The Crusades, the Inquisition, Constantine, etc. American’s have been bombarded from youth about the evils of the Catholic Church. This comes from every angle, such as the school system, entertainment, the media, academia.
If you want a fresh perspective on the Crusades for one, read God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades by Rodney Stark.
“It always seems counter intuitive to moderns that warfare and religion can be consistent. Ideally, followers of the prince of peace are to avoid the sword and shield. Clearly, this has not always been the case. Frequently in the cross hairs of critics are the Christian wars against Muslims known as the Crusades, commonly viewed as the birth of European imperialism and the forced spread of Christianity.
But what if we’ve had it all wrong? What if the Crusades were a justifiable response to a strong and determined foe? Stark, a prominent sociologist and author of 27 books on history and religion, has penned a compelling argument that these bloody encounters had less to do with spreading Christianity than with responding to an ever more dangerous enemy—the emerging Islamic empire.”
“GOD’S BATTALIONS launches a frontal assault on the comfortable myths that scholars have popularized about the crusades. The results are startling. His greatest achievement is to make us see the crusaders on their own terms.” (Philip Jenkins, author of The Lost History of Christianity)
“At last, a convincing, balanced book on the Crusades, far from the recent unsophisticated and ideological diatribes against them as “A Bad Thing.” Rodney Stark demonstrates that the Crusades were neither unprovoked nor colonialist. Here is yet another rich and readable book from this thoughtful and distinguished author.” (Jeffrey Burton Russell, author of A History of Heaven and Paradise Mislaid)
“An excitingly readable distillation of the new, revisionist Crusades historiography.” (Booklist (starred review))
“[Stark] wants to challenge the prevailing television pundit-level misunderstanding of the Crusades, and in this, his accessible, enjoyably argued book succeeds.” (Christianity Today)