Williams tells Muslims crusades betrayed Christian beliefs - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
November 24, 2005

Williams tells Muslims crusades betrayed Christian beliefs

-24/11/05

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has spoken of the reservations within the Christian tradition around the use of violence - even within the context of traditional ideas of 'just war'.

Highlighting the Crusades as a serious betrayal of Christian beliefs, the Archbishop said that any attempt to revive the crusading ideal today would not garner much support among Christians.

His comments were made during his trip to Pakistan.

In the past he has warned western leaders, particularly President Bush, against using sensitive religious language such as the term "crusade" to justify the war against Iraq. Bush has also faced significant Christian criticism in his own country for such ideas.

Those who have bombed and killed in Iraq have said their actions were a response to a U.S. "crusader war."

Dr Williams said in a lecture at the Islamic University in Islamabad that Christians had historically regarded the use of force as "second best", only necessary in a threatening or unjust situation - usually guided by religious ideas of 'just war'.

However, some Christians have historically called the church to take Jesus' rejection of violence seriously, and pointed to the inadequacies of just war theories which have been used to legitimise killing, and military actions such as the crusades.

"In the history of the Church there have been different attitudes to whether it is right to go to war. Most have said that it can be justified on certain carefully defined conditions - if you are defending your people, if there is no possible alternative way of settling a dispute, if you can guarantee that innocent people will not be harmed or killed" the Archbishop said.

"But even on such conditions, there is a good deal of reservation in Christian tradition. Jesus in the gospels opposes
violence, even in self-defence, for any individual. But St Paul seems to allow that force can be used by rulers to restrain evildoers. There is always a sense that force is second-best for the Christian, though it may be necessary in a threatening or unjust situation."

"Most Christians would now say that the history of the crusades, for example, or the religious wars in Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, were serious betrayals of many of the central beliefs of Christian faith," he said.

"Any modern attempt to revive a crusading ideal is not likely to be supported by most Christian believers."

Williams tells Muslims crusades betrayed Christian beliefs

-24/11/05

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has spoken of the reservations within the Christian tradition around the use of violence - even within the context of traditional ideas of 'just war'.

Highlighting the Crusades as a serious betrayal of Christian beliefs, the Archbishop said that any attempt to revive the crusading ideal today would not garner much support among Christians.

His comments were made during his trip to Pakistan.

In the past he has warned western leaders, particularly President Bush, against using sensitive religious language such as the term "crusade" to justify the war against Iraq. Bush has also faced significant Christian criticism in his own country for such ideas.

Those who have bombed and killed in Iraq have said their actions were a response to a U.S. "crusader war."

Dr Williams said in a lecture at the Islamic University in Islamabad that Christians had historically regarded the use of force as "second best", only necessary in a threatening or unjust situation - usually guided by religious ideas of 'just war'.

However, some Christians have historically called the church to take Jesus' rejection of violence seriously, and pointed to the inadequacies of just war theories which have been used to legitimise killing, and military actions such as the crusades.

"In the history of the Church there have been different attitudes to whether it is right to go to war. Most have said that it can be justified on certain carefully defined conditions - if you are defending your people, if there is no possible alternative way of settling a dispute, if you can guarantee that innocent people will not be harmed or killed" the Archbishop said.

"But even on such conditions, there is a good deal of reservation in Christian tradition. Jesus in the gospels opposes
violence, even in self-defence, for any individual. But St Paul seems to allow that force can be used by rulers to restrain evildoers. There is always a sense that force is second-best for the Christian, though it may be necessary in a threatening or unjust situation."

"Most Christians would now say that the history of the crusades, for example, or the religious wars in Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, were serious betrayals of many of the central beliefs of Christian faith," he said.

"Any modern attempt to revive a crusading ideal is not likely to be supported by most Christian believers."

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