Tuesday, February 06, 2007

B-16's Analysis of Islam and the West

While most of the shallow-thinking MSM (and Muslim) reaction to the Pope's Regensburg speech was focused on a passage relating to Muslim conquests, the REST of the Pope's address was largely ignored.

There are two reasons for that. First, the press thrives on controversy--the bigger, the better. When the Successor of Peter quotes remarks which are uncomfortable to the next-largest world religion, it sells newspapers.

But the second reason may be far more important: B-16 also fired a serious shot at Western society:

While the pope is asking Islam for dialogue based on culture, human rights, the refusal of violence, he is asking the West, at the same time, to go back to a vision of human nature and rationality in which the religious dimension is not excluded.

"God-talk" does not win the hearts and minds of the MSM, folks. Certainly not in Old Europe, and not in East-Coast press/broadcast headquarters buildings.

To understand Benedict XVI’s thinking on Islamic religion, we must go over its evolution.

...First of all, he shows that there is no orthodoxy in Islam, because there is no one authority, no common doctrinal magisterium. This makes dialogue difficult: when we engage in dialogue, it is not “with Islam”, but with groups.

But the key point that he tackles is that of shari’a. He points out that:

the Koran is a total religious law, which regulates the whole of political and social life and insists that the whole order of life be Islamic. Shari’a shapes society from beginning to end. In this sense, it can exploit such freedoms as our constitutions give, but it cannot be its final goal to say: Yes, now we too are a body with rights, now we are present [in society] just like the Catholics and the Protestants. In such a situation, [Islam] would not achieve a status consistent with its inner nature; it would be in alienation from itself”.

...Ratzinger saw clearly an essential difficulty of socio-political relations with the Muslim world, which comes from the totalizing conception of Islamic religion, which is profoundly different from Christianity. For this reason, he insists in saying that we cannot try to project onto Islam the Christian vision of the relationship between politics and religion.

In brief:

The essential idea is that dialogue with Islam and with other religions cannot be essentially a theological or religious dialogue, except in the broad terms of moral values; it must instead be a dialogue of cultures and civilizations.

This goes to the nature of the religious belief-system: Shari'a is 'complete in itself' as law, (it "descended upon" Mohammed, per se excluding interpretation) whereas in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, Scripture "was inspired," allowing for interpretation.


...it is a question of tackling the question of coexistence in the concrete terms of politics, economy, history, culture, customs.

For which the Natural Law is a common ground.

As to the West, now feverishly working to dis-join reason from faith, the Pope has another message.

“It has been said that we must not speak of God in the European constitution, because we must not offend Muslims and the faithful of other religions. The opposite is true: what offends Muslims and the faithful of other religions is not talking about God or our Christian roots, but rather the disdain for God and the sacred, that separates us from other cultures and does not create the opportunity for encounter, but expresses the arrogance of diminished, reduced reason, which provokes fundamentalist reactions.”

The author of the piece comments:

Benedict XVI admires in Islam the certainty based on faith, which contrasts with the West where everything is relativized; and he admires in Islam the sense of the sacred, which instead seems to have disappeared in the West. He has understood that a Muslim is not offended by the crucifix, by religious symbols: this is actually a laicist polemic that strives to eliminate the religious from society. Muslims are not offended by religious symbols, but by secularized culture, by the fact that God and the values that they associate with God are absent from this civilization.

This is also my experience, when I chat every once in a while with Muslims who live in Italy. They tell me: this country offers everything, we can live as we like, but unfortunately there are no “principles” (this is the word they use). This is felt very much by the pope, who says: let’s go back to human nature, based on rationality, on conscience, which gives an idea of human rights; on the other hand, let’s not reduce rationality to something which is impoverished, but let’s integrate the religious in rationality; the religious is part of rationality.

...[Benedict XVI's] proposal is that, if we want to find a common basis, we must get out of religious dialogue to give humanistic foundations to this dialogue, because only these are universal and shared by all human beings. Humanism is a universal factor; faiths can be factors of clash and division.

The pope’s position never falls into the justification of terrorism and violence. ...But, on the other hand, he has never fallen into the behaviour found in certain Christian circles in the West marked by “do-goodism” and by guilt complexes.

The Pope's proposal to the world is simple: recognize the essential junction of faith and reason, which promotes and protects the universal human values found in the natural law and conscience.

Attempting to "reason without faith" is as impossible as attempting "faith without reason."

HT: Dhimmi Watch


Billiam said...

Unfortunately, two things stand in the way of his vision. Moderate Muslims rarely, and, if at all, quietly, speak out against the Jihadi's. As long as they're silent, as long as the Wahabi's continue to be supported by the Saudi Royal Family, it will only get worse. The other is the problem of the West. The Secular-ists have control of the schools, the media, and now, in many Countries, the Government. I only see this getting worse, as fewer people have the spine to speak out against the coming disaster. Look at our own Country. We slip closer to socialism every year, yet few seem to care, or are willing to resist. It would take a MAJOR shift in the west before there is even a possibility of recovery. Good one Dad!

Random10 said...

I like the way Gates of Vienna concisely summarizes the issue: Islam is a political ideology. To which I would add: Masquerading as the truth of God.