Monday, April 25, 2005

New Film on the Crusades

The Agora:

There is a new film on the Crusades coming out next week in New York so i imagine it will be creened very soon in KL. The rpemise of this movie is that Muslims and Christians could have lived in peace if not for the marauding Christian fanatics. Wella nd good, and there were horrible consequences of bad behavior on both sides. But the movie-maker, Sir Ridley Scott 'forgot' to mention what really triggered the start of the Crusades in 1096. It was the act of al-Hakim of the Cairo caliphate who tored down the Chrustian Church in Jerusalem (see my article on Pax islamica in this blog) in 1009. This broke the 200 year old treaty between Emperor Charlemagne and the Abbasid caliph, Harun al-Rashid. This began the slide and year after year, more and more Christians minorities were abused by Muslim majorities, until by 1070, the Muslim Turks who took Jerusalem destroyed the Christian army of Constantinople. It was this concern that led the Christians of the East to ask for help from the Christians of the West. While I do not condone the Christian Crusades (our God does not come with swords to murder), I am peeved that movie after movie take license with history and hit the easy target, Christians (because we also do not practice fatwa). No, do not boycott. See the movie. Just be aware that the truth of real history is difficult enough, let us not let Hollywood teach us history.

All the same, enjoy the CGI and Jeremy irons folks.



jacksons said...

hmmm, maybe we should look for creative Christian version of the fatwa, where blood is not shed, but the offenders will be sorry...

The Hedonese said...

Peter told our class that "Jesus, the very thought of Thee" was in the lips of Crusaders, even as they marched into the Middle East, leaving a trail of death and mayhem that would taint His name for centuries.

There is nothing wrong with the theology of St Bernard of Clairvaux's song. It sounds 'hedonese' to me.

But it reminds us that our gospel proclamation is seriously defective if we care nothing for peace, social reconciliation, racial harmony and political process where the voice of oppressed gets heard via non-violent means... especially in this increasingly-violent 'global village'.

Words: Bernard of Clairvaux, twelfth century;
trans. Edward Caswall, 1849

Jesus, the very thought of thee
with sweetness fills the breast;
but sweeter far thy face to see,
and in thy presence rest.

No voice can sing, no heart can frame,
nor can the memory find,
a sweeter sound than Jesus' Name,
the Savior of mankind.

O hope of every contrite heart,
O joy of all the meek,
to those who fall, how kind thou art:
how good to those who seek!

But what to those who find? Ah, this
nor tongue nor pen can show;
the love of Jesus, what it is,
none but who love him know.

Jesus, our only joy be thou,
as thou our prize wilt be;
in thee be all our glory now,
and through eternity.

jacksons said...

Yup, though I see a great mistake in the crusades, I think many have given us a very incomplete picture of it, and I really appreciate Ron's contribution on this. The crusades were bad, but in some ways, it was a lesser of two evils? How far would Islam have gone, if not for the "Christian" armies? Saying that, though I am not a pacifist, I think, alot of greed from Rome was a driving force for the crusades as well - which is disgusting!

Sze Zeng said...

Hopefully will be able to catch that movie next week when the price has been reduced.

I always enjoy serious wars of the ancients.

jacksons said...

Check out Boh Tea's blog on the movie at

R Choong said...

Check out Kingdom of Heaven when the DVD version comes out with over a hour extra.
Watched Ridley Scott being interviewed by Charlies Rose on PBS TV last night (May 10th). He said that as an agnostic, he feels he has the artistic right to change history in a movie and introduce his ideals of tolerance since he does not believe that God exists anyway. He wants to shaow that both Christians and Muslims believe in the same God so the fighting was unnecessary. Of course, he was mistaken. islam is a monotheistic religion while Christianity is trinitarian. We refer to the same creator described in the same texts but we do not worship the same description of God. Hence, while it is true to say the referent in the two faiths are the same (God of the Scriptures), the identity is NOT of the same God. Just because my friend calls my friend describes my curry chicken as a tuna salad does not make my curry a salad. He saw my curry and he knows I call it curry but he tells others that what I am eating is fish and vegetables instead of chicken and potatoes. NOT the same meal even if both descriptions REFER to the same thing being eaten. One of us has to be wrong.

jacksons said...

Check out my take on the movie at