Well, almost certainly. The most common view of the Crusades–those terrible wars fought by Christians in the early part of the second millennium–is that they were horridly, despicably unjust. One scholar said this:
The crusades are generally portrayed as a series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics. They are supposed to have been the epitome of self-righteousness and intolerance, a black stain on the history of the Catholic Church in particular and Western civilization in general. A breed of proto-imperialists, the Crusaders introduced Western aggression to the peaceful Middle East and then deformed the enlightened Muslim culture, leaving it in ruins.
My neighbor probably believes that or something like it. So does yours…and so did I! Even after going to Bible college and getting a master’s degree in Apologetics, I still believed that the crusades were an utterly shameful mark on Christian history. They weren’t. This is not to say that all that occurred was wonderful and good–many who fought in them did terrible things–but the truth of the matter is that they were nowhere near as awful as the popular idea of them would suggest. As apologist Clay Jones, points out, the contemporary view of the Crusades is just anti-Christian propaganda that originated during the Enlightenment.
So what really happened? What were the Crusades really like? Instead of rewriting what has been written so well already, I will send you over to Clay Jones’s blog to get the details: THE DETAILS
Not only does he show that the Crusades weren’t nearly as bad as you might think, he also makes the case that they were actually a just war, and he does so with clarity, sound argumentation, and great research from the leading scholars in the field. Go read it.
I never worried much about the affect of the Crusades on the rationality of my beliefs. I just don’t see how one can make a decent argument from “The Crusades happened and they were horrible” to “it is not rational to believe in Christianity.” I’ve never seen an atheist or agnostic, philosopher or otherwise, even attempt to make such an argument. There just isn’t one. And yet I was walking about with all sorts of false beliefs about the Crusades. If my neighbor asked me about them, I wouldn’t have had a very convincing response. So for the sake of having a convincing response to your neighbor, go read that blog!