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Pope Remarks and Muslim Reactions

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  • cranston36
    In the middle of September, 2006 Pope Benedict of the Catholic Church made a speech at the University in Regensburg, Germany. The core of the speech has been
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 24 7:02 PM
      In the middle of September, 2006 Pope Benedict of the
      Catholic Church made a speech at the University in Regensburg,
      The core of the speech has been characterized as a criticism
      of modern western civilization for committing itself too much to
      reason and cutting God out of science and philosophy.
      Ian Fisher of the New York Times said that Pope Benedict
      started out `by recounting a conversation on the truths of
      Christianity and Islam that took place between a 14th- century
      Byzantine Christian emperor, Manuel II Paleologus, and a Persian
      Even the New York Times seems to have gotten the message
      wrong that Pope Benedict was sending.
      Pope Benedict did not start by recounting the conversation.
      The quotation that caused the stir was far into the speech but that
      is only a minor point.
      He was speaking about how reason has polluted faith to such
      an extent that the message of peace that Jesus brought was being
      lost in modern society. In fact the speech contained elements of
      his inaugural lecture at the University in Bonn from 1959.
      It is a speech of love, the message of Jesus, the word of
      God and of and for humanity.
      The media reported on a reference to a statement made by
      Emperor Manuel II Paleologus hundreds of years ago and sparked off a
      bitter response from the Muslim community around the world.
      I am going to begin this evening with a short history so
      that we have a background for Emperor Paleologus.
      The Fall of the Roman Empire took place over a long period
      of time. During one period the Empire broke into two pieces. There
      was the western empire which fragmented further into several
      countries like France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal - et
      cetera with a central church whose head of state was in Rome.
      The Eastern Empire retained its government and shape but was
      slowly over run by barbarians from the north and the Muslims from
      the east who were considered savages at the time.
      Eventually the capital of the Eastern Empire at Byzantium
      was conquered and the Eastern Emperor, of which Manuel II was one of
      the last, ceased to be a governing power. The Eastern Churches are
      called Orthodox and range from the Greek Orthodox to the Russian
      Orthodox with other churches formed from what were formerly mainly
      Roman provinces.
      Each of these orthodox churches has a different internal
      governing system and until Pope John Paul II made overtures they did
      not even speak to the Catholic Church in Rome.
      During the Fall of the Western Empire a pantheon of gods was
      replaced by belief in the One True God. Much of the material from
      that time was preserved and passed down through the ages to the
      present day. Much of it was also destroyed.
      Some of the most holy places in Rome to Catholics were once
      the same places used to worship Apollo, Diana, Zeus and Hera. Those
      are the ancient gods of Rome. Their statues were moved it of the
      buildings and the interiors redesigned to reflect the Catholic
      faith. A lot of this art is still in existence.
      To the east of the Roman Empire - to the east of the Eastern
      Empire in fact, was in ancient times a nation called the Parthian
      Empire. After much fighting the Parthian Empire eventually ended up
      as the Persian Empire.
      What happened when Mohammad came along was more bitter,
      divisive and destructive than the slow and thorough absorption of
      the old Roman religions by the Catholic religion.
      Mohammad declared a campaign of destruction. When the
      Muslims entered Riyadh they attacked the pantheon of the Parthian or
      Persian Empire. They destroyed every statue and image they found.
      The priests were killed along with faithful trying to make a
      defense. Families were destroyed, the city burned and all the
      wealth and weapons taken for the continued fury of the spread of the
      Muslim faith.
      The result is that the Muslim faith seemingly has no
      memory. There was a complete and willful break from the past which,
      rather than supplanting what was before it replaced it with another
      more insecure and fragile arrangement. Where local Parthian or
      Persian tax payers used to collect money now armed priests called
      Imams collected what is referred to as the `poor-tax' which finds
      its way these days rarely to the tables of the poor and more often
      to the makers of guns, rockets and mortars. Osama Bin Laden for
      example had access to billions of dollars and rather than using it
      for constructive projects he used it to attack the World Trade
      Center in order to disrupt trade.
      Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi
      Arabia and other governments controlled in this way whine to the
      west about helping the poor while they sit on oil, gold, silver, tin
      and other natural resources controlled by a few religious leaders as
      in Iran or by Kings and princes as in Morocco, Saudi Arabia and
      It was a terrible time and unlike the slow change that took
      place in Rome it has never seemed to end. In fact the same behavior
      that the early Muslims showed to the art and culture of their own
      people was repeated when the Muslim Taliban in Afghanistan destroyed
      the 18 story tall statues of Buddha with dynamite.
      This sort of destructive, irresponsible behavior was echoed
      again when a Danish cartoonist drew a caricature of Mohammed wearing
      a bomb for a hat.
      These are two well known incidents in modern times but the
      destructive behavior has been repeated time and time again through
      history. Muslims sometimes say it is to defend their faith but
      lately it has started to seem a little like the fanaticism of men
      like Billy Sunday and Billy Graham who pull an enemy out of the hat
      so the donations of the faithful will keep pouring in.
      The problem is that the violence that is unleashed through
      the old interpretation of the Koran is extreme.
      Now to return to modern times. What exactly did Pope
      Benedict say?
      Here it is. The Pope is referencing an edited text of
      Emperor Paleologus's remarks :
      "But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions,
      developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, 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
      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 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....
      The decisive statement in this argument against violent
      conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary
      to God's nature. ""

      The sentence that drove the Muslim world into a blood frenzy
      is : "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 press did not dwell on the next sentence which
      reads, "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."

      The response of the Muslim community was almost instant. As
      if they had been sitting in wait for anything to set them off. If
      their reaction had not been so violent, apparently unthinking and
      illogical it might have been humorous.
      But several people died apparently as a result of their
      The onus was put back on Pope Benedict and it was intimated
      that his remarks caused the violence. I heard one radio talk show
      host on a local religious radio station in Detroit talk about
      the `behavior' of the Pope and yet she admitted that she had not
      seen the text of the speech. She was acting just like the Muslim
      fanatics that opposed him. The text was available online at that
      time but this Christian fanatic decided to remark on items she did
      not take the time to investigate.
      The problem for the Muslim world is that even though he did
      not intend to paint the modern Muslim religion as bloodthirsty and
      violent the response and reaction from Muslim leaders around the
      world can only lead a responsible, logical adult to conclude that
      this may be so.

      In the meantime the response from the Muslim world began to

      Here is what the Pope said in response, ""These were in fact
      quotations from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my
      personal thought. The true meaning of my address in its totality
      was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great
      mutual respect."

      Following are some of the things that were said and done by
      the Muslim community in response to Pope Benedict`s speech in
      Regensburg. You can make your own decision about whether they
      responded correctly or not. I do not feel that they did and that,
      rather than proving what Pope Benedict had to say, they underscored
      the words of Emperor Manuel II Paleologus himself.

      Iraqis burned an effigy of Pope Benedict XVI during a
      protest in Basra. Basra is a city that has seen thousands of
      political and religious assassinations since the occupation of Iraq
      began. The Shiites and Sunnis are slaughtering each other but took
      a break to join together and burn a paper puppet of Pope Benedict.

      The New York Times tells us that "an Iraqi group linked to
      Al Qaeda posted a warning on a Web site threatening war
      against "worshippers of the cross.""

      Ayatollah Ali Khameni, the top Muslim in Iran, is reported
      to have called Pope Benedict's remarks "the latest link" in
      the "chain of conspiracy to set off a crusade."

      A Turkish man with a fake gun attacked a Protestant church
      in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

      In Somalia, gunmen shot an Italian nun and her bodyguard to
      death outside a children's hospital in the capital. It is not clear
      whether the shooting of Leonella Sgorbati, 64, was related to the
      papal controversy, but Somalian Islamic extremists had threatened to
      attack Catholics.

      Reuters news agency reported, "She was shot three times in
      the back."
      Reuters goes on to say, "There is a very high possibility
      the people who killed her were angered by the Catholic Pope's recent

      Somalia was recently taken over by a Muslim government whose
      first actions were to disarm or kill anyone that opposed them. They
      have maintained order with violence.

      In Sudan the attacks on the Christians in Darfur by armed
      agents of the Sudan government continue. In a weakly worded
      statement Condoleeza Rice said that the violence in Darfur
      is "getting worse".

      The concept of spreading Islam by the sword is alive and
      well in the 21st century.
      The Islamic government in Sudan's north is pushing south
      with guns and bombs. They are clearing out the Africans who have
      lived there for thousands of years in order to sell oil contracts to
      Communist Chinese and even European and American companies.
      In Somalia the Muslims are killing anyone that opposes them
      and replacing local governments with a government based on Muslim
      law called Sharia.
      In Afghanistan the Islamists continue to spread their
      influence by killing anyone who opposes them.
      Active cells of terrorists and Islamic preachers in Pakistan
      continue to incite violence in western India, Afghanistan and
      central Asia.
      The western parts of Communist China are also feeling the
      sting of this renewed military expansion.
      All through north Africa, the shores of East Africa and even
      eastern Europe Muslim extremists seemingly resort to violence first.
      These are real expansions and they are not being addressed
      by international diplomacy.

      Indonesia, a major trading partner with the United States,
      continues to be ruled by a military style government heavily steeped
      in Muslim influence. Three apparently innocent Christians were
      recently executed for anti-government activities just before the
      Muslim holy days of Ramadan in what appears to be an insult to the
      West in that the Muslim cleric and men who killed so many in a
      bombing in Bali have still not been sentenced.
      The executions were scheduled for early August, but were
      postponed following an appeal by Pope Benedict. Then the scheduled
      executions of the Bali bombers, who murdered 202 people, was also
      postponed. They may have a new date set in October but there is no
      telling with the Indonesian government.

      Din Syamsuddin, chairman of Muhammadiyah, the second largest
      Islamic organization in Indonesia said, "It is obvious from the
      statements that the Pope doesn't have a correct understanding of
      Islam. Whether the Pope apologizes or not, the Islamic community
      should show that Islam is a religion of compassion."
      Fauzan Al-Anshori, spokesman for the Indonesian Mujahideen
      Council, said "Muslims can't eliminate jihad from the Islamic
      discourse, the same way Christians can't do away with the doctrine
      of Trinity,"

      The Associate Press stated that "Al Qaeda in Iraq warned
      Pope Benedict XVI on Monday that its war against Christianity and
      the West will go on until Islam takes over the world…"

      Protests broke out in South Asia and Indonesia

      The Mujahedeen Shura Council in Iraq released a statement
      addressing the pope as "a cross-worshipper" and saying, "You and the
      West are doomed, as you can see from the defeat in Iraq,
      Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere. You infidels and despots, we
      will continue our jihad (holy war) and never stop until God avails
      us to chop your necks and raise the fluttering banner of monotheism,
      when God's rule is established governing all people and nations."

      Another Iraqi group said on the internet, "If the stupid pig
      is prancing with his blasphemies in his house then let him wait for
      the day coming soon when the armies of the religion of right knock
      on the walls of Rome."

      In Iran, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, "Those
      who benefit from the pope's comments and drive their own arrogant
      policies should be targeted with attacks and protests."

      Islamic Defenders' Front said in Jakarta, India said, "His
      comments really hurt Muslims all over the world. We should remind
      him not to say such things which can only fuel a holy war."

      Malaysia's foreign minister, Syed Hamid Albar, said
      Benedict's apology was "inadequate to calm the anger."

      President Bush weight in and said that Pope Benedict was
      sincere in his apology for comments on Islam that have sparked
      outrage in the Muslim world. I can't figure out which side he is on
      because according to the Catholic Church Pope Benedict did not
      apologize. Bush was with the Malaysian Prime Minister at the time
      so politics may be taken into account.

      Another statement out of Iraq was, "We shall break the cross
      and spill the wine."

      In Palestine a church in Tulkarem was attacked with gasoline
      bombs followed by an attempted attack on a church in Tubas, near
      Jenin along with gasoline bomb attacks on three churches in Nablus,
      as well as an attack on a church in Gaza.

      In Turkey, a recipient of much American aid money, Turkish
      Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked Pope Benedict to apologize
      for his "ugly, unfortunate statements."

      In Morocco King Mohammed VI sent a written message to the
      pope denouncing his "offending statements."

      Pakistan's National Assembly voted unanimously a resolution
      condemning the Pope Benedict's comments.
      The Pakistani National Assembly wrote, "This statement has
      hurt sentiments of the Muslims. This is also against the charter of
      the United Nations. This house demands the Pope retract his remarks
      in the interest of harmony among different religions of the world."

      In New Delhi, India, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the chief cleric of
      Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque said, "No Pope has ever tried
      to attack the glory of Islam like this Pope. Muslims must respond
      in a manner which forces the Pope to apologize."

      Meanwhile, violence continued in Somalia where the Muslim
      extremists attempted to assassinate the new President. The
      President lived by 8 people including his brother were murdered.
      The attack came as the President of Somalia has been trying to work
      out an agreement to reign in the Conservative Council of Islamic
      Courts which wants to run Somalia on Muslim Sharia law.

      Protests occurred in South Asia and across Indonesia.

      Muslims extremists said the pope's comments proved that the
      West was in a war against Islam.

      The Pakistani government made a big noise about Pope
      Benedict's comments but they didn't say anything about the fact that
      violence and religion don't mix. In fact, neither did the
      Indonesians, Malaysians, Morrocans, Egyptians, Sudanese, Iraqis,
      Iranians or any of the Muslim dominated governments.

      To harken back to the past in Delhi, India in 1398 Chinggis
      Khan invaded the city. He had Hindu and Muslim prisoners
      separated. He then ordered all the non-Muslims to be killed. Over
      100,000 Hindus were killed that day.

      The battle between Buddhism and the Muslim religion which
      caused the destruction of the statues in Afghanistan dates back to
      the 1300's as well.

      Pope's Speech from Regensburg :

      Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
      It is a moving experience for me to stand and give a lecture
      at this university podium once again. I think back to those years
      when, after a pleasant period at the Freisinger Hochschule, I began
      teaching at the University of Bonn. This was in 1959, in the days of
      the old university made up of ordinary professors. The various
      chairs had neither assistants nor secretaries, but in recompense
      there was much direct contact with students and in particular among
      the professors themselves.
      We would meet before and after lessons in the rooms of the
      teaching staff. There was a lively exchange with historians,
      philosophers, philologists and, naturally, between the two
      theological faculties. Once a semester there was a dies academicus,
      when professors from every faculty appeared before the students of
      the entire university, making possible a genuine experience of
      universitas: the reality that despite our specializations which at
      times make it difficult to communicate with each other, we made up a
      whole, working in everything on the basis of a single rationality
      with its various aspects and sharing responsibility for the right
      use of reason-- this reality became a lived experience.
      The university was also very proud of its two theological
      faculties. It was clear that, by inquiring about the reasonableness
      of faith, they too carried out a work which is necessarily part of
      the whole of the universitas scientiarum, even if not everyone could
      share the faith which theologians seek to correlate with reason as a
      whole. This profound sense of coherence within the universe of
      reason was not troubled, even when it was once reported that a
      colleague had said there was something odd about our university: it
      had two faculties devoted to something that did not exist: God. That
      even in the face of such radical skepticism it is still necessary
      and reasonable to raise the question of God through the use of
      reason, and to do so in the context of the tradition of the
      Christian faith: this, within the university as a whole, was
      accepted without question.
      I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition
      by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue
      carried on-- perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara-- by
      the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated
      Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of
      both. It was probably the emperor himself who set down this
      dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402;
      and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail
      than the responses of the learned Persian.
      The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith
      contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with
      the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly
      to the relationship of the three Laws: the Old Testament, the New
      Testament, and the Qur'an. In this lecture I would like to discuss
      only one point-- itself rather marginal to the dialogue itself--
      which, in the context of the issue of faith and reason, I found
      interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my
      reflections on this issue.
      In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the
      emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor
      must have known that surah 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 Qur'an, 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
      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 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....
      The decisive statement in this argument against violent
      conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary
      to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: "For the
      emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement
      is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely
      transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories,
      even that of rationality." Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted
      French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so
      far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that
      nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's
      will, we would even have to practice idolatry.
      As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete
      practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a
      dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction
      that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek
      idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we
      can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense
      of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God.
      Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the
      prologue of his Gospel with the words: In the beginning was the
      logos. This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts with
      Logos means both reason and word-- a reason which is
      creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason.
      John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and
      in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical
      faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the
      logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist.
      The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought
      did not happen by chance. The vision of Saint Paul, who saw the
      roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with
      him: Come over to Macedonia and help us! (cf. Acts 16:6-10)-- this
      vision can be interpreted as a distillation of the intrinsic
      necessity of a rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek
      In point of fact, this rapprochement had been going on for
      some time. The mysterious name of God, revealed from the burning
      bush, a name which separates this God from all other divinities with
      their many names and declares simply that he is, is already presents
      a challenge to the notion of myth, to which Socrates's attempt to
      vanquish and transcend myth stands in close analogy. Within the Old
      Testament, the process which started at the burning bush came to new
      maturity at the time of the Exile, when the God of Israel, an Israel
      now deprived of its land and worship, was proclaimed as the God of
      heaven and earth and described in a simple formula which echoes the
      words uttered at the burning bush: I am.
      This new understanding of God is accompanied by a kind of
      enlightenment, which finds stark expression in the mockery of gods
      who are merely the work of human hands (cf. Ps 115). Thus, despite
      the bitter conflict with those Hellenistic rulers who sought to
      accommodate it forcibly to the customs and idolatrous cult of the
      Greeks, biblical faith, in the Hellenistic period, encountered the
      best of Greek thought at a deep level, resulting in a mutual
      enrichment evident especially in the later wisdom literature.
      Today we know that the Greek translation of the Old
      Testament produced at Alexandria-- the Septuagint-- is more than a
      simple (and in that sense perhaps less than satisfactory)
      translation of the Hebrew text: it is an independent textual witness
      and a distinct and important step in the history of revelation, one
      which brought about this encounter in a way that was decisive for
      the birth and spread of Christianity. A profound encounter of faith
      and reason is taking place here, an encounter between genuine
      enlightenment and religion. From the very heart of Christian faith
      and, at the same time, the heart of Greek thought now joined to
      faith, Manuel II was able to say: Not to act "with logos" is
      contrary to God's nature.
      In all honesty, one must observe that in the late Middle
      Ages we find trends in theology which would sunder this synthesis
      between the Greek spirit and the Christian spirit. In contrast with
      the so-called intellectualism of Augustine and Thomas, there arose
      with Duns Scotus a voluntarism which ultimately led to the claim
      that we can only know God's voluntas ordinata. Beyond this is the
      realm of God's freedom, in virtue of which he could have done the
      opposite of everything he has actually done. This gives rise to
      positions which clearly approach those of Ibn Hazn and might even
      lead to the image of a capricious God, who is not even bound to
      truth and goodness. God's transcendence and otherness are so exalted
      that our reason, our sense of the true and good, are no longer an
      authentic mirror of God, whose deepest possibilities remain
      eternally unattainable and hidden behind his actual decisions.
      As opposed to this, the faith of the Church has always
      insisted that between God and us, between his eternal Creator Spirit
      and our created reason there exists a real analogy, in which
      unlikeness remains infinitely greater than likeness, yet not to the
      point of abolishing analogy and its language (cf. Lateran IV). 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. Eph 3:19); nonetheless it continues to be love of the God
      who is logos. Consequently, Christian worship is worship in harmony
      with the eternal Word and with our reason (cf. Rom 12:1).
      This inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek
      philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only
      from the standpoint of the history of religions, but also from that
      of world history-– it is an event which concerns us even today.
      Given this convergence, it is not surprising that Christianity,
      despite its origins and some significant developments in the East,
      finally took on its historically decisive character in Europe. We
      can also express this the other way around: this convergence, with
      the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe and
      remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe.
      The thesis that the critically purified Greek heritage forms
      an integral part of Christian faith has been countered by the call
      for a dehellenization of Christianity-– a call which has more and
      more dominated theological discussions since the beginning of the
      modern age. Viewed more closely, three stages can be observed in the
      program of dehellenization: although interconnected, they are
      clearly distinct from one another in their motivations and
      Dehellenization first emerges in connection with the
      fundamental postulates of the Reformation in the 16th century.
      Looking at the tradition of scholastic theology, the Reformers
      thought they were confronted with a faith system totally conditioned
      by philosophy, that is to say an articulation of the faith based on
      an alien system of thought. As a result, faith no longer appeared as
      a living historical Word but as one element of an overarching
      philosophical system. The principle of sola scriptura, on the other
      hand, sought faith in its pure, primordial form, as originally found
      in the biblical Word. Metaphysics appeared as a premise derived from
      another source, from which faith had to be liberated in order to
      become once more fully itself. When Kant stated that he needed to
      set thinking aside in order to make room for faith, he carried this
      program forward with a radicalism that the Reformers could never
      have foreseen. He thus anchored faith exclusively in practical
      reason, denying it access to reality as a whole.
      The liberal theology of the 19th and 20th centuries ushered
      in a second stage in the process of dehellenization, with Adolf von
      Harnack as its outstanding representative. When I was a student, and
      in the early years of my teaching, this program was highly
      influential in Catholic theology too. It took as its point of
      departure Pascal's distinction between the God of the philosophers
      and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
      In my inaugural lecture at Bonn in 1959, I tried to address
      the issue. I will not repeat here what I said on that occasion, but
      I would like to describe at least briefly what was new about this
      second stage of dehellenization. Harnack's central idea was to
      return simply to the man Jesus and to his simple message, underneath
      the accretions of theology and indeed of hellenization: this simple
      message was seen as the culmination of the religious development of
      humanity. Jesus was said to have put an end to worship in favor of
      morality. In the end he was presented as the father of a
      humanitarian moral message. The fundamental goal was to bring
      Christianity back into harmony with modern reason, liberating it,
      that is to say, from seemingly philosophical and theological
      elements, such as faith in Christ's divinity and the triune God.
      In this sense, historical-critical exegesis of the New
      Testament restored to theology its place within the university:
      theology, for Harnack, is something essentially historical and
      therefore strictly scientific. What it is able to say critically
      about Jesus is, so to speak, an expression of practical reason and
      consequently it can take its rightful place within the university.
      Behind this thinking lies the modern self-limitation of reason,
      classically expressed in Kant's "Critiques", but in the meantime
      further radicalized by the impact of the natural sciences. This
      modern concept of reason is based, to put it briefly, on a synthesis
      between Platonism (Cartesianism) and empiricism, a synthesis
      confirmed by the success of technology. On the one hand it
      presupposes the mathematical structure of matter, its intrinsic
      rationality, which makes it possible to understand how matter works
      and use it efficiently: this basic premise is, so to speak, the
      Platonic element in the modern understanding of nature. On the other
      hand, there is nature's capacity to be exploited for our purposes,
      and here only the possibility of verification or falsification
      through experimentation can yield ultimate certainty. The weight
      between the two poles can, depending on the circumstances, shift
      from one side to the other. As strongly positivistic a thinker as J.
      Monod has declared himself a convinced Platonist/Cartesian.
      This gives rise to two principles which are crucial for the
      issue we have raised. First, only the kind of certainty resulting
      from the interplay of mathematical and empirical elements can be
      considered scientific. Anything that would claim to be science must
      be measured against this criterion. Hence the human sciences, such
      as history, psychology, sociology, and philosophy, attempt to
      conform themselves to this canon of scientificity. A second point,
      which is important for our reflections, is that by its very nature
      this method excludes the question of God, making it appear an
      unscientific or pre-scientific question. Consequently, we are faced
      with a reduction of the radius of science and reason, one which
      needs to be questioned.
      We shall return to this problem later. In the meantime, it
      must be observed that from this standpoint any attempt to maintain
      theology's claim to be "scientific" would end up reducing
      Christianity to a mere fragment of its former self. But we must say
      more: it is man himself who ends up being reduced, for the
      specifically human questions about our origin and destiny, the
      questions raised by religion and ethics, then have no place within
      the purview of collective reason as defined by "science" and must
      thus be relegated to the realm of the subjective. The subject then
      decides, on the basis of his experiences, what he considers tenable
      in matters of religion, and the subjective "conscience" becomes the
      sole arbiter of what is ethical. In this way, though, ethics and
      religion lose their power to create a community and become a
      completely personal matter.
      This is a dangerous state of affairs for humanity, as we see
      from the disturbing pathologies of religion and reason which
      necessarily erupt when reason is so reduced that questions of
      religion and ethics no longer concern it. Attempts to construct an
      ethic from the rules of evolution or from psychology and sociology,
      end up being simply inadequate.
      Before I draw the conclusions to which all this has been
      leading, I must briefly refer to the third stage of dehellenization,
      which is now in progress. In the light of our experience with
      cultural pluralism, it is often said nowadays that the synthesis
      with Hellenism achieved in the early Church was a preliminary
      inculturation which ought not to be binding on other cultures. The
      latter are said to have the right to return to the simple message of
      the New Testament prior to that inculturation, in order to
      inculturate it anew in their own particular milieux. This thesis is
      not only false; it is coarse and lacking in precision. The New
      Testament was written in Greek and bears the imprint of the Greek
      spirit, which had already come to maturity as the Old Testament
      developed. True, there are elements in the evolution of the early
      Church which do not have to be integrated into all cultures.
      Nonetheless, the fundamental decisions made about the relationship
      between faith and the use of human reason are part of the faith
      itself; they are developments consonant with the nature of faith
      And so I come to my conclusion. This attempt, painted with
      broad strokes, at a critique of modern reason from within has
      nothing to do with putting the clock back to the time before the
      Enlightenment and rejecting the insights of the modern age. The
      positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly:
      we are all grateful for the marvelous possibilities that it has
      opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been
      granted to us. The scientific ethos, moreover, is the will to be
      obedient to the truth, and, as such, it embodies an attitude which
      reflects one of the basic tenets of Christianity. The intention here
      is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of broadening
      our concept of reason and its application.
      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. 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. 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. In the Western
      world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms
      of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet 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. 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. At the same time, as I have
      attempted to show, modern scientific reason with its intrinsically
      Platonic element bears within itself a question which points beyond
      itself and beyond the possibilities of its methodology.
      Modern scientific reason quite simply has to accept the
      rational structure of matter and the correspondence between our
      spirit and the prevailing rational structures of nature as a given,
      on which its methodology has to be based. Yet the question why this
      has to be so is a real question, and one which has to be remanded by
      the natural sciences to other modes and planes of thought: to
      philosophy and theology.
      For philosophy and, albeit in a different way, for theology,
      listening to the great experiences and insights of the religious
      traditions of humanity, and those of the Christian faith in
      particular, is a source of knowledge, and to ignore it would be an
      unacceptable restriction of our listening and responding. Here I am
      reminded of something Socrates said to Phaedo. In their earlier
      conversations, many false philosophical opinions had been raised,
      and so Socrates says: "It would be easily understandable if someone
      became so annoyed at all these false notions that for the rest of
      his life he despised and mocked all talk about being - but in this
      way he would be deprived of the truth of existence and would suffer
      a great loss".
      The West has long been endangered by this aversion to the
      questions which underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great
      harm thereby. The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and
      not the denial of its grandeur – this is the program with which a
      theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our
      time. "Not to act reasonably (with logos) is contrary to the nature
      of God", said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of
      God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. 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.

      Koran Quotes

      Chapter 8:12 "…Verily I am with you; wherefore confirm those who
      believe. I will cast a dread into the hearts of the unbelievers.
      Therefore strike off their heads, and strike off all the ends of
      their fingers."

      Chapter 8:67 reads, "It hath not been granted unto any prophet, that
      he should possess captives, until he hath made a great slaughter of
      the infidels in the earth."

      Chapter 9:123 reads, "O true believers, wage war against such of the
      infidels as are near you; and let them find severity in you: and
      know that God is with those who fear him."

      "Slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive),
      and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush" (Sura 9.5).

      "Those that make war against Allah and His apostle and spread
      disorder in the land shall be slain or crucified or have their hands
      and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the land.
      They shall be held up to shame in this world and sternly punished in
      the hereafter." (Sura 5.33-34)

      "Allah revealed His will to the angels, saying: 'I shall be with
      you. Give courage to the believers. I shall cast terror into the
      hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very
      tips of their fingers!' That was because they defied Allah and His
      apostle. He that defies Allah and his apostle shall be sternly
      punished by Allah." (Sura 8.12-13)

      "In order that Allah may separate the pure from the impure, put all
      the impure ones one on top of another in a heap and cast them into
      hell. They will have been the ones to have lost." (Sura 8.37)

      "Muster against them all the men and cavalry at your command, so
      that you may strike terror into the enemy of Allah and your enemy,
      and others besides them who are unknown to you but known to Allah."
      (Sura 8.60)

      "Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and deal
      harshly with them. Hell shall be their home: an evil fate." (Sura

      "When We resolve to raze a city, We first give warning to those of
      its people who live in comfort. If they persist in sin, judgement is
      irrevocably passed, and We destroy it utterly." (Sura 17.16-17)

      "When you meet the unbelievers in jihad, chop off their heads. And
      when you have brought them low, bind your prisoners rigorously. Then
      set them free or take ransom from them until the war is ended."
      (Sura 47.4)

      "Mohammed is Allah's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to
      the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Sura 48.29)
      IV. Excerpts of Verses

      "And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from
      whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than
      slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until
      they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them;
      such is the recompense of the unbelievers."

      "Yea! if you remain patient and are on your guard, and they come
      upon you in a headlong manner, your Lord will assist you with five
      thousand of the havoc-making angels."

      "Fight then in Allah's way...rouse the believers to ardor maybe
      Allah will restrain the fighting of those who disbelieve... "

      "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle
      and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they
      should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should
      be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned"

      "...fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion
      should be only for Allah…"

      "O Prophet! urge the believers to war; if there are twenty patient
      ones of you they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a
      hundred of you they shall overcome a thousand of those who
      disbelieve, because they are a people who do not understand ...if
      there are a hundred patient ones of you they shall overcome two
      hundred, and if there are a thousand they shall overcome two
      thousand by Allah's permission... "

      "...fight the polytheists all together as they fight you all
      together... "

      "...when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the
      necks until when you have overcome them, then make prisoners, and
      afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom until
      the war terminates…"

      "Be not fainthearted then; and invite not the infidels to peace when
      ye have the upper hand: for God is with you, and will not defraud
      you of the recompense of your works... "

      " ...surely from among your wives and your children there is an
      enemy to you; therefore beware of them"

      "So obey not the unbelievers and fight strenuously with them in many
      a strenuous fight. "


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