The first crusade was mounted to specifically rescue the Holy Land, Jerusalem from the Muslims and return it to the Christian faith. Urged by Pope Urban II in 1095, who made an inspiration speech at Clermont in Southern France, even children, women and old men wanted to join the fight.
"According to Urban, the streets of Jerusalem ran with the blood of Christians, and Christianity’s holy places were being desecrated. Urban continued his speech with a call to the knights of Christendom to go and recapture Jerusalem for Christ."
The Crusades began with Pope Urban's speech at Clermont. This speech is widely regarded as one of the most damaging and unChristian speeches in the entire history of Christianity and the ensuing 200 years of crusades created a permanent violent mistrust between Muslims and Christians.
The election of Urban as pope was a very radical change of direction for the church. Before Pope Urban, the church had had a long period of practical, tolerant Popes, then suddenly this deeply intolerant man (with his supporters) became leader and whipped up popular hatred and violence. Urban introduced the ridiculous concept of 'holy war' and using twisted logic he justified the killing of non-christians as a holy act which would clean the killer's sins. (I wonder what Jesus would say about a priest who told people to murder for Christ?)
Urban told people that the 'Christian' Holy Land was brutally repressed by Muslims and that Christians sufferd terrible crimes. This was simply not true. But Urban said God demanded a war to drive out Muslims and Jews from that most holy place, Jerusalem.
The thing to remember about the crusades is that it was an invasion of wildmen from the north into civilised lands. 12th century Arabs were much more advanced than 12th century Europeans.
- Rescuing fellow Christians from invasion and persecution
- Conquering or retaking lands in the possession of Muslims
- Fulfilling personal vows to go on a crusade
To bring their religion forward, and to reown land that has been taken from them! :)