It's almost embarrassing to say it but I am still in awe at how even in today's modern world religion has not ceased to be relevant in our society. Religious beliefs in any and all its forms are the products of ignorance and primitive thinking. To paraphrase the title of Carl Sagan's book; during the dark ages this was a 'Demon Haunted World'. Amazingly even today this statement holds true.
In the dark ages before the enlightenment every sickness, or malady or misfortune was caused by demons, spells or curses, witches were very real to those people in those days. Satan was everywhere and the only way to purge our society was to root out his servants and torture, maim, and murder them. They were tortured to confess that Jesus was lord and they were forced to confess their league with Satan. Then they were absolved and once their souls were saved their bodies had to be destroyed, so usually they were either publicly burned at the stake or hung from a tree. All this barbaric behavior came from those professing to be bearers of the truth, and lovers of mankind, Christians.
Basically anything that they felt contradicted their primitive scriptures were considered blasphemy and of the devil. scientists had to walk a very fine line to avoid from being accused of being Satan's cohorts by the religious. It's called the dark ages because it was basically a theocracy, the church had complete control and power over the government. The church was the legislator and the government served as enforcer of the laws instituted by the church. It wasn't long before the church took over the role of judge, juror, and executioner.
Those perverse priests in charge of torturing confessions out of the accused used to strip the women naked while they looked for tell tale signs of them being witches or servants of the dark lord. They looked for birth marks on their naked bodies and fondled their privates in the name of the lord. Everything had Satan's signature.
The witch hunters had a guide book written in 1486 by the inquisitor Heinrich Kramer entitled 'Malleus Maleficarum' which meant the hammer of witches it was officially published in 1487. This treatise was nothing short of a book of horrors and a reflection as to how ignorant the church was in those days. It was one of many proofs to the evils that the church had brought upon the world when it was given too much power.
According to my research no one is certain to how many innocent lives were destroyed and wiped off the face of this earth by the church both the Catholics and the Protestants. Both churches had their inquisitions and crusades where killing for the lord was considered a great honor and earned you a place of prestige. How anyone can read the bible and not see how this book of myths perpetuated these horrors by inciting its believers to carry out unspeakable murders, rapes etc.
You might argue that it was not the bible but people that did those things in the name of God. But if you read your bible and peruse the Old Testament there are many instances where according to your scriptures your god led the Hebrews on holy crusades to conquer foreign lands. And they did pretty much everything that our dark age crusaders were doing, they were just following the example of their earlier brethren.