Thursday, September 14, 2006

Pope initiates dialogue

I've already blogged this over at hegemonic headquarters, aka, Hegemonic.org, but I thought it could use a slightly different treatment rather than another post there.

In a provocative speech citing the concept of jihad and referencing the Muslim prophet by name, Benedict sends the world a signal that it's time for hard questions—not hugs and handshakes TIME.com: The Pope Tackles Faith and Terrorism -- Page 1

What I don't understand is why more people aren't already in line with this idea that you don't agree with your enemy when he says that you are evil and they have a right to hate you.

Jeff Israely explores the Pope's speech in a little more detail, including background that I didn't see anywhere else yet.

The Pope makes points about reason and faith and contrasts Islam's apparent irrationality.

His discourse Tuesday sought to delineate what he sees as a fundamental difference between Christianity's view that God is intrinsically linked to reason (the Greek concept of logos) and Islam´s view that "God is absolutely transcendent." Benedict said that Islam teaches that God's "will is not boundup with any of our categories, even that of rationality." The risk he seesimplicit in this concept of the divine is that the irrationality ofviolence can potentially be justified if someone believes it is God's will. "As faras understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion isconcerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the convictionthat acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is italways and intrinsically true?" TIME.com: The Pope Tackles Faith and Terrorism -- Page 1

Apparently, the Pope said a few more things that rung like a bell. Maybe I should try to get the transcript for this speech if there is one out there somewhere.

But Tuesday's university lecture was a watershed. After laying out the historical contrasts with Islam, the Pope used much of the discourse to call on the West, and Europe in particular, to clearly affirm the value of a faith in God —and a God built on reason. "While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them," he said. "We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons."

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