Use of Different Ideologies in Converting People

Christopher Columbus, William Rub, and Pope Urban II were driven by different philosophies in their quest to convert the non-Christians into Christianity. Some of them used dialogue such as William Rub ruck while others as Christopher Columbus used violence and enslavement. The holy land the Pope was referring to is the current Middle East. Since the beginning of the 6th century, Christians used to make a pilgrimage to the Christian religion’s birthplace, which was in the Middle East. However, when the Seljuk Turks seized Jerusalem, Christians were prohibited from visiting the city (Fordham, 1996b). The pope was committed to ensuring that the land was under the control of Christians. The essay will compare the different ideologies used by Christopher Columbus, William Rub, and Pope Urban II to convert non-Christians into Christianity. Since Pope Urban II believed the land that had been occupied by the Muslims belonged to Christians, he decided to reinforce his power. To achieve that, he united Christians in Europe to ensure that they regained the land. Pope mobilized clerics all through Europe for the crusade in order to defeat the Muslims. As the plan to attack was progressing, he was strongly convicted that the mission was on behalf of God because he wanted to ensure that the holy land was not infiltrated and contaminated by the Muslims (Fordham University, 1996). Although the Pope had noble intentions, the European nobles were after the land that they were to gain after defeating the Muslims and occupying the territory (Fordham, 1996b). Pope was therefore solely guided by the Christian ideology to seize the land from the Muslims whom he considered to be evil powers.

William of Rub ruck is well known for travels that he made to Central Asia and the Middle East in the 13th century, including the Mongol Empire. He began his travels in 1253 for missionary purposes to convert people into Christianity, especially the Tatars. When he was staying among the Mongols, he joined a famous debate at the Mongol Court because the Khan encouraged formal theological debate between the Buddhists, Christians, and Muslims. The competitions were important because eventually, they determined which debate was correct as determined by the judges who were officiating the events (William of Rubruck’s Account of the Mongols, 2004). The debates underscore the harmonious living of the Mongol’s who believed in handling their differences peacefully. More than 500 years after discovering the new land, the centuries of colonization and explorations began. Like his previous explorers, Columbus met with the native people. The main controversies surrounding the interaction with the native Indians involve slavery and violence to convert the natives into Christianity. He also introduced new diseases that had devastating effects on the native people of America (Fordham, 1996b). He, therefore, used violence to convert the natives into Christianity. Religion is a major factor in the travels of the three leaders. Pope Urban II used the ideology of violence to achieve his means. That was why he planned to conquer the Middle East and seize it so that it is not controlled by the Muslims, whom he considered evil. He misrepresented that Muslims would Contaminate the holy land if they lived there (Fordham, 1996b. He rallied all the clerics and Christians in Europe to use violence to regain the holy territory. The leader, called William of Rubruck, believed in winning others’ souls who were not Christians through dialogue. That was why he decided to attend a debate in a Mongol court where the Muslims, the Christians, and the Buddhists had a debate (William of Rubruck’s Account of the Mongols, 2004). The judges were selected from each of the three religions, and they gave their verdict at the end of the debate. Thus, this was a rational debate where diplomacy was used, and decisions were made without violence or coercion (William of Rubruck’s Account of the Mongols, 2004). He, therefore, believed in the ideology of diplomacy and negotiation. Christopher Columbus used a completely different ideology to force the Native Americans to submit and join Christianity through coercion and violence. The natives were made slaves without any rights to make decisions; then, they were forced to convert to Christianity (Fordham University, 2020). He even used violence against the indigenous Americans who were not willing to convert to Christianity. The worst method he used is the introduction of diseases that had serious effects on the natives. Just like the ideology followed by Pope Urban II, he used violence, coercion, and force to ensure that the conversion was successful (Fordham, 1996a). The information in the primary source materials precisely agrees with the three sources studied. (Fordham, 1996a). Christopher said the following as he was enslaving the natives: “These people are very unskilled in arms… with 50 men they could all be subjected and made to do all that one wished” (Fordham, 1996a, para.4). The three different ideologies they used in these sources are synchrony with the primary materials for this course. The best form of ideology is the one that was used by William of Rubruck because it would not lead to conflicts and confrontations. In order to convert somebody, debates should be the guiding principles so that the other party can see the merits and demerits of the need to convert someone into a different religion. Diplomacy and rational thinking should be the only ideology used for conversion into Christianity. The three leaders used three ideologies to ensure that they achieved their objectives of converting the non-Christians into Christianity. However, the best ideology and strategy is the one that is guided by constructive debates and thinking because any decision made will be rational.


Fordham University. (1996a). Medieval sourcebook: Christopher Columbus: Extracts from Journal.

Fordham University. (1996b). Medieval sourcebook: Urban II: Speech at Council of Clermont, 1095, according to Fulcher of Chartres. 

William of Rubruck’s Account of the Mongols. (2004). Depts.Washington.

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