Saturday, September 16, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI's Present Troubles with Muslims

Here is a portion of the text that has the Pope receiving so much criticism and anger from Muslims:
The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship of the three Laws: the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur'an. In this lecture I would like to discuss only one point-- itself rather marginal to the dialogue itself-- which, in the context of the issue of faith and reason, I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.

In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: There is no compulsion in religion. It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat.

But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels,” he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words:

Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.

The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.

God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death....

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: "For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality." Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practice idolatry.
Now, what is so problematic with him quoting someone else? Why should the Pope be called to apologise when what is historically accurate about the violence in Islam's history is being discussed openly? Why can't this history be owned and vows made not to participate in such tactics anymore? Case in point, what has happened? Churches are now being bombed of which have had nothing to do with the Pope's comments, which again is another display of violence. When Christians are offended, nobody seems to care since that's what we are here for--a 'whipping boy' of the anti-Christian cultures.

I do not believe that the Pope did anything for which he needs to apologise; what do you think?

Update: Now there are some Muslims burning an effigy of the Pope.


Blogger lexorandi2 said...

It's interesting that the recent violence over this only serves to prove the point.

8:53 pm  
Blogger Death Bredon said...

Thanks for giving me what the Western Mass Media did not -- the Pope's words in context!!

While I am completely opposed to polticial policies that abuse Islamic countries or cause justifiable resentments against the so-called "Christian" West ( and I do believe that Islam does have some justified resents, but that no resentment justifies terrorism), the current and latest wave of hyper-muslim sensitivity (a species of PCism) really gauls me.

Anti-Western Islamacist are free to public write and say the most appalling anti-Western drival without a word of protest from the Western Media, but the slighest slight perceived by Islam seems to "justify violent demonstration or even Jihad. That's a gam I shal not play.

10:26 pm  
Blogger KosmicEggburst said...

Putting the disturbing media situation aside for a moment, the idolism of muhammedism is to be "smashed", and the pope is right. An apology is being demanded. Apologize to what? Idolism?

The pattern of terrorism, threats, violence, uncivilized behaviors, etc. is the work of common criminals that may or may not be inspired.

One might just come to the right conclusion from all this that the best antidote to idolism of any form is right in front of us, and that is a strong church.

10:54 pm  
Anonymous Jason Loh said...

The Pope should never have apologised for quoting the truth about Mohamedanism. Instead, B16 should have that violence against Christians under Mohamedan yoke cease, dhimmitude abolished, etc. in other words, continue his call for reciprocity from Mohamedans.

The recent outburst by slaves of Mohamed is yet another opportunity to demonstrate the veracity of the Pope's statement.

11:04 am  
Anonymous Antonio said...

Well, it seems there's only one voice in the "West" to try to deal with Islam:


12:33 pm  
Anonymous john scholasticus said...

I thought the Pope's comments most ill-judged. It is disingenuous of hm (and of you) to claim that he was 'only quoting': the quote is part of a larger claim that Islam and reason are incompatible. None of this excuses subsequent responses by a minority of Islamicist extremists. But we all have a responsibility to comport ourselves in ways that make such events less likely. The Pope failed his responsiblity rather dismally.

5:22 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, John, I see you have found the meam site. I wondered how long it would take. You are most welcome any time. We missed you our last Sunday. Maybe a glass of Scotch one night soon over this conversation would be a useful one? Let me know!

Of course, I would disagree with you on your claim of disingenuousness of the Pope or myself on this. It would seem that the quotation read and the result that folllowed actually proved the point of the quote given. I believe the NY Times is a bit ill-judged in making such a deal out of this that got a lot of the hostility started. After his speech you didn't hear of Christians going around and bombing things and setting fire to religious houses of Muslims or killing people by shooting 72 year old women in the back of the head four times (a nun) and creating riots and calling for the death of religious leaders by chopping off their heads such as the signs read just 3 hours south of us in historic London. I believe your claim of disingenuous is a bit off balance.

Can you tell me how you would speak of the historic acts of Muhammad? What is the worse that fundamentalist Christians do; maybe believe in the actual story of Adam and Eve or be complete literalist of the their Bibles? Come on John, even the ABC defended the Pope.

7:29 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, the Pope's comment was that the true sign that we in the west have lost the faith is because we have lost reason or rationality. I couldn't agree with him more!

7:31 am  
Anonymous john scholasticus said...


I was trying to make contact - seems I succeeded!

Will be in touch ...

12:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will love having you around John! I look forward to hearing from you soon.

all the vy best!

1:34 pm  

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