The most important address commemorating 9/11/01 was delivered on 9/12/06, a day after the fifth anniversary of this cataclysmic act of jihad terrorism. It was not delivered by President Bush, and was not even pronounced in the United States. On September 12, 2006 at the University of Regensburg, Pope Benedict XVI delivered a lecture (“adding some allusions of the moment”) entitled, “Faith, Reason and the University”.
Despite his critique of modern reason, Benedict argued that he did not intend to promote a retrogression,
…back to the time before the Enlightenment and reject[ing] 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.
Christianity, the Pope maintained, was indelibly linked to reason and he contrasted this view with those who believe in spreading their faith by the sword. Benedict developed this argument by recounting the late 14th century “Dialogue Held With A Certain Persian, the Worthy Mouterizes, in Anakara of Galatia” between the Byzantine ruler Manuel II Paleologus, and a well-educated Muslim interlocutor. The crux of this part of his presentation, was the following:
Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. ‘God’, he [the Byzantine ruler] 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’....
However, it is Benedict’s discussion of the Byzantine ruler’s allusions to “…the theme of the jihad (holy war)”—Koran 2:256, “There is no compulsion in religion”, notwithstanding—that has unleashed a firestorm of condemnation and violence from Muslims across the world. Here are the words deemed so incendiary by both Muslim leaders, and the masses:
Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the ‘Book’ and the ‘infidels’, he [Manuel II Paleologus] turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these
words: ‘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 historical context for these words—which were likely written by Manuel II Paleologus between 1391 and 1394—turns out be much more banal, albeit unknown to fulminating Muslims (here; here),and Islamic apologists of all ilks, especially the disingenuous Muslim (here; here) and hand-wringing non-Muslim promoters of empty “civilizational dialogue”. Read More.
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