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BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy

Ed T 24 Jan 09 - 06:16 PM
Ed T 24 Jan 09 - 06:13 PM
Ed T 24 Jan 09 - 06:12 PM
GUEST 23 Sep 06 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,lox 23 Sep 06 - 05:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Sep 06 - 06:17 AM
DMcG 23 Sep 06 - 05:23 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Sep 06 - 04:48 AM
GUEST 23 Sep 06 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,dianavan 23 Sep 06 - 03:58 AM
DMcG 23 Sep 06 - 03:27 AM
Greg F. 22 Sep 06 - 09:59 PM
GUEST 22 Sep 06 - 08:57 PM
GUEST 22 Sep 06 - 08:51 PM
GUEST,lox 22 Sep 06 - 08:11 PM
dianavan 22 Sep 06 - 07:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Sep 06 - 07:13 PM
Charmain 22 Sep 06 - 07:10 PM
GUEST,lox 22 Sep 06 - 06:17 PM
pdq 22 Sep 06 - 05:22 PM
GUEST 22 Sep 06 - 03:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Sep 06 - 01:25 PM
beardedbruce 22 Sep 06 - 01:17 PM
Lonesome EJ 22 Sep 06 - 11:59 AM
beardedbruce 22 Sep 06 - 11:54 AM
Paul Burke 22 Sep 06 - 07:49 AM
Keith A of Hertford 22 Sep 06 - 07:41 AM
Paul Burke 22 Sep 06 - 06:00 AM
Joe Offer 22 Sep 06 - 04:09 AM
robomatic 22 Sep 06 - 12:32 AM
Stilly River Sage 21 Sep 06 - 11:52 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Sep 06 - 08:57 PM
GUEST 21 Sep 06 - 04:20 PM
Scoville 21 Sep 06 - 03:30 PM
GUEST 21 Sep 06 - 02:06 PM
Don Firth 21 Sep 06 - 01:53 PM
GUEST 21 Sep 06 - 01:39 PM
GUEST 21 Sep 06 - 01:25 PM
GUEST 21 Sep 06 - 01:13 PM
Grab 21 Sep 06 - 08:34 AM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 21 Sep 06 - 06:33 AM
GUEST 21 Sep 06 - 05:24 AM
Thomas the Rhymer 21 Sep 06 - 01:58 AM
Mr Happy 20 Sep 06 - 08:47 PM
Mr Happy 20 Sep 06 - 08:17 PM
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GUEST 20 Sep 06 - 04:33 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Ed T
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 06:16 PM

Oh well, here is the text:


Pope move ignites Holocaust row
Pope Benedict in Rome on 21/1/09
The Vatican seeks to separate the bishops' status from their views

The Pope has lifted the excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church of four bishops appointed by a breakaway archbishop more than 20 years ago.

One of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre's appointees, Briton Richard Williamson, outraged Jews by saying the Nazi gas chambers did not exist.

Two of the other three appointees are French while the fourth is Argentinean.

Israel's envoy to the Vatican said the papal decision would "cast a shadow on relations with Jews".

"We have no intention of interfering in the internal workings of the Catholic Church, however, the eagerness to bring a Holocaust denier back into the Church will cast a shadow on relations between Jews and the Catholic Church," Mordechai Lewy told Reuters news agency.

Lefebvre, who died in 1991, rebelled against liberal reforms in the Church, such as the end of the Latin Mass.

He opposed replacing the traditional Mass with services in national languages.

The Vatican said the excommunications had been lifted after the bishops affirmed their willingness to accept Church teachings and papal authority.

'No gas chambers'

Relations between the Vatican and representatives of the Jewish faith have been strained throughout much of the Church's recent history; Jewish groups have accused Pope Pius of turning a blind eye to the fate of the Jews in World War II.

The latest move by Pope Benedict is likely to add to those strains.

Bishop Richard Williamson recently told Swedish TV: "I believe there were no gas chambers. I think that two to three hundred thousand Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers."

The Vatican has distanced itself from those remarks.

But its spokesman, Rev Federico Lombardi, still stood by the decision to rehabilitate Bishop Williamson and the others.

"This act regards the lifting of the excommunications, period," he told reporters.

"It has nothing to do with the personal opinions of a person, which are open to criticism, but are not pertinent to this decree."


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Ed T
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 06:13 PM

Sorry, here is a link
: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7849226.stm


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Ed T
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 06:12 PM

Old thread, but did not know where to put this news story....so decided to put it here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7849226.stm


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Sep 06 - 05:08 PM

The only place Moslems could be effective is in countries that have radical Imams. And I don't think it would be wise for plain folk to bitch too much. It's difficult to talk with no head.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 23 Sep 06 - 05:04 PM

as I understand it monotheism came from the african nomads to begin with. The turkana, samburu and maasai of east africa for example have been monotheistic for thousands of years.

Why? because their lives aren't cluttered.

The sky is all powerful in the desert.

The sun is brutal and unforgiving, yet provides light and heat. Clouds tell of where the rains will next fall and direct the nomad to his next destination so that he can ensure his cattle always have food (in a desert, available resources are depleted quickly). The stars tell him where he is by helping him navigate.

It makes sense to worship one all powerful god.


Settled folk have gods for chairs, tables, food, houses, schools, etc (a slightly frivolous exaggeration but you get the point)

And don't forget that Moses led the early jews (arguably nomadic) out of north africa (egypt to be precise) into israel, before some of them evolved into christians and some of those became moslems (again a slightly gross simplification but central meaning remains valid)

Mohammed (to get to the main point) was a few thousand years late with the monotheistic revolution in africa I'm afraid.


On the subject of loonies (with the exception of myself) , I like the point Greg F makes that we don't do anything about christian and jewish fundamentalist activists - what indeed would we be meant to do? I don't know and I don't believe anyone else can offer a better alternative than trying to feed and encourage healthy debate (like the pope is) so as to try and ensure that humanity keeps thinking and doesn't lose faith in reason thus condemning itself to a more violent and unpredictable future.

Likewise (just in case the point isn't clear), where would a mainstream moslem, with a family and a job and a tv and a car etc go to confront fringe moslems? afghanistan? what would happen to him when he got there? etc etc

I have to confess that I hear everyday moderate moslems saying everyday "please don't tar us all with the same brush" but we don't hear them because 1. it's boring news and gets glossed over by our sensationalism blindspot and 2. because we are too busy trying to shift responsibility onto them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Sep 06 - 06:17 AM

A map indicating the early spread of Islam. All long before the Crusaders came along.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: DMcG
Date: 23 Sep 06 - 05:23 AM

DMcG - Exactly!

He didn't have to point the finger at Islam.


Ummm, can I disagree with you agreeing with me? I think for various reasons he did have to point the finger at Islam. Where he went wrong was pointing a finger at Islam as the only example, and in particular without saying Christianity also has a long history of violence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Sep 06 - 04:48 AM

Finding out about the history is interesting too. Having a few facts makes the arguments much more interesting as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Sep 06 - 04:12 AM

"Mohammed brought monotheism to nomadic tribes of the desert. It was, I believe, quite an accomplishment. I don't think it took armies."

Try reading history before making comments like this.

"If Muslims had to take up the sword, it was probably to protect themselves from the Christian Crusaders."

That OCCURRED 400 YEARS later?



Those who do not pay attention to history are doomed to repeat it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST,dianavan
Date: 23 Sep 06 - 03:58 AM

DMcG - Exactly!

He didn't have to point the finger at Islam.

He knew exactly what he was doing.

...and btw

Mohammed brought monotheism to nomadic tribes of the desert. It was, I believe, quite an accomplishment. I don't think it took armies.

How many nomadic tribes in North and South America were converted without the sword?

All of the monotheist religions converted the aboriginals by the sword. If Muslims had to take up the sword, it was probably to protect themselves from the Christian Crusaders.

The pope is well-educated. I don't think it was an accident that he pointed the finger at Islam.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: DMcG
Date: 23 Sep 06 - 03:27 AM

I'm sure they'll get right on it just so soon as you & your friends shut down the "christian"[sic] fundamentalist loonies, and the Jewish fundamentalist loonies.

Yes, there's plenty of each to go around. But we all have to shut them all down: insisting "you go first" will simply mean nothing happens (or rather, it all gets worse.) And it can only be Christians shutting down Christians, Jews Jews, Islamists Islamists and so on if you want to keep cries of 'persecution' to a minimum.

As to the main topic of the thread: I would have preferred it if Pope Benedict had included both the lines that are causing the controversy and a similar quotation about the violence the Catholic Church in the past (and not necessarily such a distant example either.) The lecture was about religious attitudes as a whole and if he had restricted himself to Catholicism the lecture would have been seen as about Catholic attitudes, rather than religious attitudes in general. However by singling out Islam he has missed the target in the opposite direction. Had he included both Islam and Christianity, the Islamist would still have been furious that he identified violence within Islam, but Pope's argument would be more defensible.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Greg F.
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 09:59 PM

maybe it's time your peaceful friends started shutting down the radical Imams who control so much.

I'm sure they'll get right on it just so soon as you & your friends shut down the "christian"[sic] fundamentalist loonies, and the Jewish fundamentalist loonies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 08:57 PM

Oh. And before the "I have an Islamic friend" crew start with how peaceful the friend is, maybe it's time your peaceful friends started shutting down the radical Imams who control so much.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 08:51 PM

Read many speeches and more than a few encyclicals. He has as much right to voice his views as do the Imams who make the news. I am tired of hearing about poor old slandered Islam. Get rid of their radicals and then MAYBE we can all live in something that resembles peace with the rest of the world. Until then, I think they should be ignored totally, and where they wage war, it's time to wage war back. In truth, it is fast becoming 'them' or 'us'. I'd rather it be us standing when the battles are over.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 08:11 PM

no - it's one question - concerning two opposing viewpoints within a theological debate.

you may be right (and I would personally tend to think you are) about the popes personal view on the subject. And I would also say yes to the first part if it is true, but it wouldn't be from an informed theological perspective and I wouldn't base my view on the importance of greek thinking in catholic theology.

One thing I can gather is that he intended to challenge theological preconceptions and loyalties in both catholicism and islam.

I hope you weren't meaning to defend him from his own line of enquiry.

Moving on from his intent, mine was to highlight the difficulty he and we face in confronting the issue of the violent politicization of religious dogma which is interpreted in completely different ways by those who follow it, yet even within their own faith they cannot rely on the sanity of reason to debate their differences as their faith allegedly trancends it.

perhaps the pope deliberately intended to stir up the debate and it is a good thing - if your religion transcends reason and therefore you are somehow belittling it by trying to understand it through the use of reason, then how else are you supposed to resolve conflict within your own theology - let alone in the political arena.

I totally support his freedom of speech and right to spark an intelligent international debate. We're so angry with the reaction to his speech that we can't see just how beneficial it really has been.

Not least as he is clearly a man of peace (he wasn't born till quite a long time after the inquisition) he has given an expression of respect and humility to islam and he now wishes to engage moslem leaders in dialogue.

Islam has a new scapegoat who is willing to be sacrificed, nobody cares about bush because everyone is listening to the pope for once, and he isn't about to send the troops in but is prepared to listen and engage.

The world is full of millions of catholics in third world countries that are prime targets for islamist political propaganda who have no context within which to understand issues like this other than those set by Fox and Al Jazeera.

How will Islam (the arabic for peace) react to the popes humility?


How will mainstream Islam react to its embarrassing fringe?

These are just the thoughts that have occurred to me off the top of my head tonight, all provoked by a line from a boring lecture in a college.

How many of us have ever read a popes speech before?


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: dianavan
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 07:57 PM

"However, the inconvenient truth is that after centuries of religious wars, Christendom long ago gave it up."

Christendom no longer has their own army but...

They still invest heavily in the war industry and support warring governments. I don't think they gave up their religious wars at all. Religious leaders are (Moslem, Jew and Christian) are quite willing to add fuel to the fire. Govts. and religions work hand in glove. Govts. do the dirty work and religion controls the people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 07:13 PM

That's two questions. And I rather think the answers the pope would favour would be Yes" to the first and "No" to the second.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Charmain
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 07:10 PM

I don't think that dude is the pope anyway - he looks nothing like him - I know what the Pope looks like, my Grandma used to have a teatowel of him on her kitchen wall - Oi Ratzenberger how many goals did you save for Poland?


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 06:17 PM

so to distill the speech down a bit, the pope could be seen to be asking the question:

'Are catholics right to criticize moslems (like the emperor did in this example) for not making reason an essential part of faith, or has reason just been allowed to become the norm in catholic theology because of the influence of the ancient greeks?'

Another slightly wittier "jihad" activist might turn round and say "look - your pope endorses our brutality" (note I say 'Jihad activist' and not just 'Moslem').

Problem is that paradox is created - if according to my reasoning it is contrary to my faith to employ the use of reason then by that very assertion I have to consider that my reasoning is irrelevant thus rendering my whole point ... well ... pointless.

And if I am not allowed to justify my actions reasonably or to act, therefore, in a reasonable fashion then I am compelled to ignore all convention etc ... it stands to reason ... oh sh*t ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: pdq
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 05:22 PM

beardedbruce put foreward an article by Charles Krauthammer. Just for the record, here is a biography of him. Note that "speech writer for Walter Mondale" may have been a waste of his time.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Charles Krauthammer          

Winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary, Charles Krauthammer writes a syndicated column for the Washington Post that appears in over 150 newspapers worldwide. He also writes a monthly essay for Time magazine, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and The New Republic, serves on the editorial boards of The National Interest and The Public Interest, and is a weekly panelist on Inside Washington and a contributor to FOX News.

For two decades, Krauthammer's influential writings have helped frame the shape of American foreign policy. He coined and developed The Reagan Doctrine (Time, April 1985), defined the structure of the post-Cold War world in The Unipolar Moment (Foreign Affairs, 1990/1991), and outlined the principles of post-9/11 American foreign policy in his Irving Kristol Lecture, Democratic Realism (AEI Press, March 2004).

Born in New York City and raised in Montreal, Krauthammer was educated at McGill University (B.A. 1970), Oxford University (Commonwealth Scholar in Politics) and Harvard (M.D. 1975). While a resident and then chief resident in psychiatry at Mass General Hospital, he published scientific papers, including his co-discovery of a form of
bipolar disease, that continue to be cited in psychiatric literature.

In 1978, Charles Krauthammer quit medicine, came to Washington to direct planning in psychiatric research in the Carter administration, and began contributing articles to The New Republic. During the Presidential campaign of 1980, he served as a speechwriter to Vice President Walter Mondale. He joined The New Republic as a writer and editor in 1981. His New Republic writings won the 1984 National Magazine Award for Essays and Criticism, the highest award in magazine journalism.

In 2001, Dr. Krauthammer was appointed to the President's Council on Bioethics. He has been honored by many organizations, including the Center for Security Policy (Mighty Pen Award) and People for the American Way (First
Amendment Award). In 2003 he was a recipient of the first annual Bradley Prize.

Charles Krauthammer is a founding board member of Washington's Shoresh Hebrew High School and president of The Krauthammer Foundation. He serves as chairman of Pro Musica Hebraica, a society founded by his wife, Robyn, dedicated to the rediscovery of classical Jewish music. He lives in suburban Washington with Robyn, an artist. Their son, Daniel, is a sophomore at Harvard University.          
 


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 03:24 PM

Any chance Mohammed was gay?


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 01:25 PM

"John Knox was probably rather like that"

Indeed - which is why those who keep on about the problem being that Islam hasn't has a Reformation are wide of the mark.

It's far closer to the truth to say that the problems are a by-product of an Islamic Reformation which is in full swing, and has a lot in common with many aspects of the Christian Reformation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: beardedbruce
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 01:17 PM

Analysis: Pope's remarks are consistent

By VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press Writer
Tue Sep 19, 2:54 PM ET

VATICAN CITY -       Pope Benedict XVI's remarks on Islam and holy war that have angered much of the Muslim world are in line with his efforts to spare religion from violence and extremism.

During his 17-month papacy, Benedict has lectured Muslims on the need to teach their young to shun violence, suggested that violent as well as peaceful strains are part of Islam and pressed for religious freedom — part of efforts to extend rights to Christians in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East.

While Benedict's comments on Islam and holy war may not have been "politically correct," said former       Vatican diplomat John-Peter Pham, "today much of our dialogue is fruitless because we feel constrained from saying what we really think."

The source of the Islamic anger was a speech last week in which the pontiff cited a Medieval text that characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as "evil and inhuman," particularly "his command to spread by the sword the faith."

While the pope later said he was "deeply sorry" over the reactions to his remarks and that they did not reflect his own opinions, top churchmen rushed to his defense.

"The violent reactions in many parts of the Islamic world justified one of       Pope Benedict's main fears," said Australian Cardinal George Pell.

"They showed the link for many Islamists between religion and violence, their refusal to respond to criticism with rational arguments, but only with demonstrations, threats and actual violence," Pell said Monday.

In the Vatican's first response to the Muslim criticism, papal spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said it was clear that Benedict sought to "cultivate an attitude of respect toward other religions and cultures, including of course Islam."

But he also said it was important to the pope that there be a "clear and radical rejection of the religious motivation of violence."

Some Vatican analysts say Benedict is taking a harder line toward Islam then his predecessor,       Pope John Paul II, whose efforts for closer relations included a visit to a mosque in       Syria — the first by a pope to a Muslim house of worship.

They point to Benedict's decision in March to merge the Vatican's office for dialogue with Muslims with its culture office, and to send the English prelate who headed it, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, — considered a top Islamic expert — to Egypt as papal envoy.

Commenting on the move, the Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit authority on the Vatican, called Fitzgerald, "the smartest guy in the Vatican on relations with Muslims. You don't exile someone like that, you listen to them."

"If the Vatican says something dumb about Muslims, people will die in parts of Africa and churches will be burned in Indonesia, let alone what happens in the Middle East," Reese said in April.

Benedict, aides said, wrote the speech himself that he delivered last week to an audience of professors at the University of Regensburg, where he previously taught theology.

It is not known whether any aide was alarmed at the possibility for trouble, although journalists who received advance copies of the text asked the Vatican spokesman for explanations hours before Benedict delivered the address. When reading the lines about Islam, Benedict did add "I quote" twice.

It is not unusual for popes to make last-minute changes or to drop material for reasons that are often never explained.

For example, when Benedict visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland in May, then spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told reporters that the word "Shoah" — Hebrew for the Holocaust — would appear in the final version the pope delivered. Its omission would certainly have generated protests."


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 11:59 AM

The concepts of free speech, intelligent discussion, and healthy disagreement are alien and hostile to the concept of the infallibility inherent in Sharia Law. The reaction to the Pope's remarks, taken out of context and sensationalized, are an attempt to impose the irrationality of Islamic Theocracy on Western Institutions and traditions.
In this context, apology is appeasement, and the surrender of the right to self-expression in the face of ignorance and dogma is indicative of a fatal weakness of moral fiber.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: beardedbruce
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 11:54 AM

Tolerance: A Two-Way Street

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, September 22, 2006; Page A17

Religious fanatics, regardless of what name they give their jealous god, invariably have one thing in common: no sense of humor. Particularly about themselves. It's hard to imagine Torquemada taking a joke well.

Today's Islamists seem to have not even a sense of irony. They fail to see the richness of the following sequence. The pope makes a reference to a 14th-century Byzantine emperor's remark about Islam imposing itself by the sword, and to protest this linking of Islam and violence:

· In the West Bank and Gaza, Muslims attack seven churches.

· In London, the ever-dependable radical Anjem Choudary tells demonstrators at Westminster Cathedral that the pope is now condemned to death.

· In Mogadishu, Somali religious leader Abubukar Hassan Malin calls on Muslims to "hunt down" the pope. The pope not being quite at hand, they do the next best thing: shoot dead, execution-style, an Italian nun who worked in a children's hospital.

"How dare you say Islam is a violent religion? I'll kill you for it" is not exactly the best way to go about refuting the charge. But of course, refuting is not the point here. The point is intimidation.

First Salman Rushdie. Then the false Newsweek report about Koran-flushing at Guantanamo Bay. Then the Danish cartoons. And now a line from a scholarly disquisition on rationalism and faith given in German at a German university by the pope.

And the intimidation succeeds: politicians bowing and scraping to the mob over the cartoons; Saturday's craven New York Times editorial telling the pope to apologize; the plague of self-censorship about anything remotely controversial about Islam -- this in a culture in which a half-naked pop star blithely stages a mock crucifixion as the highlight of her latest concert tour.

In today's world, religious sensitivity is a one-way street. The rules of the road are enforced by Islamic mobs and abjectly followed by Western media, politicians and religious leaders.

The fact is that all three monotheistic religions have in their long histories wielded the sword. The Book of Joshua is knee-deep in blood. The real Hanukkah story, so absurdly twinned (by calendric accident) with the Christian festival of peace, is about a savage insurgency and civil war.

Christianity more than matched that lurid history with the Crusades, an ecumenical blood bath that began with the slaughter of Jews in the Rhineland, a kind of preseason warm-up to the featured massacres to come against the Muslims, with the sacking of the capital of Byzantium (the Fourth Crusade) thrown in for good measure.

And Islam, of course, spread with great speed from Arabia across the Mediterranean and into Europe. It was not all benign persuasion. After all, what were Islamic armies doing at Poitiers in 732 and the gates of Vienna in 1683? Tourism?

However, the inconvenient truth is that after centuries of religious wars, Christendom long ago gave it up. It is a simple and undeniable fact that the violent purveyors of monotheistic religion today are self-proclaimed warriors for Islam who shout "God is great" as they slit the throats of infidels -- such as those of the flight crews on Sept. 11, 2001 -- and are then celebrated as heroes and martyrs.

Just one month ago, two journalists were kidnapped in Gaza and were released only after their forced conversion to Islam. Where were the protests in the Islamic world at that act -- rather than the charge -- of forced conversion?

Where is the protest over the constant stream of vilification of Christianity and Judaism issuing from the official newspapers, mosques and religious authorities of Arab nations? When Sheik 'Atiyyah Saqr issues a fatwa declaring Jews "apes and pigs"? When Sheik Abd al-Aziz Fawzan al-Fawzan, professor of Islamic law, says on Saudi TV that "someone who denies Allah, worships Christ, son of Mary, and claims that God is one-third of a trinity. . . . Don't you hate the faith of such a polytheist?"

Where are the demonstrations, where are the parliamentary resolutions, where are the demands for retraction when the Mufti Sheik Ali Gum'a incites readers of al-Ahram, the Egyptian government daily, against "the true and hideous face of the blood-suckers . . . who prepare [Passover] matzos from human blood"?

The pope gives offense and the Mujaheddin al-Shura Council in Iraq declares that it "will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose the 'jizya' [head] tax; then the only thing acceptable is conversion or the sword." This to protest the accusation that Islam might be spread by the sword.

As I said. No sense of irony.

letters@charleskrauthammer.com


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Paul Burke
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 07:49 AM

John Knox was probably rather like that, Ian Paisley is just a pale imitation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 07:41 AM

Abu Izzadeen, the man who shouted down the British Home Secretary, was interviewed on BBC today.
He claimed to speak from THE Muslim viewpoint.
He said that he wanted Britain to be governed under Sharia law, but rejected the idea of using democratic means to achieve it.
It should be imposed by force.
By the sword, as it were.
Unfortunately, he was not asked for an opinion on the Pope's words.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Paul Burke
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 06:00 AM

Joe, there's nothing in that quote that wasn't meat and drink to mediaeval scholastics. An example is the question of whether God could will himself not to know something, so that free will could operate, or so that Jesus could actually suffer as a human. And similar debates took place in the Moslem world. Ad in similar circles- in debates between experts in their own scriptural field.

It's no good taking a snapshot of Christianity as it would like to see itself now, and comparing it with an equally two- dimensional view of another belief as we would like, perhaps, to see it. Religions in general are dynamic entities, and rational Islam exists as much as rational Christianity. And irrational Christianity exists too.

As soon as you posit a God who is all-knowing, all-powerful and all-good, you have an problem on your hands that no rational examination can resolve. So it's a bit sly to pretend that anything RELIGIOUS has been developed by reason. All that has really happened in Christendom is that religion has been tamed and forced to keep quiet about some of its key postulates.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 04:09 AM

SRS and Thomas the Rhymer quoted the most controversial parts of the lecture and presented them well, but SRS stopped just befor the part that stuck me most:
    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 Hazm 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 practise idolatry.
It seems to me that here he's trying to get people to understand Islamic thinking and how it's different from Western thought. The part in bold seems to be extremely favorable to Islam, almost to the point of encouraging Christians to look at God from an Islamic perspective to overcome some of the limitations of the Western approach.
Using the reference to jihad may be potentially inflammatory, but it's an example that Westerners are familiar with, a much more effective tool for illustration than some more obscure aspect of Islam would be. A major aspect of Islam is total abandonment of self to God and to the will of God. This abandonment can result in violent jihad, I suppose; but it can also result in remarkably constructive action like the Islamic advancements in mathematics or the wonderful Sufi mystic poetry of Persians like Hafez and Rumi.
I read somewhere that the passion of religious fervor can lead people to remarkable good, such as the good done by Gandhi and Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, Jr., and Dorothy Day and countless others. It can also lead to intolerance and hatred and destruction.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: robomatic
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 12:32 AM

If the 'alarming' quote is to be attributed to someone familiar with Constantinople under siege, it is quite understandable, and rather accurate, because Constantinople didn't stay Constantinople for very much longer, and hardly Christian at all, and this didn't occur over a long time and didn't result from peaceful means:



Istanbul was Constantinople,
Now its Istanbul not Constantinople,
Been a long time gone from Constantinople,
Now a Turkish delight on a moonlit night.

Every gal in Constantinople
Lives in Istanbul not Constantinople
So if you've a date in Constantinople
She'll be waiting in Istanbul.

Even old New York,
Was once New Amsterdam,
Why they changed it I can't say,
People just liked I better that way.

So take me back to Constantinople,
No you can't go back to Constantinople,
Been a long time gone from Constantinople,
Why did Constantinople get the works?
Thats nobodys business but the Turks.

Istanbul, Istanbul!

Even old New York,
Was once New Amsterdam,
Why they changed it I can't say,
People just liked I better that way.

So take me back to Constantinople,
No you can't go back to Constantinople,
Been a long time gone from Constantinople,
Why did Constantinople get the works?
Thats nobodys business but the Turks!

ISTANBUL!

(words by Jimmy Kennedy, music by Nat Simon)
sung by The Four Lads and They Might Be Giants


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 11:52 PM

Freightdawg hit it spot on, a perfect 10.

In this thread there are some classic responses--those who haven't read the speech are all up in arms and dismiss the privilege of the academic venue as an insignificant fact of the story:

He needs to catch up to the fact that his present role carries enormous impact, and to conduct himself accordingly.

That's why its important for him to remember that not everyone who hears him understand the cultural context of the message.

Those who actually read it have a different spin:

He's a very clever man.

The previous Pope was very good at sound bites and photo opportunities, and that made him very popular - but he didn't really have much to say that was satisfying to the intelligence. John Paul wrote extensively, but his writing wasn't particularly scholarly. He was wordy and stilted, and tended to spend a fair amount of time quoting his own previous statements. But he WAS good at sound bites.

I cannot see how those who have reacted as they have, and those who have apparently encouraged them, can have done so in good faith.

Back to the Pope. He owes the Muslim world NO apology. None at all. Why should he apologize for their stupid interpretation of what he said? All this type of response from Islamic fundamentalists is proving is that they should get rid of their radical Imams and replace them with halfwits. It would be a step up. The same could be said about Falwell and Robertson. Idiocy is not the domain of any single fundamentalism.

Islam these days has a hair-trigger on their 'insult meter', and there is a large % of them who are looking for any excuse to attack any westerners and any other religion or government for perceived insults.

If each religion confined itself to curing its own ills we wouldn't have these problems. Get the beam out of your own eye.

However, in this case, all I'm trying to do is to show how the polemics move through the mistaken incendiaries... toward a conclusion that is entirely free of judgement and bigotry towards Islam, but rather, means to be a wake up call to Christians; to bridge the chasm that has deepened between faith and reason. I believe he was merely painting the historical backdrop for a more complete understanding of today's complex religious misunderstandings... and how they have been ushered into our lives by a long history of misrepresentation and importune violence... which is indeed the hallmark of our quandries even today.




You can't stop making scholarly arguments for what you believe in because the rest of the world doesn't know how to listen critically to scholarly discourse. I am not a catholic, I am not a christian. I am an academic, and I am pleased to learn that this pope is more scholarly in his approach than the last one, who meant well, but didn't strike me as a mental giant. He had a better PR team--all of those languages he practiced for saying "hello" and "merry christmas" to everyone in around the world--those few words were all the masses seemed to require of their pope to make them happy. But now there is a pope of more substance who goes to universities and speaks to his peers. And some here say he shouldn't do this because of how it might be misconstrued?

If you are a scholar, you have to be able to name the thing you are discussing--you have to be able to say the words and use the examples to make the arguments. None of this "he-who-must-not-be-named" nonsense. This pope doesn't owe anyone an apology--but the media and the hotheads who took his words out of context to inflame others for their own political ends should offer (at the very least) a few heartfelt mea culpas. It won't happen, though. There are too many people in the world who won't take the time to find out what was really said, or to consider the value of discourse.

This pope might be more scary than the last one, depending on how he selects the texts he uses to justify the direction in which that church will travel. I don't agree with a great deal of the antiquated anti-women and anti-science ideas the church continues to impose on believers. With centuries of writings at his disposal, he can go anywhere and justify just about anything with ancient precedent. This is where he went on this occasion:

    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 scepticism 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 presumably 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 those of his Persian interlocutor.

    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 between - as they were called - three "Laws" or "rules of life": the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur'an.

    It is not my intention to discuss this question in the present lecture; here I would like to discuss only one point - itself rather marginal to the dialogue as a whole - 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 [text unclear] edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 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...".

    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.


Context is everything in scholarly discourse. Context is nothing to much of the world media. We are at an impasse.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 08:57 PM

So the pope is wrong in saying that making war in the name of religion is not a reasonable or a good thing to do, more especially if you hold to a Christian understanding of morality?

It's a pity perhaps that he wasn't more explicit in applying that to the way Christians have acted over the ages, and the attempt to put a veneer of Christian morality on warmaking today, but that wasn't what the lecture was about, and the traditional rhetoric in these matters does tend to be a bit ritualised.

But amyone presenting what he said as an attack on Islam seeme to me to be distorting it to serve a predetermined agenda.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 04:20 PM

They're Rioting in Africa (The Merry Minuet)

They're Rioting in Africa (The Merry Minuet)
(Sheldon Harnick)

Intro:
    There are days in my life when everything is dreary
    I grow pessimistic, sad and world weary.
    But when I'm tearful and fearfully upset
    I always sing this merry little minuet:

They're rioting in Africa
They're starving in Spain
There's hurricanes in Florida
And Texas needs rain.

The whole world is festering
With unhappy souls
The French hate the Germans,
The Germans hate the Poles

Italians hate Yugoslavs
South Africans hate the Dutch
And I don't like anybody very much

But we can be grateful
And thankful and proud
That man's been endowed
With a mushroom shaped cloud

And we know for certain
That some happy day
Someone will set the spark off
And we will all be blown away

They're rioting in Africa
There's strife in Iran
What nature doesn't do to us
Will be done by our fellow man.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Scoville
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 03:30 PM

Have to say that I'm islamed out...when are we going to finally lose patience with this rubbish and let people know how bored we are by this selective islamic outrage. What kind of religion is it that creates such fear that no one dare be critical of it. Enough already.

Okay, my feeling is that this goes both ways. Yeah, some Muslim extremists have done really bad things. On the other hand, a lot of people seem to think that this is a good time to dump with impunity all over Islam and anything they ignorantly think resembles it (including a former boss of mine, who was a third-generation Indian-American Christian, and whom a customer referred to as "that rag-head" and blamed by association for the Trade Center). I'd be pretty thin-skinned at this point, too.

I'm with Don. Send them all into space and give the rest of us some peace.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 02:06 PM

You are exactly right in what you say Don, expect them to have your name on a poster tomorrow on the streets. We are under attack and our government allows it. Even now you have to be careful what you say as they see it as an attack on their faith.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 01:53 PM

Too damned bad we don't have well-developed space travel yet. My solution would be to pick a livable but uninhabited planet wa-a-a-ay out beyond the edge of the galaxy, move all the Islamic fundamentalists, Christian fundamentalists, and other kinds of fundamentalists out there and let them work it out where they can't be a threat or general pain in the ass to the rest of us. A pox on all their houses!

"Believe as I do or I'll kill you!" is hardly spiritual, and it's definitely not civilized.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 01:39 PM

Agreed, they can do say or act as they wish. Make one remark against them and they are on the streets. This lot what to take the world over and rule to their way of life. What is the difference to this and the rule and wishes of Hitler ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 01:25 PM

Hear friggin' hear.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 01:13 PM

Have to say that I'm islamed out...when are we going to finally lose patience with this rubbish and let people know how bored we are by this selective islamic outrage. What kind of religion is it that creates such fear that no one dare be critical of it. Enough already.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Grab
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 08:34 AM

The real question is whether people like al Qaeda represent the normal Muslem or are the mis-guided voice of a few.

Could be selective reporting, but this BBC article may be of interest here.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 06:33 AM

Islamic terrorists from Pakistan continue to make Kashmir a bloody battleground between Islamic radicals and infidels (non-Moslem civilians and police). The death toll is over a hundred a month, with many more wounded. A Christian church in Kashmir was attacked by Islamic conservatives, upset over remarks by the Pope (who said that Moslems were violent). Similar demonstrations occurred throughout India and Pakistan.

So far this year, security forces in Kashmir have killed 150 Islamic terrorists, while 60 have surrendered and 39 were captured. There has been an increase in terrorists sneaking across the border from Pakistan this year, and a decline (about 50 percent) in Kashmiri Moslems participating in the violence.

Indian police arrested two Islamic terrorist leaders, and seized documents indicating that Indian Moslems were being recruited for terrorist training back in Pakistan. Trained terrorists have been returning and are active in planning more attacks in India.

Bangladesh is becoming a safe haven for Maoist and Islamic terrorists, and the Islamic terrorism has become more popular within Bangladesh itself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 05:24 AM

John Reid told yesterday to get out of Muslim London. If they love their homeland and faith so much, why settle in a non muslim country ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 01:58 AM

From the "speech"...

"In the seventh conversation ("diálesis" -- controversy) edited by professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that sura 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 Koran, 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 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 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 ("syn logo") 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...." "

...Now, I've got to tell you... I feel a little like I'm feeding the fires of controversy by taking any quotes out of the entire speech... precisely because the lecture was delivered in it's entirety... and followed a distinct (academic?) line of reasoning... The problems that have resulted from the Pope's discourse have occured BECAUSE phrases were taken out of context... (and poorly translated)

However, in this case, all I'm trying to do is to show how the polemics move through the mistaken incendiaries... toward a conclusion that is entirely free of judgement and bigotry towards Islam, but rather, means to be a wake up call to Christians; to bridge the chasm that has deepened between faith and reason. I believe he was merely painting the hisorical backdrop for a more complete understanding of today's complex religious misunderstandings... and how they have been ushered into our lives by a long history of misrepresentation and importune violence... which is indeed the hallmark of our quandries even today.

I don't think The Pope should apologize, for his intentions were not malicious. Perhaps he could make himself more easily understood by engaging some very sophisticated translators... and make peace by making himself very clear.

Also from the 'speech'...

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. Ephesians 3:19); nonetheless it continues to be love of the God who is logos. Consequently, Christian worship is "logic latreía" -- worship in harmony with the eternal Word and with our reason (cf. Romans 12:1).

ttr


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Mr Happy
Date: 20 Sep 06 - 08:47 PM

sory, that should say 'incompetent'


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Mr Happy
Date: 20 Sep 06 - 08:17 PM

the man's clearly incompetant & should be sacked for gross professional misconduct.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Donuel
Date: 20 Sep 06 - 07:55 PM

Another Iraqi extremist group, Ansar al-Sunna, challenged "sleeping Muslims" to prove their manhood by doing something other than "issuing statements or holding demonstrations."

.............


This guy has to try to inspire violence in Iraq?


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Sep 06 - 04:33 PM

If each religion confined itself to curing its own ills we wouldn't have these problems. Get the beam out of your own eye.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 20 Sep 06 - 02:24 PM

I think the last post was inflammatory and stuff like this should not be posted. We live in a volatile world and it does not behove us to wave red flags in front of bulls. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: Donuel
Date: 20 Sep 06 - 02:12 PM

Sleeping Muslims, prove your manhood, murder a nun today
Sleeping Muslims, prove your manhood, behead a cartoonist today
Sleeping Muslims, prove your manhood, stab a movie director today
Sleeping Muslims, prove your manhood, murder a grade school today
Sleeping Muslims, prove your manhood, shoot yet another Pope today
Sleeping Muslims, prove your manhood, shoot another Ghandi today
Sleeping Muslims, prove your manhood, blow up a school bus today
Sleeping Muslims, prove Islam is THE religion of peace.
Sleeping Muslims, prove Allah is merciful.
Prove your manhood, cut off your dick and show us.

Ahh ha, Akbar, your out! I didn't say "sleeping Muslims"




In the name of Piety, we will rule the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Sep 06 - 02:07 PM

Yeah! What he said!

Thanks for writing my post, Bill. I guess you CAN read minds!

~S~


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