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Most of the ones with power were very corrupt and only cared to use their power and wealth to advance themselves. Popes were assassinated by those who wanted the position. Bishops and so forth raped women and buggered boys. I'd say they knew they were doing wrong.
As for the common person, I've no doubt they thought they were doing what was right even though the things they did were prohibited by their own Bible. A great many people today don't know what is in the Bible or they choose to ignore any part of it that is unappealing to them.
Not all Pagans were 'divine war criminals'. Again, it's those with power and wealth that cause the most trouble. Or those seeking more power and wealth as well as control of others.
I'm simply saying at least be honest about why you are killing people, taking their land and destroying their culture. Don't tell them it is 'Gods' love and mercy' or that they are doing it in the 'name of God'. Just say it plainly, you have something we want and we will do whatever we have to do to get it.