Notice in this Academic Address, not News Conference:
The Pope was not discussing the use of violence for religious purpose. He was not discussing Islam at all!!! He was discussing: "FAITH, REASON AND THE UNIVERSITY" ... and stated as part of his conclusion that "...theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences..." and that "... the world's profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions."
His final statement was, "It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university." The "cultures" he was referring to had little or nothing to do with Islam - he was talking about the clash of "empirically verifiable" vs. "theology" cultures, as he earlier had said, "A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures."
He is being excoriated for using a quote from over 600 years ago "-- by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both.": "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 Pope made clear he was quoting an ancient conversation. He made clear that this is NOT HIS words, but that of the Byzantine emperor, and that emperor then went on to make a "... decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: Not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature."
The last sentence was the whole point that the Pope was making during his whole presentation: Not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. It was one of his many starting points for his theological discussion of "Faith, Reason and the University", part of his conclusion being, "...We will succeed in [broadening our concept of reason and its application] 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. In this sense theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith. Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today..."
The reaction to the very profound things the Pope said illustrates several things. One of them is that the people are completely incapable of understanding the profound, and that Western universities have fallen short in their education responsibilities, including in their education of the NYSlimes' reporters and their readers who can't bring themselves to acknowledge that they don't know everything. Another is this illustration that people should not be given access to specialized knowledge and discussion, whether that be theological, political, or scientific, without thorough and accurate filtering. Yet another, but by no means the final, is that biased people always misunderstand what even the finest communications expert says.
The Pope's major point is that ALL of the profoundly religious cultures whether they be Christianity, Islam, Jewish, Hindu, etc., should not be marginalized by being snootily looked at as a "subculture" not worthy of inclusion in the university environment, and that the university "culture" must engage in reason with the religious "culture".
posted on 09/16/2006 11:51:28 AM PDT
((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
Thanks for one of the finest explanations of this current brouhaha. I hope it doesn't escalate,I am terribly disappointed that more intelligent and holy men and women of all religions and intelligent nonbelievers have not stepped forward to answer the Pope's challenge.
Just in case I wasn't clear about the Pope's challenge,I had hoped his call was a challenge to initiate intelligent discourse and that there would be some that would start the ball rolling.
Maybe I have overestimated the number of men of good will,and/or the ability of many to even understand what he is trying to do. Well,I will just keep praying.
posted on 09/16/2006 4:26:39 PM PDT
(To have no voice in the Party that always sides with America's enemies is a badge of honor.)
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