One way that Rome’s apologists have downgraded the brutality of the inquisition is in dramatically decreasing the number of its victims. Recently a reader asked the following question: “We sometimes listen to pastor David Jeremiah. On September 18th, in a sermon entitled ‘When Atheists Would Be Angry,’ he referred to a book by Dinesh D'Souza, ‘What’s So Great about Christianity,’ in which the writer referred to the Spanish inquisition and claimed that the total number of people that were executed for heresy was approximately 2,000, and that this occurred over a period over 350 years. Can that be true? Is David Jeremiah on the Catholic side, although being a pastor in an evangelical church?”
REPLY FROM BROTHER CLOUD: Those figures about the Spanish inquisition are the product of historical revisionism. The following web page summarizes the statistics given by other historians:
Will Durant, in The Reformation, cites Juan Antonio Llorente, General Secretary of the Inquisition from 1789 to 1801, as estimating that 31,912 people were executed from 1480-1808 (Llorente’s Histoire critique de l'Inquisition espagnole, 1817-18). Durant also cites Hernando de Pulgar, a secretary to Queen Isabella, as estimating that 2,000 people were burned before 1490. Philip Schaff, in History of the Christian Church, gave a number of 8,800 people burned in the 18 years of Torquemada alone. Matthew White (The Great Big Book of Horrible Things), in reviewing these and other figures, gives a median number of deaths at 32,000, with around 9,000 under Torquemada. R.J. Rummel (Death by Government) describes similar figures as realistic, though he cites some historians who give figures of up to 135,000 people killed under Torquemada. This number includes 125,000 asserted to have died in prison due to poor conditions, leaving 10,000 sentenced to death. (Death rates in medieval and early modern prisons were generally very high, thanks in part to inadequate sanitary conditions and a poor diet.) There are no death toll figures available for the massacres of 1391, 1468, or 1473. These numbers will likely never be known. Evangelicals have capitulated to the ecumenical spirit of the age and are busy building the apostate one-world church. Most of the influential evangelical leaders have become deeply sympathetic with Rome.
(Friday Church News Notes, January 27, 2012, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
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