Act of Faith held on February 6, 1481

Religious fanaticism and fundamentalism of all times

In the United States of America lots of people cry “murder and fire” and say Muslims are killing so many Christians in the hope to exterminate the Christian Faith. Their fear is ungrounded. Those Americans do forget it are not “The Muslims” but just fanatical Islamic terrorists, like the world also knows of such Christian fundamentalists. They also overlook that Daesh/ISIS/ISIL kills more Muslims than it kills Christians, so they do much more damage to the Islamic faith than to Christian faith.

Lots of Christians have forgotten what the crusaders and soldiers of the inquisition have done of damage to many people cross Europe and Asia. They where of the same breed as Al-qaeda, Daesh, Boko Haram, and contemporary fundamentalist Muslims and fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Buddhists.

In the thirteenth century Pope Innocent III and Pope Gregory IX established the dreaded institution to combat heretical groups and gave an easy instrument or weapon in the hands of rivals so that they could kill the ones standing in competition and to get their treasures, enabling them to enrich their own convent or cleric group.

Those in charge of the inquisition were so violently we can not imagine how lots of innocent people had to suffer greatly. The severity of both the questioning and the punishment is not so far off from the techniques used today in Africa and the Middle East. Like today those charged had no rights granted and those who came in the defence of the accused made them selves vulnerable and next prey of the inquisitors. Those who “snitched” on them could do so secretly. A victim was not permitted to challenge the witnesses against him or her.

In the country where for 7 centuries people of Jewish-, Christian- and Muslim- faith could live in peace and wealth under Muslim rulership,beautiful constructions where made and science developed magically. The Muslim Empire extended from North Africa to the Chinese border and in all the regions the people where allowed to have their own religion and where appreciated for their own craftsmanship.  Thanks to the Moors we also got citrus, avocado and other exotic crops which quickly spread across Europe. The Moors also introduced universal literacy and whilst the Greek philosophers were not wanted or allowed by the Papists in Spain they could be freely read.

During the 12th century, scholars from all over Europe flocked to the great libraries at Toledo to translate (into Latin) classical Greek and Arabic texts. These scholars would introduce a new approach to knowledge, based on rational inquiry, that would inspire the founding of prestigious universities at Oxford, Paris and elsewhere.

The wealth of the south was a thorn in the eye and Christian armies from northern Spain managed slowly to retake Moorish cities from their Muslim rules. By 1250, only Grenada at the southern tip of Spain remained under Muslim rule.

IsabellaofCastile03.jpg

Isabella I Queen of Castile wife of Ferdinand II of Aragon

File:Torquemada.jpg

Grand Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada

When the Queen of Castille, Isabella married the king of Aragon (her second cousin Ferdinand) their armies  succeeded to seize Grenada so that Spain could be unified in 1479. But they where not so at ease and were almost paranoid with fear of revolt. This made them highly susceptible to the whispers of the queen’s confessor, the Dominican Tomas de Torquemada. Of Jewish origin himself, he told her that Christianized Jews were secretly practising their Hebrew faith and corrupting good Christians. Isabella horrified and frightened asked the pope for permission to establish the inquisition in Spain, which was granted.

In his capacity as grand inquisitor, Torquemada reorganized the Spanish Inquisition, which had been set up in Castile in 1478, establishing tribunals at Sevilla (Seville), Jaén, Córdoba, Ciudad Real, and, later, Zaragoza. For him all sorts of ‘other behaviour’ where good to make some one suspicious and to torture people. Not only so called crimes of heresy and apostasy but also sorcery, sodomy, polygamy, blasphemy, usury, and other offences where punished hard. Our Christian brothers who like Jews and Muslims only believed in the One True God became now also persecuted in the south of Europe.

Torquemada’s implacable hostility to the Jews probably exercised an influence on the decision of Ferdinand and Isabella to expel from their dominions all Jews who had not embraced Christianity. Under the edict of March 31, 1492, more than 40,000 Jews left Spain.

In all cases of doubt torture was authorized in order to obtain evidence and under continuous sadistic torture, suspects incriminated other people. These in turn accused almost anyone they could think of just to please their captors and win a reprieve from their torment. Every confession added to the alarm of the Catholic king and queen, suggesting widespread corruption of the Christian faith.

The first Spanish “Auto da fe” (meaning “Act of Fait.)” was held on this day February 6, 1481, when six men and six women, who refused to repent of alleged backsliding, were burned at the stake. They were but the first. 13,000 “heretics” were tried in the first twelve years of the Spanish Inquisition. The number of burnings of so called “heretics” at the stake during Torquemada’s tenure has been estimated at about 2,000. Dressed in a penitent’s gown, they were marched in processionals to the stake and urged to repent even as they were bound for the ordeal. Those who confessed were strangled before the fire was lit. Those who refused to admit wrongdoing, or who defiantly clung to their “heresies” were burned alive.

The Spanish Inquisition ran for 327 years and was not abolished until 1808, during the brief reign of Joseph Bonaparte. In those three centuries, close to 32,000 people perished in the flames. About 300,000 others were forced to make some kind of reconciliation with the church. Even the 1808 “end” to the Spanish Inquisition wasn’t really the end. Incredible as it may seem, King Ferdinand VII re-established the dreadful apparatus in 1814! Six years later, revolution swept it away, but that did not mean all hostility against other believers than Roman Catholics had gone.

Today in several countries we see again some people who call themselves ‘Christian’ to stand up and demanding to fight against those who belief differently than them. Mainly from North America are messages or text spread with false messages, trying to have others believe that Europe is totally invade by Muslims who molest or attack European women.

The apparatus of the inquisition which was not restricted to Europe got exported it to the new world by Spain, where Mexican and Peruvian authorities burned men and women to death, starting in the sixteenth century. Portuguese priests also operated an inquisition in South America, Goa, India. and today there are fundamentalist preachers and neo-Nazis who cry for a new religious war against those who do not have the same faith as they.

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Additional reading

  1. Inquisition also bad for Jews
  2. A dialogue about the earth moving and spinning around the sun
  3. Not true or True Catholicism and True Islam
  4. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #1 Christian Reform
  5. Anti-church movements and Humanism
  6. Propaganda war and ISIS
  7. Is the practice of religious freedom in danger in the United States of America
  8. Mean voices on the Internet and free speech

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2 thoughts on “Act of Faith held on February 6, 1481

  1. Pingback: Christian fundamentalists feeding Into the Toxic Partisanship and driving countries into the Dark Ages… #2 | Stepping Toes

  2. Pingback: Matthew 13:33 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Fermented Whole | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

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