Tag Archives: the Inquisition

Violence in Christian history: Proof against the faith? David Bentley Hart speaks


David Bentley Hart is a smart fellow, conversant in philosophy, history, literature, & the arts, who will soon (a little bird tells me) be writing a comprehensive, textbook-type history of the church. Here he is being interviewed about the claim often made by atheists, including the so-called “new atheists,” that the violence evident in Christian history can be used as evidence that Christianity as a whole is a false system of belief, and indeed that there is no God.

Crusades and Inquisition: Part of a pattern of Christian violence?


Following up on my recent book note about a current bestseller on the Crusades, here are some further thoughts on that horrible episode of Christian history, as well as that other horrible episode, the Inquisition(s), from a 2003 article triggered by the capture of abortion clinic (and Olympics) bomber Eric Rudolph.

I’ve also added, at the end of this piece, a note by Ted Olsen on how the Inquisition, though atrocious, was not the wholesale bloodbath portrayed in modern anti-Christian rhetoric:

Did Eric Rudolph Act in a “Tradition of Christian Terror”?
A historian considers the evidence of the Crusades and the Inquisition.
Chris Armstrong

The specter of the “Christian terrorist” presented by the recent capture of accused bomber Eric Rudolph has raised again the old charge of the skeptic: “Why should we be surprised when Christians kill people? They’ve always done so. Church history itself is the best advertisement against the church.”

Christianity’s opponents love to use church-historical examples to “prove” that violence is inherent to the Christian church. The favorites are the Crusades and the Inquisitions. The critics ask: Don’t such violent blots on the church prove Christians have never followed their Lord’s loving, non-violent lead and obeyed the Commandment “Thou shalt not kill”? Continue reading