The Crusades # The Holy Land Crusades began in 1095 AD when European Christians sought to regain land around Jerusalem. The bloody battles endured until the fall of Acre in 1291. This is one of the most fascinating periods in history. From Richard the Lionheart to the mighty Saladin, from the emperors of Byzantium to the Knights Templar, A magnificent epic of Holy War between the Christian and Islamic worlds unfolds.
Frank H Epp (1929-1986) # What happened to Frank Epp is happening all over the evangelical and ecclesiastical world, including Jewish, Catholics, evangelicals and even Muslims; vicious, ferocious, mean – spirited polarising attacks on enlightened leaders by ultra - extremists. I prefer the ultra – moderates. There appears a phenomenon that some Churches have become so removed from their formative roots that they are wholly innocent of any knowledge of what Christianity is all about.
Sex and Religion # Religion and Sex Hesiod was the first to record that, Eros, fairest among the deathless gods, “unnerves the limbs and overcomes the mind”. Sexual attraction is an inherent and irresistible force all humans. Freud suggested all human endeavor is motivated by our sexuality. We are not always rational, and contend throughout life with our aggressive and sexual feelings. Oscar Wilde agreed: “Everything in the world is about sex; except sex.
Superstitions # People believe what they want to. W.H. Auden has a beautiful line in The Shield of Achilless: “They (soldiers) marched away enduring a belief Whose logic brought them, somewhere else, to grief." Rational people can rationalize or justify almost anything. We are good at self-deception. All ideologies can be self-serving and delusional. That’s why philosophy, history and great literature is such a good guide to reality.
Epidemics # Influenza Plagues and Pestilence have been with us since early times, originally seen by superstitious people as the result of offending the gods. Influence - power from heaven – Influenza was considered punishment for disobeying authority in Biblical literature as well as Greek mythology- Oedipus in Thebes, Moses and the Egyptians. Biblical # One of the earliest records of plagues was one Moses unleashed on Egypt when Pharaoh would not free the enslaved Hebrews.
Inquisitions # The Inquisition is an historical persecution that originated in Southern France around the turn of the 13th Century and lasted about 500 years after spreading throughout Europe including England. Napoleon is credited for putting an end to its bloody ethnic cleansing. It is without a doubt the darkest and bloodiest period of Christian history, making the barbaric antics of Daesh or ISIS look like a Sunday school picnic.
Apostasy # The formal disaffiliation from, abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. It can also be defined within the broader context of embracing an opinion Secular apostasy: - When founding principles give way to pragmatic compromises in everyday life. Apostasy – espousing high ideals – perverted by base morality. The problem with hypocrisy is that it shatters truth. If we believe in a principle, but don’t apply it ourselves, that principle is essentially meaningless.