The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Christianization: "Thou shalt not kill"

February 14, 2005, 12:57 am

"Thou shalt not kill"
(6th commandment of the Christian religion)

Around the year 4BC (our counting has started too late!) a child was born in Bethlehem in the Roman province of Judea, this child was named Josua ("Iesus" in Greek), whether or not Jesus Christ was really the son of the Jewish/Christian god Jahweh (or Jehova) is irrelevant since many people think differently about this subject, therefor I shall leave this matter untouched.

The historical Jesus Christ did probably really exist because he is mentioned in Roman accounts and other historical documents, in my opinion Jesus was not the son of a god but just a very special person who left an eternal impression on the people around him which resulted in his worship, sorry if this is blasphemy.

The spreading of Christianity:

The followers of Jesus became the first Christians who were initially severely persecuted by the Romans who saw them as rebels who opposed Roman rule, followers of Christianity were killed, tortured, and socially isolated, just like their descendants later did to the heathens, during this period the Christians had to practice their religion in secrecy and they often used secret signs to recognize eachother, an example is the Latin abbreviation INRI, which stands for "Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum" (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews), the Christian fish symbol is also a remnant of this time, the Greek word for "fish" is "ichtus", which is an abbreviation for "Iesus CHristos Theou Uious Soter" (Jesus Christ, Son of God, our Savior).

For a long time Christianity was just one of the many religions in the Roman empire that were continuously fought by the Roman authorities, this changed when the Roman emperor Constantine converted his empire to Christianity in 312AD; he was at war with his rival Maxentius and he feared that he would lose, his Christian friends advised him to pray to their god, which he did, and at night he got a vision in which he saw the Christian cross symbol hanging in the sky with the words "In hoc signo vinces" (In this sign you will be victorious) around it.
The next day he ordered his army to carry a banner with the Christian cross on it after which they attacked and emerged victorious, this battle became known as the battle of the Milvian Bridge, after the battle he started converting his empire to Christianity and soon the new religion was spread throughout the Roman empire, Constantine did not convert himself though; he kept believing in the Roman gods and he mainly used Christianity as a way to bind his empire together and control the people, at his deathbed he eventually allowed a priest to baptize him, though it was rumoured that he only did that for a declaration of holyness.
Although Constantine wasn't exactly a loyal and pious Christian the Christian religion owes everything to him; if he wouldn't have converted the Roman empire to Christianity it would have probably never reached the position it now holds in the world.

In the years thereafter Christianity slowly became the most influential religion of the Roman empire and soon the tables were turned; now it were the non-Christians who were persecuted and people were prohibited to believe in anything other than Christianity.

Ways of conversion:

During the last days of the Roman empire the Romans had already converted many Germanic tribes to Christianity, this was done with political pressure, economical pressure, or simply by force; very few heathens converted themselves out of free will.

Many Germans saw Christianity as a foreign religion that the Romans only used to keep the people under their control and Germans who converted to Christianity were seen as Roman lackeys, the Goths for instance called their Christian tribesmen "followers of the Romans".

When a Christian empire controlled a new area they simply prohibited the heathen religion so that the only religion one could have was Christianity, people who had converted themselves were left alone but anyone who thought differently could lose his head so after a few generations the people did not knew any better than that Christianity was their religion, important jobs were only given to Christians and heathens were excluded from almost anything, via this way many people were slowly converted.

After the downfall of the Roman empire a new dominant faction emerged from the ashes; the Franconian empire, which used Christianity as a political tool to hold the empire together just like the Romans had done.

At the end of the Roman dominance over Europe many Germanic tribes were still heathen, in the centuries thereafter most of the tribes would be submitted and converted by the Franconian empire, of which I shall now give some examples:

The conversion of Belgium:

Large parts of what is now Belgium were annexed by the Franconians in 486AD, the Franconians were Arian Christians but in 496AD they adopted Catholicism, when the influence of the Franconian empire grew many of the free tribes in Belgium were also annexed and converted to Christianity, especially the missionary st.Amand played an important role in that and he spent most of his life travelling through Flanders to convert the people, everywhere he came he destroyed holy offeringstones and baptized people, with his Irish helpers he built a monastery on the place where the river Alnon flows into the Scarpe (in modern French-Flanders) and the monk Omaar founded a "bisdom" (diocese) in Terwaan, st.Amand also built a monastery and church in Gent that he called the "st.Baafs", after that he started preaching in the area around Antwerpen where he was given a church by a Franconian nobleman.

Although the Christianization of Belgium was not as bloody as in most other places there was still quite some resistance against it, many ancient heathen sanctuaries were destroyed and any resisters were killed, eventually the words of the missionaries, backed up by Franconian swords, succeeded into converting Belgium to Christianity.

Northwestern Europe, 8th century AD The conversion of the Frisians:
After converting the tribes of what is now Belgium the Franconian king Dagobert moved the Franconian army from the Hettergouw in Belgium northwards into what is now the southern part of the Netherlands, he conquered the former Batavian capital of Nijmegen and crossed the Rhine, most areas north of the Rhine were in Frisian hands at that moment except the lands east of the IJssel, which were Saxon, Dagobert defeated the Frisians and conquered the cities of Uitregt (Utrecht) and Dorestad (no longer exists), this southern Frisian lands were added to the Franconian empire and near the former Roman castellum in Utrecht he built a church that he dedicated to st.George (st.Maarten in Dutch), he gave this church to the bishop of Cologne (Köln/Keulen) so that he had a base of operations to Christianize the Frisians from.

In the beginning everything went as planned and even the mighty Frisian king Redbad (also known as Radbod or Radboud) was prepared to be baptized, but when Redbad already stood with one foot in the water of the baptizing font he asked one last question to the preacher Wolfram;

"What has become of my ancestors Wolfram? Has the god of the Christians taken the old Frisian heroes into heaven? Or are my heathen ancestors in hell now?", Wolfram thought about this and answered; "Because your ancestors were heathens they are all burning in hell now."

Immediately Redbad pulled his foot out of the water and angry he shouted to the priest; "Rather will I be with my ancestors in hell, than with some Christian beggar in heaven!", the furious Redbad walked out of the church and from that day forward he became a sworn enemy of Christianity, he prosecuted the few Christians that were already in his empire and most of them fled to the Franconian lands.

In the years thereafter king Redbad forged an alliance with the Saxons and together they liberated their lost territories in the south (Utrecht, Dorestad, and the coastal areas), the new church in Utrecht was razed to the ground and to thank the gods for their victory they hung some Christian prisoners in a Wodanstree.

The Franconians licked their wounds and years later the hofmeier (helper of the king) Pippine of Herstal invaded Frisia for the second time, king Redbad quickly amassed an army to defend his homeland but he was defeated by the Franconians at Dorestad and the Frisians had no choice but to accept the peaceterms of the Franconians; all Frisian lands south of the Veluwe had to be given to the Franconians, they had to pay tribute, and had to accept the Christianization of their lost southern territories, to seal the agreement Redbad's daughter Theodewinde had to marry Pippin's son Grimoald.

Around 690AD the Anglo-Saxon missionary Willibrord came over to convert the Frisians and he asked king Redwald for permission to preach in all of Frisia, including the parts that were not under Franconian rule, but Redwald didn't even dream of doing such a thing and he answered; "No!", so Willibrord went to the southern (Franconian-controlled) part of Frisia, in Utrecht he built a new church next to the debris of the old st.George church and dedicated it to Jesus, after that he immediately started his missionary work and started destroying heathen idols and temples, on the island of Walcheren in the modern province of Zeeland he destroyed an offeringstone of the godess Nehalennia, the heathen templeguard (whose task it was to protect the temple) stood up for his godess and stormed with his sword towards Willibrord, but the swordblow only grazed Willibrord's head and wondrously he survived, three days later the templeguard suddenly died (he was probably killed by the followers of Willibrord) but the Frisians considered this a sign of the strength of the Christian god and many of them converted.

Despite this most Frisians in the occupied areas north of Utrecht stayed heathen and stubbornly refused to convert to Christianity, Willibrord also traveled to this place and baptized a few defected Frisians in a holy heathen well, the Frisians became so angry about this sacrilege that they demanded a human sacrifice to reimburse their gods, Willibrord and his helpers had to throw a dice to determine who had to be sacrificed, the loser was sacrificed according to the standard ritual that was used in the coastal areas of Germania; on the beach he was buried in the sand to his neck and had to wait until the flood took his life.
Around 714 AD Pippine died and a succession war broke out in the Franconian empire, this was the moment king Redbad had been waiting for and together with the Saxons and some Franconian nobles he invaded the Franconian territories, he liberated many lands but left the churches untouched, probably because he had promised that to the Franconian nobles who helped him, eventually Redbad was defeated by Charles Martel at Dorestad in 718 and he lost most of the southern territories again.

In 719AD the brave Frisian king Redbad died, much to the relief of the Christian missionaries who immediately took advantage of this by starting their Christianization of Frisia, one of the most famous missionaries was called Bonifatius, who didn't come to Frisia because he was too busy in Germany at that moment, during his work there he eventually ended up in Geismar in Hessen (modern Germany) where a holy thousand year old tree was worshipped, the tree was dedicated to the thundergod Donar (Thunar/Thor) and was hung full of animal skulls, probably from animals that had been sacrificed to Donar, Bonifatius and his helpers took their axes and chopped for hours until finally the enormous tree collapsed, from its wood they built a church that was dedicated to the apostle Petrus (Peter).

In the meantime the Frisians desperately tried to keep their freedom and religion and in 734 they revolted under their duke Bubo (also known as Poppo), but they were utterly defeated by the Franconian hofmeier Charles Martel and they lose a big part of the Frisian empire all the way up to the Lauwerszee; the power of the Frisian empire had been broken.

After his work in Germany Bonifatius came to Frisia to once and for all destroy the heathen religion there, with armed escorts he preached in every village he came across and everywhere he came he destroyed heathen temples and sanctuaries, on June 5, 754 he ended up at the city of Dokkum where the people worshipped a tree dedicated to Wodan, Bonifatius chopped down the holy tree but the Frisians became so angry about it that he had to flee, somewhere outside the city Bonifatius was caught and as a last resort he held the bible over his head and asked his god for protection, but nothing happened and a Frisian sword cleaved right through the bible into Bonifatius' head.

After his death Bonifatius became a martyr and the Christians took revenge by creating a carnage amongst the Frisian heathens, the resistance had been broken and in the years thereafter Frisia was slowly converted to Christianity.

The conversion of the Saxons by Charlemagne The conversion of the Saxons:
After the conversion of the Frisians the missionaries turned their attentions towards the Saxons, who lived in the Netherlands east of the river IJssel all the way to the river Elbe in Germany, the areas directly east of the IJssel were targeted first by the Anglo-Saxon missionary Liafwin, he went to the city of Deventer and built a church there, but angry Saxons burned it to the ground shortly thereafter, when Liafwin heard of this he even had the guts to go to the yearly Saxon folk assembly where he asked reimbursement for his destroyed church, as you can imagine the Saxons became outraged by this insolence and Liafwin could only barely escape with his life.

Just like the Frisians the Saxons also refused to abandon their native religion so eventually the Franconians decided to convert them with force, in 772AD Charlemagne launched an offensive against the Saxons and deeply penetrated into their land, at the city of Paderborn in western Falia he destroyed the Irminsul (meaning:"enormous-pillar"), a massive wooden pillar that the Saxons worshipped as the supporter of the world, it was probably a symbolical version of the Yggdrasil, the world-tree that was believed to support the nine worlds of Germanic mythology.

After having destroyed the Irminsul the Franconians stole all gold and silver treasures from the Saxon temples and sanctuaries, they also tried to destroy the nearby Externsteine but did not succeed in this and after that they forced the Saxons to be baptized, but when Charlemagne and his army had left the Saxons quickly restored the Irminsul and swore loyalty to their native gods again.

After Charlemagne's attack on the Saxons the Langobardians rebelled against Franconian rule which forced Charlemagne to move to the south to quell the rebellion, the Saxons took their chance and invaded the Franconian empire to revenge the humiliation of their gods, when Charlemagne heard of this he returned and ordered 4000 innocent Saxons to be decapitated, men, women, children, and old people were randomly selected and killed in front of their families, this caused him even more problems because the Frisians became so angry when they heard of this mass slaughter that they rebelled against the Franconians too, even king Götfrik of the Danes supported the Saxon struggle for freedom.

Despite all the support the Saxons were no match for the powerful Franconian army and the Saxon king Widukind decided to save his people from any further killings by accepting to be baptized and acknowledging Charlemagne's rule, this established an uncertain peace that lasted for a short time after which the Saxons tried to regain their freedom again; they returned to their old religion and attacked the Franconians to liberate themselves from their opression, after a long war Charlemagne defeated the Saxons and drove them out of the Rhineland during a big ethnic cleansing, replacing them with loyal Franconians, thousands of Saxons were scattered and deported to the heart of the empire where they could no longer rebel against Franconian rule and he appointed loyal Franconians as the new leaders of the Saxons; after 30 years of war and mass genocide the Saxons were defeated and converted to Christianity, one of the most powerful Germanic tribes had lost its freedom and soon most of mainland Europe was converted and became a part of the Franconian empire, the Saxons did not disappear from history but became a rich and powerful province in the north of the empire; the people of modern Great Britain, eastern Netherlands, and western Germany are direct descendants of this people who chose to fight for their freedom and their right to practice their own religion.

The conversion of the Anglo-Saxons:

When pope Gregorius visited the slavemarket in Rome he saw "large slaves with white faces and long hair", when he asked someone who those people were he was told that they were heathens from the tribe of the Anglians.

He then spoke; "I shall make angels out of the Anglians and their hearts will be like their faces", he then sent a group of monks to England (which was called "Anglia" in that time) where they converted Aethelbehrt, the king of Kent.
The heathen king was baptized and Augustinus became the first Christian bishop of England, Kent became a base of operations for the conversion of England and in the years thereafter the country was Christianized, this was often met with heavy resistance and most of the conversions were reached with violence, in 655AD the last heathen king of England (Penda) died in battle and all of England was Christianized.

The conversion of Iceland:

The people of Iceland have been heathens for a very long time, even when most of Europe was already Christianized they still worshipped their own gods, this changed when Olaf Tryggvason became king of Norway, a country where Iceland also belonged to in that time.

King Olaf sent the missionary Thangbrand to Iceland to convert the people but after he had landed in Gautavik he was received by a very angry population, the people even refused to trade or sell goods to them and he was not welcome in anyone's house, something that was very uncommon in the hospitable heathen society, eventually a man named Hall allowed Thangbrand and his helper to stay in his house.
Hall and his family were converted to Christianity and together they travelled through Iceland to convert more people, in Stafafell Thangbrand was challenged to a duel by a man named Thorkel and he defeated him while using a Christian cross as his shield, after the battle he claimed that his god was on his side and many people were converted.

In Kerlingardal the people were worried about the success of the new religion and a magic user called Hedin brought a blót (offering) to the god Thor and asked him to do something about it, whether it was really Thor or just coincidence is not sure but shortly thereafter the earth under Thangbrand suddenly cracked open and his horse disappeared into the depths, Thangbrand himself also fell in it but he could grab the side of the rift and was rescued by his followers, who later killed the magic user to prevent him from asking for more help from the gods.
Some time later Thangbrand and his followers reached Fljotshlid, but they were opposed by a poet named Vetrlidi who refused to abandon his gods, so they killed him, the missionary travelled onwards and at Grimsness they were awaited by Thorvald the Ailing and a group of heathens who tried to ambush them, but a traitor from their own group warned the Christians and the heathens were defeated.

Thangbrand reached the Alþing where his follower Hjalti Skeggjason composed a poem:

I dare mock the gods.
I believe that Freyja is a bitch,
And that Odin is a dog,
Or else the other way around.

For this poem Hjalti Skeggjason was declared an outlaw by the heathen þing and not long therafter Thangbrand's ship was demolished, the heathens believed that Thor had crushed it with his hammer, but Thangbrand replied by saying; "Thor lives only at the will of the Christian God. Without my God's permission, Thor would be nothing but dust and ashes.".

When Thangbrand's ship had finally been repaired he returned to Norway and told king Olaf about the bad treatment he had gotten from the Icelanders, so king Olaf arrested all Icelanders in Norway and put them in jail, in Iceland the heathens and Christians were on the brink of a war but a respected heathen priest called Thorgeir came with a new rule that all Icelanders accepted by oath; officially Iceland would become a Christian country and all Icelanders would convert to Christianity, but in private they were still allowed to worship their own gods as long as nobody would see that.

But some years later the new law was made more strict and all heathen practices were forbidden, even in private, the Icelanders became angry with Thorgeir because he had betrayed them, but because they had all sworn an oath they could do nothing about it anymore since breaking an oath was considered a severe crime.
Under the new law Christians had more rights than heathens and most heathen leaders in Iceland had no choice but to accept Christianity because otherwise they would be politically isolated by the other countries, there were also many countries that refused to trade with heathens so converting had become almost a necessity.

Combination of a heathen hammer symbol and a Christian cross symbol (silver, 10th century AD) Other ways of conversion:

Although violence was the most common way to convert people there were also other ways of forcing the Christian religion upon the people; lands that were not under military control were visited by missionaries who tried to convert the people with preaches and propaganda, they had studied the heathen customs and tried to "fit" Christianity into it, many aspects of the heathen religion were replaced by their Christian counterparts; the celebration of the Winter Solstice (Jól) was held around the same period when the Christians celebrated the birth of Christ so Jól became Christmas and the heathen customs were mixed with the Christian ones, the Summer Solstice celebrations (Ostara) coincided with the period of Christ's death and resurrection, the Germanic earthgodess and some other fertility godesses were equalled to the Christian mother Mary while many other gods were demonized or equalled to biblical figures and saints, spirits became demons and servants of Satan, etc.

Some Christian missionaries were so fanatical in their work that they did the weirdest things to convert the people, some funny examples can be found in ancient texts in which priests climbed cliffs and sprinkled holy water on them to chase away the "demons" (Alfen or Landwights) that inhabited them, other priests ordered soldiers to throw people into a local river to "baptize" them.
Many local referations to the heathen religion were changed into Christian ones, for instance a village named after a Germanic god was often renamed after a Christian saint and holidays dedicated to heathen gods or supernatural beings were Christianized by re-dedicating them to a saint or by mixing Christian rituals through them.

When the Franconians subjected the Frisians they had great difficulties converting them to Christianity which caused them to make some radical decisions, they even renamed entire cities because many Frisian cities had heathen names, nowadays most of the Frisian place names are of Franconian origin, this did not occur in the province of Drenthe (to the southeast of Frisia) where most place names are still of heathen origin, other Dutch provinces where place names were changed are Noord-Brabant and Limburg where a lot of cities are named after Christian saints.

One of the problems in converting the people was the Christian "inherited sin" theory, which stated that all humans were evil in nature and were born as sinners because they inherited the sin Adam and Eve had conducted by eating the apple in the paradise of Eden, only by converting to Christianity and accepting Christ as your saviour you could lift yourself from this burden and save your soul, (nowadays this theory is still used to convert people, especially by Jehova's witnessess) this was difficult to understand by heathens since their religion did not share this belief; in their belief every person was born innocent and was responsible for his or her own deeds, Christianity also saw nature as something inferior that had to be overcome to ascend to higher levels while in the heathen religion nature was worshipped as the mother of all life, the heathens also had difficulties understanding the Christian ideas of forgiveness and "turning the other cheek"; in their belief it was normal to defend yourself against threats and evil had to be punished with evil, propagating weakness and being proud of it was considered unnatural.

Viking tricks:

In the 9th century AD the Christian missionary Ansgar travelled to Jutland in Denmark where he tried to convert the Danes, but most Danes refused to adopt Christianity so Ansgar was having a rather tough job there.

In 826AD Ansgar finally booked some results and the Danish king Heriold travelled to Ingelheim with his family and 400 followers to be baptized, in exchange for his conversion the Franconians gave him parts of Ostfriesland (Germany) and Walcheren (the Netherlands), later Heriold was also given the diocese of Hamburg (Germany), this was exactly what king Heriold had hoped for and as soon as he had gotten everything he wanted he swore loyalty to his heathen gods again, he even allowed other Vikings to destroy the church in Hamburg in which Ansgar could only barely escape.

King Heriold also had a son called Godfried who liked going on plunder raids, one day he invaded the Franconian empire to plunder the area that is now the Netherlands but the Franconians managed to encircle Godfried and his army near the city of Elsloo, the Vikings took a defensive position in a nearby stronghold where they were surrounded by the Franconian army, they managed to hold out for days but eventually the Vikings realized they had no chance of winning and would be destroyed if they wouldn't surrender themselves, however, Godfried remembered the trick his father used years ago and he came up with a cunning plan; he told the Franconians that he wanted to negotiate and he promised them a peace treaty and that he would convert to Christianity, the Franconians took the bait and lost their chance to gain a great victory, they even gave Godfried a huge sum of money and the hand of a Franconian princess, he was also given some land and the title of duke.

With his trick Godfried managed to change an enormous defeat into a great victory and the laughing Vikings left unchallenged, en passant they also plundered the city of Deventer and after that they left for their homeland loaded with loot, officially Godfried was now a Christian Franconian duke but in reality he was still a heathen Norseman.

The Franconians themselves were not stupid either of course and they quickly realized that Godfried had played a trick on them and that he wasn't such a devoted Christian at all, years later some Franconian nobles decided to get rid of him and with an excuse he was lured into a trap and cowardly assassinated, one of the murderers was earl Gerulf, who had served under Godfried, and as a reward for the murder he was given a piece of land that was called "Holtland" (Wood-land), his heraldic sign was a dragon that later changed into a lion and Holtland became "Holland"...

Christian subreligions:
Many Germanic tribes who were converted to Christianity chose for Arianism, which was a subgroup within the Christian church that was created by Arius who believed that Jesus was created out of nothing instead if being born out of a virgin, because of his innocence Jahweh (which is Hebrew for "I am who I am") adopted him as his son, which meant that Jesus was not Jahweh's real son and thus he was not equal to his father.

One of the first Germanic tribes that abandoned Arianism and swore loyalty to the pope were the Franconians and it was from their empire that the word of the pope was spread over the other tribes, for the Franconians it did not matter whether a tribe was heathen or Arianist Christian, they saw the pope's version of Christianity as the only true Christian belief, of course they were supported by the pope who worked against their enemies and supported them with money, though the Franconians themselves declared that god was on their side during their victories.

The Christian church was later divided into an Eastern Orthodox group (eastern europe and Byzantium) that was lead by the patriarch, and "European" Christianity that had the pope as its leader and believed that the pope was appointed by Peter (or Petrus) as Jesus' representative on earth, this subgroup had much in common with Catholicism and it is from this group that Catholicism originates.
In a much later period a new Christian subgroup emerged; Protestantism, the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism is that Protestantism does not acknowledge the pope, another aspect of Protestantism is that it is very sober compared to the rituals and visual grandeur of the Catholic church, an interesting thing to mention is that Protestantism is almost exclusively practiced in the Germanic countries.

During the Middle Ages the popes began to behave like Roman emperors, there was a new pope almost every month and some of them did not even had a priest diploma, most clergymen weren't sweethearts either and constantly tried to expand their power and did not always live according to the Christian rules; there are examples of bishops who seduced the daughters of heathen kings and Bonifatius even refused to sit at one table with the Franconian bishops because they drank and cursed too much, pope John (or Johannus) XII even died of a heartattack while he was making love to his mistress...

In Medieval times the Christian church was at the hight of its power; church, state, and laws were not separated but intertwined into a big network in which someone who was accused of herecy was immediately executed after a show trial, everybody who did not believe in Christianity or in the "right" subgroup of this religion was burned alive at the stake, people who were paranormally gifted or practiced heathen forms of magic were considered "witches" and in many countries the Inquisition was responsible for killing thousands of innocent people, especially Jews and Muslims were persecuted by this paranoid dictatorial system, if Jesus really existed then I wonder what he would have said about this...

Before I continue I would like to say that I am not attacking the Christian religion or its practitioners, the purpose of this page is to inform people about historical facts, and it's a fact that the leaders of the Christian church totally abused their power during the Middle Ages, modern Christianity can not be compared to Medieval Christianity of course.

Gargoyles on the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France During the Middle Ages most preaches were read in Latin, a language that most common people could not understand, therefor a visit to the church at sunday was mostly a social obligation.

The gap between the church and the people was enormous, since most people couldn't understand Latin some priests translated biblical texts into the local language, something our modern linguisticians are still happy about since it preserved many ancient languages, because most people were illiterate the church also hired artists to depict biblical stories in pictures and paintings.
In the early Middle Ages churches were mostly built in Romanesque style, especially in northern Europe this style was often combined with sculptures of dragons and demons that were remnants of the former heathen religion.
Later a new style was introduced that was heavily influenced by the Islamic building styles the crusaders had encountered in the Middle East, some people saw this new style as "barbarous" so it was nicknamed "Gothic", which referred to the "barbarian" Goths, beautiful cathedrals were built in this new style that still used some Germanic influences like gargoyles and typically Germanic ornaments.
Every city wanted to have the most beautiful church and the highest tower, and many cities often tried to reflect their piety in their church, this resulted in some of the most beautiful buildings on earth (my opinion of course), a bishop once said;"A cathedral is a prayer in stone."

Whether or not the Christianization of Europe was something positive or not should be left to one's personal judgement, but unfortunately the crimes committed during this process are often left out of the history books so therefor I have decided to write down the truth on this page without any lies or exaggerations, our ancestors who were killed because of their faith are now silent but their descendants will speak for them so that the injustice that was done to them will never be forgotten.


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