Pope Benedict, President Bush,
And The "Dialogue Of Cultures"
POPE'S LECTURE TRIGGERS GLOBAL
ISLAMIC PROTEST -- AND A SURGE IN THE VERY HIGH DESTRUCTIVE POTENTIAL OF
Released: 28 September, 2006.
© Macroknow Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Pope Benedict's meeting with the
Science in the Aula Magna of the University of Regensburg
on 12 September 2006 triggered a global Islamic protest.
Why? Benedict's lecture at Regensburg
included this quote from
the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus: "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
(my emphasis). Muslims were insulted.
Why were Muslims insulted? Simple.
Muslims (and many Christians) are sick and tired of Western "doublethink."
I like Benedict, I agree that the logos (reason) is essential if we
are to have a "dialogue of cultures." I also agree that "theology
rightly belongs in the university . . . as
inquiry into the rationality of faith"1
(my emphasis). But Benedict's lecture has a problem. Benedict quotes Manuel II
on Christianity, Islam and truth, and forgets to mention the violence of the
Christian crusades. Benedict appropriates the logos for
Christianity, but not for Islam, and remains silent about the Church's
against Galileo's scientific reason. Unreason has its own historicity
the Gospel of Thomas attributes the
following quote to Jesus: "Jesus said, 'Men think, perhaps, that
it is peace which I have come to cast upon the world. They do not know that
it is dissension which I have come to cast upon the earth: fire, sword, and
war. . . '"2
Apparently, Islam has no monopoly over crossing swords in faith!
For many around the globe, Western doublethink has
reached its apex with
President George W. Bush. President Bush cants daily about freedom,
democracy, and the "rule of law" -- for Afghanistan, for Iraq,
for Syria, for Lebanon, and for other
Arab countries. But Americans look at themselves and see an indentured
people. They look at their "rule of law" and see a Darwinistic
favors lenders over borrowers. Many Americans are disillusioned with
America's freedom, democracy, and "rule of law. As at the end of 2006Q2, America's total debt (domestic financial and nonfinancial sectors and foreign) was in excess of $42.760 trillion
(up from $2.173 trillion as at yearend 2003)!3 People cannot be free
when their debt is so monstrous. The Tanach states clearly: "The rich rule
the poor and the borrower is the slave of the lender" (Proverbs 22:7).
If we are to believe the Hebrew sages, given the monstrosity of America's
debt, we have to conclude that there is too much slavery in America.
"Not to act reasonably, not to act with logos, is contrary
to the nature of God", said Manuel II.1
It is time, we in the so-called West, start acting with authentic logos. Only
then can we begin to have an authentic "dialogue of cultures." On
this, Benedict and I, and I suspect most Christians and Muslims, can be of the same mind.
1 Pope Benedict
XVI. Faith, Reason and the University.
Memories and Reflections. Meeting with the
Representatives of Science in the Aula Magna of the University of
Regensburg, 12-Sep-06. The Holy See, Benedict XVI,
Speech. (Provisional translation.)
James M. Robinson (ed.). The Nag Hammadi Library in English. 3rd
completely revised edition. Translated and introduced by members of the
Coptic Gnostic Library Project of the Institute for Antiquity and
Christianity, Claremont, California. Afterword by Richard Smith. E. J.
Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands, 1978, 1988. New York, NY: HarperCollins
Publishers, 1990. The Gospel of Thomas (II,2).
Introduced by Helmut Koester. Translated by Thomas O. Lambdin, at 128.
For additional quotes and references, see
Gnostics in the Macroknow Library.
Flow of Funds
Accounts of the United States, 19-Sep-06.
Board of Governors of the
Federal Reserve System.
[D3. Debt Outstanding by