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The Bible

How many people did Christians kill?

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May 13, 2012 10:49PM

A:

We will never know how many people Christians have killed because they were not Christians, because Christians merely thought they were not Christians, or because they were Christians but simply of the wrong sect of Christianity.

From the time of Emperor Theodosius at the end of the fourth century, or even earlier, non-Christians could be killed simply for worshipping the old gods. Christian hordes could attack pagans who stood in their way, and pagans could be arrested and executed merely for looking at the religious statues smashed by the mobs. Non-Christian belief was to become an offence punishable by death, with only the Jews exempt.

In the year 782 alone, the Frankish king Charlemagne reputedly beheaded forty-five hundred Saxons who resisted his campaign of forced conversion to Christianity. He was rewarded for his piety in 800, when the Pope crowned him in Rome as Holy Roman Emperor.

The Inquisitions sought out for execution all those suspected of being Cathars (Gnostic Christians), witches or, in Spain, Jews or Muslims. Violence against unbelievers was acceptable and common. Actions against Arians and other 'heretics' offered historical precedents for the crusades which followed.

The Crusades brought new opportunities for slaughter. The First Crusade was successful in capturing Jerusalem. Rather than spare innocent civilians, even just Christians or perhaps Jews, the order was to slaughter the entire population and let God judge them in heaven.