Religious fanaticism in the 12th Century Knights Templar camp
"The Templars style themselves “The Avengers of Jesus Christ,” and the “instruments and ministers of God for the punishment of infidels,” and the Pope and the holy fathers of the church proclaim that it is specially entrusted to them “to blot out from the earth all unbelievers,” and they hold out the joys of paradise as the glorious reward for the dangers and difficulties of the task.
“In fighting for Christ,” declares St. Bernard, in his address to the Templars, “the kingdom of Christ is acquired.... Go forth, therefore, O soldiers, in nowise mistrusting, and with a fearless spirit cast down the enemies of the cross of Christ, in the certain assurance that neither in life nor in death can ye be separated from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, repeating to yourselves in every danger, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. How gloriously do the victors return from the fight, how happy do the martyrs die in battle! Rejoice, valiant champion, if thou livest and conquerest in the Lord, but rejoice rather and glory if thou shouldest die and be joined unto the Lord.... If those are happy who die in the Lord, how much more so are those who die for the Lord!... Precious in the sight of God will be the death of his holy soldiers.
"The close points of resemblance, indeed, between the religious fanaticism of the Templars and that of the Moslems are strikingly remarkable. In the Moslem camp, we are told by the Arabian writers, all profane and frivolous conversation was severely prohibited; the exercises of religion were assiduously practised, and the intervals of action were employed in prayer, meditation, and the study of the Koran.”"
This blog quotes freely from the thesis by Lori Firth, Hull University (2012): "A Comparison of the Cistercian and Knights Templar Orders, And the Personal Influence of Bernard of Clairvaux", to be found here. References in the source. Illustration from Kingdom of Heaven source