Almost nothing modern people say about the Inquisition is true.
The lies perpetuated about the Inquisition were initially the result of Protestant propaganda. There are very few tales as tall as the tales told of the Black Legend of the Spanish Inquisition and Catholic Spain, and fewer still are as pernicious and malicious. They include twaddle about grotesque tortures, secretive and unjust legal proceedings and millions of brutal executions, all without a single bit of evidence. Worst still, the singular text upon which these lies were initially told have been proven to be a forgery.
Most non-Catholics who’ve never read a history book, but who pretend to have done so, don't realize that many European countries had Inquisitions of their own. The Spanish Inquisition was simply the one which operated in the Kingdom of Spain. It was set up to ameliorate the ire of the Spanish royal government when dealing with people who had falsely converted to the Church so as to avoid expulsion to Northern Africa after the Reconquista—a long, drawn-out 800-years war to liberate the Iberian Peninsula from Moslem invaders.
After 800 years of slowly ridding Spain and Portugal of an unjust and aggressive oppressor, the Spanish and Portuguese weren't exactly in the mood for peaceful coexistence with people who had sworn to wipe them out for the previous eight centuries, and expulsion was seen as the only real option. Considering the furiously bloody history of atheists in the past two centuries, it's hypocritical for them to suggest they would have acted differently.
It's odd that everyone in the world “knows” what the Catholic Church did to those caught up in the Inquisition but not one in ten million is aware of the obvious historical fact that Moslems had raped, tortured and killed Christians for 800 years prior to the Inquisition. This is in addition to the forced conversions and the fact that Christians and Jews were required to pay the exorbitant and extortionist jiyza to their Moslem overlords for the “privilege” of not converting to Islam. But, the taxes were so high, good Christians were forced into poverty and then sexual slavery because they could no longer pay the jiyza.
Even today, Moslems refuse to admit their armies were anywhere near Spain, Portugal, France, Sicily, the Byzantine Empire, Italy, Syria, Egypt, the Balkans, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania. These were all Christian countries but had suffered under brutal Moslem oppression and annexation.
Instead, they pretend Moslems were “sojourning” in those countries to share their “advanced” technology with poor, backward, violent Christians who returned the favor by instituting the Inquisition. It's not difficult to imagine who is pulling whose strings here.
The Inquisition was set up to determine heresy and fraud. Specifically, those false conversos who had invaded Spain in the previous 800-year long jihad that had reduced Spanish Christians to slaves in their own homeland. After the invading Moslem armies were ejected in AD 1492, Moslems and Jews who remained in Spain and Portugal were given the choice to leave or to convert to Christianity. Christians, having suffered from the previous 800 years of oppression at the hand of Moslems, weren't interested in giving their oppressors a second opportunity to repeat history especially considering the Moslem propensity to takiya—a “holy” lie told to lesser people (i.e., non-believers) for the sake of defending their religion.
During the time when the Inquisition was active in Spain, England, under the rule of the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I and being threatened with military attacks from Spain, experienced a surge of nationalism fueled by anti-Catholic and anti-Spanish propaganda in the form of books and pamphlets which detailed the supposed horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. Thus the Catholic Church, Spain, Spaniards and their rulers became symbols of repression, brutality, religious and political intolerance and intellectual and artistic backwardness for the next four centuries.
The Black Legend allowed Protestants to project the horrible truth about themselves onto their Catholic enemies. When atheists rely upon gossip they've overheard about the Inquisition, they are willing, self-blinded victims of medieval Protestant propaganda.
When considering which is worse, I think it’s a draw between the Moslem invaders and the fundamentalist atheists who excuse one religion and blame another. Why don't these atheists have an opinion about the Moslem invasion of Northern Africa, Sicily, Malta, Majorca, Corsica, Sardinia, the Iberian Peninsula and the Balkans and the Levant? Why don't atheists attack the immoral and amoral excesses of Martin Luther, John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli and Henry VIII? Instead, they harp on and on about the Crusades and the Inquisition, both of which were responses to the Moslem invasion of Christendom and the subsequent murder, rape and financial extortion (i.e., jizya) of the country's rightful inhabitants. Exactly how is it they justify two centuries of atheist communist and fascist oppression? They can't.
However, if atheists are howling for lascivious tales of mayhem and sexual horror, they need go no further back than the Soviet soldiers who “liberated” Europe during World War II. Historian Antony Beevor describe this sickening atrocity as “greatest phenomenon of mass rape in history” citing that at least 1.4 million women having been raped in East Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia alone by atheist Soviet troops.
There are those atheists among us, who would still insist that the Spanish government should simply have lived with the 30% of their citizens whose ancestors were forced to convert to Islam either through threats of violence. Despite not having read books on the subject, these atheists seem to have all the answers except the ones to real questions. For example, what would have happened if that 30% minority wanted to re-establish Sharia law in Spain or instigated a revolt against the Christian government inviting Moslem armies to re-conquer Iberia? What should be done then? Did the Allies defeat the Nazis during World War II only to give Germany back to them saying, “Now this time, behave yourselves!?”
The same common sense response must apply in the case of the Reconquista and the Inquisition. Hundreds of thousands of Christians were killed fighting the invading Moslems. By giving Moslems the option of conversion or leaving, the Spanish showed a great deal of largesse and restraint.
Keeping in mind that so many atheists in America were up in arms simply because the government was offering stamps depicting Mother Teresa, how much angrier would they be if they were thrown out of their own country for 800 years and forced to pay extra taxes for the “honor” of remaining atheist? I believe that whatever they would choose in such a situation should be standard by which Spanish Christians should be judged. The fabled “common sense” of atheists should be brought to bear in this case—unless of course, it's merely one of their many cherished, delusional myths.