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Benedict's lecture 
15th-Sep-2006 11:37 pm
Throughout the Islamic world, pope Benedict's remarks on Islam in a lecture at the university of Regensburg in Germany unleashed a torrent of fury and rage that resembles the irrational violent protests after the Danish caricatures of Muhammad (only confirming that claims about irrationality and violence of Islam have indeed some foundation).

Actually, the objectionable quote about Islam by a Medieval King was only an illustration for his main thesis that Christian faith is incompatible with violence and irrationality.

Because of the political complications caused by that quote, the main proposition of Benedict's lecture is unfortunately overlooked by most people. He emphasized repeatedly the following:

"Nicht vernunftgemäß handeln, ist dem Wesen Gottes zuwider."

This means: "Not to act according to reason (rationality) is adverse to the character of God."

I think this is a very important point. It is the opposite of what UBF is preaching, to neglect sound reason and listen only to what your spiritual superiors say (i.e. UBF's doctrine that "even if you don't understand the orientation of your leader, you must obey him anyway") and UBF's overall disesteem of sound reasoning and rational examination of everything.

In this, the pope has a much better theology than UBF. Overall, the Catholic doctrines and understanding of God are surely much less aberrant than the teachings of UBF and their image of God.
16th-Sep-2006 03:46 am (UTC)
Because of the political complications caused by that quote, the main proposition of Benedict's lecture is unfortunately overlooked by most people.

You are right. The Pope's main point is:"Nicht vernunftgemäß handeln, ist dem Wesen Gottes zuwider."

I read the English translation of the Pope's lecture. It also seems to me that another key point of his lecture is the critical evaluation of modern rationality, especially of the West, and its application. He says near the end of his lecture the following:

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.

I think the Muslims didn't read the Pope's lecture to the end. When they came to the part in the beginning of the lecture, "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", they stopped everything and became irrationally mad. Ironically, that is exactly what the Pope was worried about the current spiritual condition of today's world, not only of the West but also of the East. I agree 100% with the Pope on his great theological argument. Despite of his old age, the Pope seems to be very powerful in his reasoning. I used to think that the Popes were all as stupid as Dr. Samuel Lee. But I think this Pope might be different.

The Pope says: "Not to act reasonably, not to act 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. But the Muslims worship the spiritual legacy of Mohammed as the UBFKoreans worship the spiritual legacy of Dr. Samuel Lee.
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