Monday, November 26, 2007

Benedict XVI and the Muslims, Part II

Some people are aware of the Muslim response to B-16's Regensburg lecture. 138 Imams sent a letter to B-16, evidently in search of 'common ground.'

The letter from the 138 Muslims addressed last month to Benedict XVI and to the heads of the other Christian churches received a spectacular collective reply in a message signed by 300 scholars and published in "The New York Times" on November 18.

So far, so good.

But the Vatican's response was a lot quieter than that collective reply.

Why? Because 'the 138' are avoiding the real issue:

Troll notes that the letter of the 138 Muslims, with its insistence on the commandments of the love of God and neighbor as the "common word" of both the Qur'an and the Bible, seems intended to bring dialogue onto the sole terrain of doctrine and theology.

But – Troll objects – there is a gaping distinction between the one God of the Muslims and the Trinitarian God of the Christians, with the Son who becomes man. This cannot be minimized, much less negotiated. The true "common word" must be sought elsewhere: in "putting into effect these commandments in the concrete, here-and-now reality of plural societies." It must be sought in the defense of human rights, of religious freedom, of equality between man and woman, of the distinction between religious and political powers. The letter of the 138 is elusive or silent on all of this.

Perhaps the Interfaith Council should take note of the reality here....

What Benedict XVI sought was this:

"The content of the dialogue between Christians and Muslims will be at this time especially one of meeting each other in this commitment to find the right solutions. We Christians feel in solidarity with all those who, precisely on the basis of their religious conviction as Muslims, work to oppose violence and for the synergy between faith and reason, between religion and freedom."

The Muslim response was....ahhh...non-responsive.

The linked article goes on to point out that, when Muslims are a minority, Shari'a binds them to obey the laws of the State in which they reside. But there is no such restriction when Muslims achieve majority-status in a State; at that time, they are bound to establish and enforce Shari'a.

In the USA, this is simply not an issue at this time. But it IS becoming an issue in other Western countries such as Germany, and to a lesser degree, France and England.

No comments: