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Thomas the Rhymer BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy (92* d) RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy 21 Sep 06

From the "speech"...

"In the seventh conversation ("diálesis" -- controversy) edited by professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that sura 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 Koran, 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 ("syn logo") 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...." "

...Now, I've got to tell you... I feel a little like I'm feeding the fires of controversy by taking any quotes out of the entire speech... precisely because the lecture was delivered in it's entirety... and followed a distinct (academic?) line of reasoning... The problems that have resulted from the Pope's discourse have occured BECAUSE phrases were taken out of context... (and poorly translated)

However, in this case, all I'm trying to do is to show how the polemics move through the mistaken incendiaries... toward a conclusion that is entirely free of judgement and bigotry towards Islam, but rather, means to be a wake up call to Christians; to bridge the chasm that has deepened between faith and reason. I believe he was merely painting the hisorical backdrop for a more complete understanding of today's complex religious misunderstandings... and how they have been ushered into our lives by a long history of misrepresentation and importune violence... which is indeed the hallmark of our quandries even today.

I don't think The Pope should apologize, for his intentions were not malicious. Perhaps he could make himself more easily understood by engaging some very sophisticated translators... and make peace by making himself very clear.

Also from the 'speech'...

God does not become more divine when we push him away from us in a sheer, impenetrable voluntarism; rather, the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf. Certainly, love "transcends" knowledge and is thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone (cf. Ephesians 3:19); nonetheless it continues to be love of the God who is logos. Consequently, Christian worship is "logic latreía" -- worship in harmony with the eternal Word and with our reason (cf. Romans 12:1).


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