Two things came to mind as I read this account.
A siege outside the city eventually took its toll amid the abominable bloodshed, and like all of the heretical leaders before him, the magnificent Bokelson, when captured, became a snivelling whiner even offering to rat out his confederates in return for clemency. But in view of all he had done, it is not surprising that no one pitied him.
“In the square where once he had sat on a throne, he was tortured with hot irons, and then his heart was pierced with a red-hot dagger.”
Thus the enemies of these sects, the Catholics, were no more merciful than they in terms of their eagerness to shed blood, based, of course, on Biblical passages that they took for commandments (isn’t it true that, for many of the faithful, their favourite Bible passages seem to defend their own vices and lusts?). The Inquisition needs no further review, and the massacre of the Huguenots in Paris is another of many instances of how the Catholics dealt with “heretics.”
Likewise, American defenders of slavery in the first century of the American colonies and post-revolution US also relied heavily on a skewed view of the scriptures to support their racism. Thus, these pro-slavery “Christians” relied on a belief that the swarthy-complexioned Ham was cursed and his sons would also be cursed by being forced into slavery. They ignored the fact that according to the Bible, Ham himself was not cursed and only his son Canaan was, whose complexion is not known. (However, historians tell us that the Canaanites, also known as the Phoenicians, were a Semitic people and hence not black sub-Saharans).
Biblical scholar Tony Evans explains:
“This process is known as sacralization, the development of theological and religious beliefs to serve the interest of a particular … group.”
As fortune willed it, most of these heretical cults were indeed able, with only the most rudimentary training and equipment, to rampage virtually unhindered across wide swaths of territory for many months and even years, killing, marauding, sacking and burning the churches and monasteries of their perceived enemy and massacring enemy monks and priests. Even to many unbelievers, it must have seemed as if nothing could stop them and that surely God must be on their side. During this time of virtual impunity one could scarcely blame them for believing that they enjoyed divine protection. Armed with a rapidly growing faith in their invincibility, they fairly flew from victory to victory over their stunned and incredulous adversaries.
In each case it was not until they had destroyed or appropriated incalculable treasure and killed countless innocents that the authorities were able to amass sufficient trained and armed military forces to defeat them in battle, finally killing them by the thousands, and capturing their leaders, thereby stopping the destruction. It was in many cases only as the leaders were led away to the stake and the kindling set afire that they glimpsed the awful consequences of their tragic misinterpretation of the scriptures. How must they have felt as the tongues of flame licked the soles of their feet and their dreams of ushering in the Kingdom of God ended up so ignominiously, literally going up in smoke!
Were the horrors of those times a lesson given by God to humans? Have they learned it? Will they ever? And what is that lesson? For Christians, it is simply this:
Jesus was once asked by a legal expert:
“what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He [the expert] answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
For Jesus, love was the supreme law comparable to a Constitution. It was the legal framework into which everything else had to fit. If in a certain instance, the literal application of the law did not meet the overarching criterion of love, then it had to be discarded in that instance. Jesus illustrated this precept when he came upon a throng about to stone an adulteress and told them “let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” whereupon the throng put down their stones and walked silently away. Jesus was not defying the law, which required them to stone her. He was applying a constitutional test: Did the application of the law meet the love criterion? No, it did not, and that was obvious to everyone present. It was common sense, and common sense – otherwise known as wisdom – is what tells people what love is. No scriptural passage can supersede it because love is Christ's supreme law.
Likewise, even assuming the heretics were correct in judging the Catholics for their bullying and their departure from the scriptures, and even if there were vague suggestions in the Old Testament that believers are justified in massacring infidels or blasphemers, Christ’s Supreme Law of Love would not permit this and therefore, individuals who commit massacres cannot legitimately call themselves Christians. Neither can nations that arm and sponsor jihadists call themselves Christian nations. Nor can current Christian leaders reasonably pray for wisdom for their leaders because if they had had wisdom, they could not have been elected as head of a nation for which war is its raison d'être and economic mainstay (see the 3 links under Relevant Reading below).
Thus, like their cultist European forebears, the true-believer Christian Zionists, who have been discussed before at New Silk Strategies, are potentially capable of more harm than the Wahhabists of ISIS or Al-Qaeda (or any of the latter’s rebrandings such as Al-Nusra or Tahrir as-Sham). Certainly, the Wahhabist jihadists would slit your throat as soon as look at you if you are a kafir, ie, a person who is not a devout Muslim. But if you are a strict Wahhabist, then you will apply it to a Muslim who you think is not as Muslim as you. That’s the kind of MO displayed by the revolutionary heretics in Europe discussed above.
Pertinent to my phrasing "head of a nation for which war is its raison d'être and economic mainstay":
The above three part series is one of our milestone pieces, which we refer to as resources because they contain concepts resulting from original analyses that can be used as building blocks for future articles. Without reference to these resources, it would be difficult to understand the conclusions and statements made in subsequent articles. These resources are intended to be saved by the reader for reference.