One man's view of the world, from the top of this great big rock somewhere in the middle of God's Country, with an eye toward freedom....or at least some way to get back down without goin' over the edge.

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Location: West Virginia, United States

Former U.S. Army, SPC E-4, Veteran of Operation Desert Storm. If you are or have ever been a soldier, you have friends in my house.

Monday, September 18, 2006

A Pope With A Pair

Well, at least now we know why the Pope wears a dress.

It's 'cause he needs the extra trunk demonstrated by his recent homecoming speech at the University of Regensburg in Germany, where he was once a theology professor.

From a rather in-depth article in Wikipedia:
In three paragraphs at the beginning of the speech, Benedict quoted from and discussed an argument made by Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos in a 1391 dialogue with an (unnamed) educated Persian, as well as observations on this argument made by Theodore Khoury, the scholar whose edition of Manuel II's dialogues to which the Pontiff was referring. Benedict used Manuel II's argument in order to draw a distinction between the Christian view, as expressed by Manuel II, that "not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature", and the Islamic view, as explained by Khoury, that God transcends concepts such as rationality, and his will, as Ibn Hazm stated, is not constrained by any principle, including rationality.
From the speech itself:
In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that sura 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to the experts, this 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 addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "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, after having expressed himself so forcefully, 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", he says, "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…

Yeah, you in the back, you heard me. How ironic is it, pray, that the only guy on the planet with big enough balls to bring a truly historical perspective of the Muslim faith to the world stage is the current leader of the Roman Catholic Church -- a religious entity which, on the whole, at least nominally commands that its preachers have no use for them?

Note that word "historical", folks. Whether these words reflect his true opinions of Islam is irrelevant here, because he didn't present them that way. He cited a quote from a man over 600 years dead, as an example, in an intellectual study of the subject.
That's right, folks...Pope Benedict XVI doesn't just go with his gut. He goes with his brain, too.

Don't take my word for it. Ask Time Magazine's Jeff Israely:

On Tuesday, in a riveting and provocative university lecture, the Pope explored the philosophical and historical differences between Islam and Christianity—a speech that would become the surprise centerpiece of a five-day visit that many had expected would be mostly just a walk down memory lane. There is little doubt left that Benedict is indeed highly attuned to the risks of fundamentalist terrorism. In fact, it is testament to where this problem stands on his list of priorities that he used the occasion of his triumphant return to Regensburg University, where he taught theology in the 1970s, to deliver a lecture that explored how Christians and Muslims may have historically viewed the relationship between violence and faith, based on the two religions' conceptions of the divinity.


This is indeed Benedict doing it on his own terms. Rather than tackling the challenge of fundamentalist terrorism with a pithy remark packaged for the 9/11 anniversary or reaching for a John Paul-inspired sweeping gesture, the professor Pope went digging into his books.

Oh, wait, I forgot...the God of Islam transcends rationality. How silly of me.

And so, without the benefit of rationality, the followers of Islam fall back on their old stand-by -- REACtionality -- and prove the dead guy to have been...well, dead on.

And you know what? He even issued a statement of regret afterwards. And that still isn't enough for these people.

Why? Simple.

He didn't say he was sorry he said it, because he wasn't. He didn't say he was wrong, because he wasn't.
He simply said he was sorry people didn't like it. Which is all he needed to say.

Now I'm no expert here, friends, but it seems to me that Islam has had this coming for a long time. Muslim history -- like other religions, Christianity included -- has a pretty good-sized trail of blood in its past.

The main difference between Islam and other world faiths (to me, at least) is that, through the centuries, most of the world's other surviving religions have eventually learned how to answer the secular world with something other than steel, and to find ways to live peaceably enough within it that they can attract new converts simply by letting their own lives speak for their faith.

Sadly, the lives of a great many practitioners of Islam seem to have only one method with which to attract new followers: "Convert or die."

How is it, you might ask, that I say this is the only message Islam has for outsiders?
A good question. To answer, I will say that I have indeed heard a different message from a Muslim.


If only one of them has the 'nads to call out his faith's own monsters, the rest of them have NO room to bitch and moan when someone else stands up to do it for them....not that that'll stop them.

I will end this post with a missive from The Anchoress, who quite rightly points out what happened the last time someone stood up to the rattle of scimitars. (Hint: two guys got shot, and the rest is history.)
Read her other posts on this topic, too...they're an earful.

Oh -- and a tip o'the rock goes to the crew at Wizbang for the links to the Time and New York Post articles.)