cities took whatever of worth they could carry. It also gives more on the status of Balian of Ibelin (played by Orlando Bloom in Kingdom of Heaven), even as he was nobility, the Muslims regarded him as a king.
The movie gives a background, yet remains highly fictional, what does come to the foreground is that the pillaging by Christian nobility was almost a given, and the quote: “Crusaders often pillaged as they travelled, and their leaders generally retained control of captured territory rejecting and removing Byzantine control whenever possible. Intolerance of other faiths and traditions increased, particularly with Jews and those considered heretics. Muslims were murdered in their thousands on several occasions, as were non Catholic Christians” all this is now coming to blows in a different way.
As we witness the Muslim Pilgrimage (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2HTiOUY8Mc), we become witness to well over 2 million pilgrims, Shia and Sunni Muslims next to one another, one Quran identical for all. One source gives: “Saudi Arabia announced Saturday that the total number of pilgrims reached 2,489,406, increased 117,731 individuals than last year“, it seems to me that we should take a closer look into Islam, not to attack it, but to learn from it. Earlier this year we were able to see the Eid al-Fitr (Festival of Breaking the Fast), you can see the event in Mecca (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs8obP4uRa0), showing me more religiously connected people than the Vatican (read Christians) ever showed.
This does not make me a Muslim, but learning more about Islam and Muslims is an essential first. When we can no longer trust the Catholic Church, when we see now over the last two years alone on how the abuse by the clergy was seemingly tolerated up to the highest level, we need to find a balance, we need to learn what faith is, and we need to learn what it is. Even as people like Charles Stanley make speeches like ‘The Stages of Our Faith‘, where we are shown what faith is, but does Charles actually know what it is? When we hear ‘It is clear in the scripture‘, yet it is not, and more precisely, which version? The Catholic and Protestant versions are not the same. When it is followed by ‘Jesus honours faith‘, we wonder if that is true. Even if some person named Jesus of Nazareth stated somewhere between 25AD- 30AD that he honours faith, I wonder how much value it has to the sexual abuse victims his preachers created (in the US way above 100,000) it does not seem to voice and show any level of honouring faith, In Europe these numbers are a lot higher giving us a mountain of victims, in all this how can any person who accepts that the protection of children is a first remain a Christian?
I do not have all the answers; I never claimed to have them. Yet it seems to me that those in doubt of faith need to find their faith. Whilst the Christian documentation has several versions and several relations in a stage of not knowing, it seems to me that a nation like Saudi Arabia, where the Hajj is visited by all Muslims nations, including Iran has something that many cannot ignore, even this year in light of the Iranian – Saudi issues we are given that ‘Iran opens mechanized catering center in Mecca‘, it is seemingly without issues, there is a clear indications that there are no acts against people who are there for their faith, something that we have not seen in the western world ever!
These steps are now more than ever essential, as we have been sold a bag of goods again and again, and as our need for the actual truth increases, we need to start showing which sources are trustworthy and which ones are not.
Two Days Later
Today, several sources give us: ‘Muslim pilgrims pray in Mecca as hajj winds down without incident‘, the quote “Senior officials said there had been no major incidents and the logistical, security and health plans had been successful, even with some heavy rainfall. Saudi Arabia stakes its reputation on its guardianship of Islam’s holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, and its organisation of the pilgrimage. It hopes to continue expanding attendance to help to build its tourism industry“, during this event that ends after a week, we find that 88,000 Iranians attended the event. A stage where Saudi Arabia and Iran are in a proxy war, a stage where the mistrust between two nations is great, the 88,000 were able to perform their Hajj without incident. There is something wrong, it is not with them, or with Islam, it is with us and it is time that we start recognising it.
The heretic burnings in the UK (1532), the Protestant & Catholic wars in Ireland (up to the late 70’s) are two of the most visible ones, then there was the Spanish Inquisition (not the Monty Python edition) and the list goes on, versions of the same faith trying to remove the other ones, this in opposition with the versions of Islam where they all use the same Quran and as we see that they all pray side by side, no fighting. We need to take example from this, in a stage where Christians are more and more regarded as the violent ones, where we see how the Catholic church was given reprieve again and again, protecting a quoted 7% of all Catholic priests being involved in the act of sexual abuse, we need to start accepting that not only can we no longer tolerate Islam phobia, we need to start learning the simple truth that the Islam is not the evil here. We see all the humanitarian shouting is out of balance, the equal silence form these people as loud outrage is absent whilst thousands of children were sodomised is equally astounding. That evidence was shown on August 8th 2019 with the headline: ‘Paul Muschick: One year after explosive Catholic Church investigation in Pennsylvania: 300 priests, 1,000 victims, no state action‘, what do you do when you wake up in the morning, only to realise that we are the evil supporters? How would an American react when he/she is woken up in 1947, only to be told that they actively supported Nazi Germany? Is that offensive? It better be, because this is worse. We have instigated and supported a form of government and jurisprudence that refuses to prosecute a criminal clergy, whilst a homosexual population in America is prosecuted and vilified without evidence.
We as a people, we as Christians have failed humanity and we need to accept that and live with the evil that we created. Yet do not take my word on this, find out yourself and consider one source (from TEDx) which discusses ‘What I Learned by Converting from Christianity to Islam‘ (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1yKKGchRcc), a small 11 minute video that might open your eyes.