Ah, the “Crusades and the Inquisition”.
Have you read Hillaire Belloc? Or the Cambridge History series? Or “The Triumph of the Cross?”
In my experience, the majority of those who bring up “the crusades and the inquisition” lack a balanced knowledge AND a sense of historical context. Again, in my experience, the majority of those who bring up the crusades and the inquisition as NEGATIVES have little idea of what life (meaning people, society, and experience) was like for people who actually LIVED the events, as opposed to those of us examining those events, in retrospect, centuries later, with a very, very different experience of people, society, mores etc.)
In my experience, many people seem to think that the crusades came about because greedy, dark-ages, thuggish, intolerant Christians were trying to forcibly convert peaceful, advanced, tolerant Muslims and to “take their lands”. They also seem to think that the “inquistion” came about because the Catholic Church wanted to stamp out Protestants, and went on to burn witches.
The reality of both is quite, quite different. Neither Christians nor Muslims were “tolerant”–or INTOLERANT for that matter. Neither group had any sort of experience of tolerance or intolerance, for the simple reason that neither had anything really to “tolerate”. Muslims did not “tolerate” so-called “people of the book” the way that Protestants “tolerate” Catholics, or Buddhists, or atheists. . . or vice versa. Neither did Christians have “intolerance” for others when they sought to convert pagans, Jews, Muslims etc. For the Muslims, “allowance” of a group of people to follow certain laws or live in certain places did not mean that any of those people could not at any time face either “death or conversion”, or that the nonMuslims were viewed as equals. And for the Christians, the ideas that, say, Druids, should be “allowed” to persist in their beliefs–beliefs, I should mention, which came relatively late in human history and superseded various other beliefs, from animism on–and that speaking to them and urging their conversion to Christ was somehow “intolerant” or disrespectful, implying that Christian belief was “BETTER”–well, those ideas would have been met with derision. The Druids themselves did not necessarily believe their religion was “better” than Christianity, or feel that they were being disrespected. That type of revisionistic belief is far more typical of the CURRENT mindset which has come out of the Reformation.
Further, the Inquistions (there were more than one, lasting over a period of centuries) were internal, not external. They had nothing to do with Protestantism either. The earliest ones in fact took place when Christian MEANT Catholic --there were no protestants–and were concerned with orthodoxy of those who PROFESSED to be Catholic but secretly were not. . .most often those of Spanish Moorish background whose ancestors had been Jewish, who had become Christian, but whose descendents, while claiming to be Christian, had reverted to the Jewish faith. Thus, we have internal heresy, not external.
Finally, witches were burned far more by the Protestants (for which we can mostly thank King James I and VI). While neither individual GROUPS of Catholics or Protestants can be blameless–people on BOTH sides made mistakes, people on BOTH sides also acted with great courage and goodness, still, the end results of centuries of rebellion have yet to be seen. One can only say that the results THUS FAR have yielded great individuals on both sides, but great internal damage to the majority on both sides too. . . in my opinion and experience.