Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Who should apologize: the Pope or the firebombing muslims?

As you are, undoubtedly, aware, the entire muslim world is on fire because of the following quote...

Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness which leaves us astounded, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "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, after having expressed himself so forcefully, 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", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God's nature.

This is a quote that Pope Benedict gave in a lecture at Regensburg to a group of academicians. I've been asked about it several times and, the more I read it, the more I realize that the Pope has nothing to apologize for. What the pope is doing is using a past conversation to illustrate the need for modern conversations. This is what he means by "a brusqueness that leaves us astounded..." The modern conversation that needs to happen is christianity's intrinsic connection to faith that, while intrinically connected to Judasim, is a historical development that is unique to Christianity. Islam struggles with violence because it lacks the intrinsic understanding...though it can also be open to it.

But, the Pope continues by criticizing European society for giving up on an intrinsic connection between faith and reason, which is tantamount to the very Islam that it seems at war with; it's just that Europe puts scientific reason in the forefront and Islam puts faith.

It seems to me that the Pope is challenging us, once again, to bring both sides into dialogue.

This isn't killing muslims who have come to pray. Muslims are killing christians in prayer. they need to apologize.

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