Taking a course on the First Crusade at a secular university

Have any of you ever taken a course on the crusades at a secular university? Did they say anything that would come of as at-least somewhat anti-Catholic? Did they portray the crusades in a negative view?

Would not recommend…I would rather go to very solid sources such as what CA notes.

They likely won’t mention that the Islamic caliphate attacked first and killed pilgrims

I wouldn’t worry about it…if your faith is that fragile, the devil is going to have his way with you over something far less provacative.

Or the 400 years the Church gave the Muslims to dialogue and stop murdering our pilgrims and forcing conversions before we finally decided that enough was enough and did something about it.

I took a course on the Crusades at a secular college and I thought it was very fair. Neither pro-Christian nor anti-Christian, just explaining the facts as they happened.

You can expect constant negative views on Christianity/Catholicism in any secular university, some will be obvious and some not so much. Stay true to the Church and remember you are there just to pass the class; arguing and debating with the instructor or other students will not change minds or hearts, and in some cases may affect your grade.

Hearing another viewpoint will only strengthen you apologetics abilities.
You can’t expect Catholicism to be taught at a secular school.

You can always do your own research, or fact checking. Which is not to say anyone knows if the course material will present the facts or may be biased.


So far, the only person who’s posted so far who says they have actually taken a course on the Crusades at a non-religious-specific university has been Bran, who found it very fair and factual.
I, too, have taken courses on that topic at several non-religious-based universities both in Canada and the US and found them to be very fair and factual as well, giving all sides of the issues and events.

To always “expect constant negative views on Christianity/Catholicism in any secular university” and automatically presume that any non-Catholic or non-religious (aka “secular”) university would twist and warp the actual facts in a university program to be purposefully negative toward Christianity is, I think, an incorrect belief and imprudent action.


I understand your point.

Have you run across people who attended secular universities who are also atheist or anti-Catholic? They often espouse things such as the following

Christians are responsible for more deaths than all wars put together (they count wars where the countries involved are primarily Christian)

The Crusades were the result of the pope trying to eliminate all other religions and they were unprovoked attacks.

The Inquisition was one of the bloodiest event in European history and demonstrates their intolerance (never mentioning the leverage of the monarchy)

In reference to the abuse scandals - the Catholic Church is responsible for crimes against humanity.

Christianity is responsible for perpetuating slavery.

So, this is why folks on this thread are suspicious of the secular universities. There is substance behind it.

Is this true in all cases? No. I think it is the majority, however. There are also examples in the news all the time. It seems to align with, or stem from, political stances.

I would be very surprised and dismayed if any accredited university was teaching such rubbish in a history course- even a general survey. That certainly wasn’t my experience. At the high school level? Perhaps.

This is a slight false dichotomy. There are reasons why a non-Christian or non-Catholic might have a positive view of the crusades, and decent theological reasons why a Catholic might have a negative view of the crusades.

It’s legitimate to worry about whether or not a professor will present courses that are fair, not overly political, etc. But it’s not right to assume that courses will always or mostly be unfair.

  1. Ask around about the professor beforehand, and check what people say about him on the Internet. If he has a web presence himself, read up on his own works. If his scholarship is total rubbish, you will soon find out. If he’s a little nutty* but honest and doing good work, that’s okay. If he’s an awesome teacher and scholar, you will find that out too.

  2. Military history isn’t an attractive subject for most extremely liberal professors today. The prof might have all kinds of other loony ideas, but they’re probably not liberal ones! (If there were some Crusade movies coming out this year, it might be different.)

  3. If you can get hold of the prof’s reading list or syllabus for this year’s class, or for previous classes on the same subject, or even on previous classes on different subjects, you can also get a good idea of the direction of his thoughts on history. (Unless it was a class where he didn’t have control over the reading list, which sometimes can happen but not often.)

Actually, the worst and most biased prof I heard of was a Catholic theologian who was brought into the public university where I went, to teach a new “Catholic Studies” chair established by a donor. We Catholic students were really excited, and I was depressed not to get into one of his classes. Turned out he was a total whack-job, although I guess the people who stuck with his class inadvertently got a lot of insight into how the craziness of the Sixties and Seventies could have happened. (Don’t worry, they managed to find a worse whack-job after the first guy went on to greener pastures…)

Now, that was in the days before most of us students had access to the Internet. Today, we could have just looked him up and seen the full horror. (Or even sent letters of protest when his name was announced in the first place.) So you are in a lot better situation than when I went to college.

  • Some professors have outside interests, but other professors are totally nutty. There are professors who invent new poetic forms and name them after themselves. There are professors who change their names for wacky reasons. There are professors who are having feuds with half the people in their fields. Strangely enough, a lot of these folks are actually good teachers and honest scholars, albeit easily distracted into talking about their hobbies.

That would. Be dependent on the professor or the text

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