Imagine this: A copper boot is fastened onto your foot. You are then asked by Church officials to confess to the “evils” of witchcraft, to being in league with Satan. Are you a witch? Maybe you are. Maybe you’re a Christian. You could be. It really didn’t matter. Perhaps you simply pissed off a neighbor or spoke out against the authorities, and so you’ve been charged as a heretic.
Do you confess? If you aren’t a witch, or if you are a pagan, why would you confess to evildoing, to being in league with Satan, in whom you don’t even believe? And if you’re a Christian, well, of course you’re not going to confess to witchcraft; that’d be blasphemy!
So you deny the charges. Slowly, molten lead or boiling oil is poured into the boot on your foot. What does that feel like? What does it do to your foot? What does it do to your mind? How long can you stand it before you ‘confess’? And once you do confess, how many names – of enemies, friends, family – will you give the Inquisitioners before they stop pouring the lead?
Just as with the Holocaust in the 20th century, many would have us believe that the Inquisition never happened. So many records have been destroyed that the number of people murdered in the name of the Church cannot even be determined. Estimates have been made as high as 9 million and as “low” as 100,000.
The torture methods were inhumane – barbarically so. Tongues were sliced out of people’s mouths, toenails pried off by having wooden wedges driven beneath them, skin was peeled from people’s bodies and salt rubbed into the raw flesh, an implement known as The Iron Spider was heated to red-hot and then used to tear the breasts from women, and most people are familiar with the Rack and the Iron Maiden.
“Witches” were not the only targets of the Inquisition – Jews, Greeks, Gypsies – anyone who didn’t adhere to the “rules” of the Christian Church were “hunted,” charged, tortured, and murdered. And despite what many believe, it wasn’t all based on religious beliefs – sometimes it was merely a case of one person having something that someone else wanted – what better way to get rid of your neighbor than to accuse him/her of heresy? Nonetheless, it was an atrocity – not for pagans, not for Jews, not for Gypsies – but for mankind. It wasn’t “God” who ordered people killed, it wasn’t by Divine inspiration that the Church heads tortured and murdered these people. It was a battle for “control” – for “power” – waged in the way mankind has always waged battles – with death, torture, destruction, and repression.
How can the Inquisition be denied so vehemently? How can we possibly believe that it never happened? Well, the lack of public records does contribute to that. Without records, it is easy to “think” that the Inquisition never took place. And the Holocaust? No, we’re supposed to believe that never happened either. I’ve seen the photos and films of the Holocaust. It apalls me that we as humans would allow the “rumor” that these atrocities never occurred to continue.
Throughout history, events such as the Inquisition and the Holocaust have taken place. We think we’ve become more civilized since then. But have we really? What about Hiroshima? The Holocaust? Slavery? The hunting and destruction of the “savage” Native Americans?
A lot of religions breed hatred and rage among their followers while preaching about love and honor. Anyone who does not follow “their” way is evil and must therefore be destroyed. Organized religion seems to have done more harm than good, and it blows my mind that they don’t realize that they are destroying what they claim to believe.
America was founded on the principles of freedom – freedom of expression, freedom from oppression, freedom of speech, freedom of religion. And yet still to this day, humans ostracize other humans based upon many factors – skin color, ethnicity, sexual preferences, spiritual beliefs, social standing, etc. Until we all can learn to live together as one race – the human race – how can we possibly hope to never repeat the egregious errors of history?