Reading Reaction




Accordingto the Roman Catholic Church, the purpose of the inquisitions was tofind, try and sentence those people whom the church believed to beguilty of heresy. The inquisition was supposed to secure and preservedoctrinal unity in the church and in the Roman Empire by convertingor persecuting those accused of heresy (Lea, 2005).

Otherthan this, the Inquisition also served the purpose of instilling fearin the hearts of people. The methods that were used to get people toconfess to heresy were inhumane. In some cases where torture wasused, people confessed just to avoid suffering. This fear alsostopped people from leaving the Catholic Church. The Cathers that haddone so initially were all wiped out leaving only one dominantreligion. The leaders of the church felt that it was safe for thechurch if other dominions or religious sects did not come up. Thisespecially applied if the new sect had a large number of followers.

Finally,the inquisition was used as a political tool for Rome to keep hold ofthe power it had in Europe. It united the people through religion andthis way, it was able to control them. Formation of groups such asthe Cathers would jeopardize this and the Roman Empire was notwilling to let this happen. However, the Protestants proved to be toomuch for the inquisition and this was the beginning of the fall forthe Roman Empire.

However,this is not the only religion where heretics have been prosecuted.Other religions have also engaged in prosecution, for example whenthe Muslims conquered the Indian sub continent, they killed very manyIndians because they considered them to be infidels. Those who werenot killed were converted. There is also persecution of the Jews byother religions as evidenced by incidences such as the 1066 Granadamassacre (Spencer, 2005). This is followed by the persecution ofSikhs in India by the Hindu mobs who could not tolerate thisreligion. Finally, there is persecution of atheists by all otherreligions. In some cases, especially in the Muslim religion, this wasan offense punishable by death.

Anotherhistorical incidence almost similar to the Inquisition is the witchhunt of England. Circumstances were almost similar because thoseaccused of witchcraft would be burned or hanged. Factors that mighthave to someone informing on a neighbor were mainly fear and judgmentof behavior. When someone saw that a neighbor acted in a suspiciousmanner, the first thing that came to mind was witchcraft and theywould end up pointing fingers. Others were afraid that they would beaccused of the same crime thus they pointed fingers before one waspointed at them, or they did so just so that they could get out oftrouble.


Oneof the saddest and deadliest incidences that man has undergone sincethe beginning of time is perhaps the black plague. It is sometimesreferred to as the Black Death or the Bubonic plague. It isconsidered to be the deadliest because it claimed more than twentyfive million lives in a period of about five years. It started inChina as a rodent disease that was carried to human beings throughfleas. China, being a business capital, attracted merchants from allover the world. Unfortunately, it is these merchants who would beresponsible for carrying the plague to the rest of the world. Italianmerchants were responsible for taking the plague to Europe. Althoughthey were chased away after a while, it was too late because theinfection had already spread within the local people. The majoreffect of this plague was that it killed so many people that it wasdifficult to find labor for different economic activities in Europe.


Onekey historical event that happened in the middle ages was thescientific development that took place. The work that had initiallybeen done by the Greek and Romans was passed on to Muslims whotranslated it into Arabic. The Hindu numerical system became morepopular around the world and manufacturing processes from Chinataught in other areas of the world. It was also the period whenschools began to form as scholars from all over the world assembledin different cities for astronomical studies. There was alsoadvancement in medicine that was pioneered by Al-Razi and Ibn- Sina.Other significant developments of the time were in the field ofoptics and these were done by Maimonides. In summary, this was theperiod when the Arabs brought to the world the Greek and Romanteachings and added to them other factors from different places allover the world.


Lea,H. C. (2005). A history of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages. NewYork: Cosimo Classics.

Spencer,R. (2005). The myth of Islamic tolerance: How Islamic law treatsnon-Muslims. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.