A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Friday, September 15, 2006

On Pope Benedict's Speech

Read the full text of the speech here.

As a Catholic myself, I feel obligated to weigh in on the recent tensions generated by remarks made in a speech at the University of Regensburg by Pope Benedict XVI. This speech was not a clarion call to warn the west of Islamic Fundamentalism, a brand of Islam that has yet to be touched by the enlightenment. Regardless of what you will read, the speech focuses on two main topics: the integration of reason and logic with faith and how it leads to a deeper understanding of the mind and heart of God, and that dialogue between religions is impossible without the presence of reason.

Benedict did, however, use radical Islam as an example of the necessity of incorporating logic and reason with one's faith. Christianity's troubling past indescretions are a result of straying from the teachings of Christ: to love one's neighbour as one's self. But they are also a result of failing to incorporate reason with one's faith.

The very same muslim groups that call for death and violence against Jews and Christians hypocritically preach about the need for the Pope to excercise "tolerance and respect" for Islam. Consider a resolution passed by the Pakistani Parliament, a puppet institution under the heel of dictator General Pervez Musharraf:

"The derogatory remarks of the Pope about the philosophy of jihad and Prophet Mohammed have injured sentiments across the Muslim world and pose the danger of spreading acrimony among the religions..."

Yet this very same parliament was curiously silent when the very birthplace of Jesus Christ was occupied by Palestinian Terrorists, who, in accordance with their respect for "people of the book," defecated all over the Church of the Nativity and left it in a wreck (the shooting and killing of terrorists on and inside of the Church Grounds by the Israeli military is also a deplorable sacrilege). And yet, what was the Christian worldwide response? Bombings, beheadings and fiery riots? Certainly not.

However, when Benedict used radical Islam as a passing example of what happens when faith is not imbued with reason in a speech three days ago, he put his very life at risk. The Muslim response to a speech by the Holy Father in which he called for reason and dialogue between the Islamic and Christian faiths has been anger, tension, and fears of violence. Does this not prove that Benedict is right?

Islam's current troubles with radical fundamentalism are an echo of the troubles Christianity has conquered since the enlightenment. The sectarian violence is the same, as is the lack of reason and lack of adherence to the tenets of the faith. Islam is undergoing pangs that Christianity has long since solved. We in the west are now forced to deal with the fallout.

The politically correct line is that "Islam is a religion of peace." Others have labelled it a "death cult." I don't prefer to follow either, because I simply don't believe that either is wholly true. Can one say sixteenth century Christianity was a religion of peace? The St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre alone is evidence to argue that this was not so. Yet despite this and other abberations, the tenets of Christianity are peace and love. The problem was that its followers at the time had paid no attention to that most high of God's commandments: do as I have done for you. The hard reality is that while Christianity is truly about peace and love, its sixteenth century followers had made their faith into a vile lie by their hypocritical actions.

And so we find Islam today: a religion that (as we are continually told) advocates peace - yet so many of its followers have made this into a lie. Until Islam solves its internal strife by imbuing faith with reason; until it looks to dialogue as the solution to its growing pains, its radical followers, hypocrites all, continue to make a lie out of their faith.

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