Thursday, September 14, 2006

TIME -- The Pope on Faith and Terrorism

From - Benedict XVI upsets some Moslems by delineating a difference between Islam and Christianity:
His discourse Tuesday sought to delineate what he sees as a fundamental difference between Christianity's view that God is intrinsically linked to reason (the Greek concept of logos) and Islam´s view that "God is absolutely transcendent." Benedict said that Islam teaches that God's "will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality." The risk he sees implicit in this concept of the divine is that the irrationality of violence can potentially be justified if someone believes it is God's will. "As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true?"

It is not the first time he has entered the fray. On his last trip to Germany, to Cologne for Catholic World Youth Day in August 2005, he told a group of Muslims that they have a responsibility to try to halt the violence carried out in the name of their religion. Even earlier on this trip to Bavaria, which ends Thursday, he seemed to refer to Islam's negative view of a Western society that has too little faith, and cited it as the cause for tensions.

But Tuesday's university lecture was a watershed. After laying out the historical contrasts with Islam, the Pope used much of the discourse to call on the West, and Europe in particular, to clearly affirm the value of a faith in God —and a God built on reason. "While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them," he said. "We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons."
[More, 9/15] And, misreading the lecture, missing the point, and as if to prove it, the Islamic world erupts.

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