This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comment

← Respected theologian defends genocide and infanticide

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by Bernard Hurley

I don't see why anyone shows any surprise at this. It is simply what I would expect Craig to say. It is quite a common argument for those who take the Bible literally. This attitude has traditionally been quite common. Catholics, who are not normally Bible literalists, have have been known to justify actions taken in the Crusades in a similar way:

In 1204, Arnaud Amalric and Peter of Castelnau were appointed inquisitors and sent by pope Innocent III to attempt to convert the Albigensians from Catharism back to Catholicism, failing which military action would be taken. Caesar of Heisterbach one of the leaders of the Crusader army quotes Amalric as giving the advice when asked how to distinguish a Cathar from a Catholic "Kill them all, the Lord will recognise His own". There is some historical doubt about whether Amalric actually said that, however, no one at the time would have found it particularly surprising if he had and he never denied it. He did write in a letter to a pope after the ensuing massacre at Béziers "Today your Holiness, twenty thousand heretics were put to the sword, regardless of rank, age, or sex."

This may be an exaggeration since the permanent population of Béziers was about 5000, but it is known to have been swelled by refugees fleeing the Crusader army. 7000 such refugees seeking sanctuary in St Mary Magdalene church are reported to have been killed after the doors were smashed in. Reportedly some of them were blinded, dragged behind horses and used as target practice.

Sun, 01 May 2011 11:22:59 UTC | #621498