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Old 02-04-2013, 08:03 AM   #136
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Precisely. It's politics.

The Children's Crusade aside (a bizarre little detour) it was all about diverting the honour-and-blood-bound knightly classes of Europe off onto a nominally devout mission where they could do least harm at home. And it was all totally political. The Byzantines put out the first call for aid, and humiliating it must have been since they were the nominal lords of Christendom, the original Romans.

And of course the Franks and others got a few Levantine kingdoms out of it all. Hardly worth the sweat in the end, but it must have seemed otherwise at the time.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:11 AM   #137
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There was a book out a few years ago that said even if Islam never came into existence, there still would've been tension between Eastern and Western Europe. I didn't read it, but here's the link:

A World Without Islam: Graham E. Fuller: Amazon.com: Books

I agree it is too easy to blame religion because some situations are too complex to point to one problem. Those who are adamantly against religion seem to think the world would be a utopia once all religions die off. But there are other factors that contribute to world and national conflicts.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:55 AM   #138
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Probably because they all shared the a common sea, the Mediterranean has long been a war zone between different controlling interests. Greece versus the Achaemenid Empire (Persia), Rome vs the Carthaginians of North Africa. Rome versus the Parthians, then the Sassanids. The Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantine against the Arab invasions, Seljuq Turks, Ottomans.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:56 AM   #139
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Only way the world becomes a utopia is if all the humans die off...I think, although then I won't be around to tell you whether I was right or not.
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:47 PM   #140
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I'd argue that religion wasn't even the main motivation of the crusades. At the time the lords of Europe had an over-abundance of landless sons and in the feudal era this wasn't the healthiest situation, they needed land and titles when there wasn't much more to give out in Europe. People also often forget that the Popes of the time were feudal lords themselves. Religion just served as an excuse for a land grab which I think is shown mainly by the attack on Constaninople. It was conquest and power. I'd argue the wars would have happened regardless of religion mainly due to the inroads the major Islamic factions of the time such as the Seljuq Turks had made into the territory of the Byzantine Empire, who were repeatedly asking for aid from the West. Later of course you had the advances of the Ottomans right into western lands which again was seen as a threat by the European lords.

The only crusade which I think which had a main goal of religious spread was probably the Children's Crusade. Not saying religion was not involved in the others but I don't believe without the benefits of land and trade route control the lords would have marched.

Look at it this way, think of the guys in the Republican party who espouse all this Christian rhetoric. How many of them do you believe are actually saying or doing the things they do out of religious conviction? They pander to a group who they helped whip up and create in order to get money and power.

Blaming religion for any conflict is too easy. Religion, race etc are all just secondary really.
Religion may have not been the reason at the very top of the totem pole, but it rarely is. And that's sort of the point. It's the mechanism to control the masses who were certain the Crusades were about religion. Manipulation by the people in charge has always been one of the main criticisms of religion.
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:29 PM   #141
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The people didn't need to be 'manipulated' by religion. The kings and dukes could rely on their complex feudal hierarchy to ensure vassals support. Your everyman in the field had little say in such matters. Religion may have given it an amount of popular support but it didn't factor much into what actually happened. A vassal had to support their liege with troops and the like no matter how fervently they believed in the faith or not.

Back then you didn't need popular support to go to war anymore than you actually need to these days considering Iraq and the like. All your really criticizing are the folk in power who will use any tool to remain in power and increase their control of whatever capital there is from religion to capitalism.
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:38 PM   #142
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Having an army that believes they're acting in and for the name of god is a much more effective army than one who fights only because the King says they have to.

But are we really arguing whether the crusades were religious wars or not??
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:52 PM   #143
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The people didn't need to be 'manipulated' by religion. The kings and dukes could rely on their complex feudal hierarchy to ensure vassals support. Your everyman in the field had little say in such matters. Religion may have given it an amount of popular support but it didn't factor much into what actually happened. A vassal had to support their liege with troops and the like no matter how fervently they believed in the faith or not.

Back then you didn't need popular support to go to war anymore than you actually need to these days considering Iraq and the like. All your really criticizing are the folk in power who will use any tool to remain in power and increase their control of whatever capital there is from religion to capitalism.
I agree. The average person in the medieval period weren't exactly stupid or illogical; they simply didn't have much freedom to think for themselves and had to do what their lord or king told them to do.

There's a lot of ways to manipulate the masses, and you don't need religion to do it. You can use nationalism or political pride. Just get a charismatic orator who knows how to strike fear, pride or anything else into many people, and you got yourself a problem.
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:57 PM   #144
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The average person in the medieval period weren't exactly stupid or illogical
I'd have to disagree with this

And yes, you can use other methods for manipulation, but none of them are as effective as appealing to basic human fears and promises of immortality. There are things people can be convinced to do for religion that they wouldn't do for any other reasons
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:58 PM   #145
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Having an army that can be stripped of all their possessions and family arrested is or killed if they don't obey is probably more effective still. While most religions deserve criticism for much of what it promotes, I feel your ire would be better directed at the power structures that exist and have existed. Religious war and such is a concept only really invented since the turn of the first Millenium. Injustice and persecution have existed for much longer.
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:00 PM   #146
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I'm sure we could make a compelling argument that jihad isn't religiously motivated too
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:09 PM   #147
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I'm not saying religion doesn't play into religious wars or terrorism, but I don't think it is the one and only reason.
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:10 PM   #148
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I wouldn't disagree with that
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:13 PM   #149
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I'm sure we could make a compelling argument that jihad isn't religiously motivated too
Or that most every war in Asian history somehow wasn't "religiously motivated".

Saying the concept of religious war didn't exist until after the first millennium is like saying half of the world doesn't exist.
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:34 PM   #150
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I'd make a similar argument that the Arab wars of conquest from the 7th to 10th centuries were more about an expansionist new nation, again control of land and trade routes. I will grant you it was likely Islam that fashioned this new sense of being a singular people, from desert tribes to burgeoning empire. Afterwards Jihad was a defence against incoming European powers. Modern jihad I see as more of a response to being politically sidelined and alienated in the world. With the British and then US governments propping up dictatorships that either were responsible for supporting islamic or propping up other governments that didn't treat the muslims well within their borders.

You push anyone to the side and they are likely to go to extremes. Alex Jones while clearly nuts is in my opinion an actual expression of deep unease many Americans have with Washington and the financial worlds sway, these irrational fears are a byproduct of a deeply injust system hence the religious rights paranoia. Religion doesn't cause that injustice such as the way capitalism works or why the healthcare system is the way it is, it's more an expression of that inequality that comes out in some rather unfortunate ways, but it would still come out even if religion didn't exist.
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