What ELSE was the big story in 1492?

From Europe to India, a major geopolitical event in 1492 had everyone talking –  and it had nothing to do with Columbus. Columbus was just some explorer who had discovered some islands somewhere. But the really big news was that, after nearly 800 years, the aggressive Christians had finally kicked the more cultured Muslims out of Spain.

The Great Mosque of Cordoba

Granada was conquered. Cordoba and Seville, the greatest centers of learning in Europe, where thousands of Christian scholars had traveled surreptitiously, and from which the European Renaissance had been born, were now turned into fresh hunting grounds for the Spanish Inquisition. Decrees ordered Muslims and Jews to convert or leave. Tens of thousands chose the former, hundreds of thousands the latter. Of those who converted and stayed, thousands were subsequently executed by the Inquisition under suspicion of insincerity; initially over 90% of the executions were of Jews, because the moriscos were too well-connected and too important to the government and economy to be maltreated. But after some decades the focus turned to moriscos (and Protestants), and finally all the moriscos were expelled without being allowed to take money or jewelry or anything more than they could carry.

The most advanced state in Europe was destroyed, and neither it nor the rest of Spain has ever fully recovered.

An ironic element is that, after 800 years of Islam in Spain, the Christians “were not actually expelling Arabs nor were they expelling Berbers. The huge majority of the people that were being expelled, by blood, by DNA if you will, were as Iberian as their Christian cousins in the North who were kicking them out of Peninsula”. This from British historian Professor Dwight Reynolds in a 2005 documentary.

The Muslims and Jews who were expelled took the keys to their front doors with them. Fifteen generations later, around the Mediterranean, many of those keys are still in the possession of the original families.

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Unasked questions: Is God circumcised?

Genesis 1: 26-27 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: (…) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him.”

Circumcision. Making yourself less like God.

Men are created with foreskins. Therefore God has a foreskin. Therefore God is uncircumcised. Therefore God is not a Jew or a Muslim. (Christians haven’t been required to be circumcised since Paul hijacked Jesus’ movement and turned it into something for Gentiles.)

So why do Jews and Muslims (and others) vandalize their likeness to God? It seems irreligious. But maybe it’s just a very small kind of self-sacrifice; God required it of Abraham’s people as a sign of the Covenant – something very personal, and less drastic than killing your own son. In which case, Halleluia!