Jones Eugene Michael - The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Its Impact on World History

Author : Jones Eugene Michael
Title : The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Its Impact on World History
Year : 2008

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Introduction. On September 12, 2006, Joseph Ratzinger made a triumphal return to his native Bavaria. Having chosen the name of Benedict XVI when he was elected pope, His Holiness returned not only to Germany but to the German university of Regensburg to express his gratitude for the time he spent there as a professor and to renew the Church's commitment to the university. But more than that, Pope Benedict wanted to re-affirm the Church's position on the relationship between faith and reason. In order to do that he had to refer to a tradition where that relationship has not been so complementary, a tradition which stands outside of Europe, namely, Islam. That's where the trouble began, specifically when Benedict quoted the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologos, who felt that the Islamic world and the Christian world shared two fundamentally different views of the relationship between God and reason. The issue was religiously inspired violence: "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.'" After an initially favorable response, the world press, including the Arab press, appeared to use the quote to inflame Islamic opinion against the Church. The inflammation was a replay, at least in some ways, of the Danish cartoon crisis of a few months before. In that incident, a Danish magazine editor, with ties to American neoconservatives like Daniel Pipes, ran a series of cartoons that were calculated to outrage Muslims and provoke them to attack Denmark and, by extension, Europe. The purpose of the provocation was to drive Europe, by way of reaction to the Muslim outrage, into the arms of the Americans, who were desperately in need of support for their failing war in Iraq.' In the instance of the Regensburg speech, the outrage surrounding the Manuel II Paleologos quote achieved two ends: first, it strengthened the neoconservative hold over the Catholic mind by giving the impression that Muslims were fanatics determined to wage jihad against both the pope and the Church (the Muslim/Catholic alliance against abortion, which I personally witnessed at the World Population Conference in Cairo in 1994, gave the opposite impression), and secondly, it obscured the real topic of the talk, which was Logos and the central role it plays in both Europe and the Church. Unlike Christianity, Islam is not docile to Logos, nor for that matter is Islam's God; God's will is arbitrary, inscrutable. According to Benedict's reading of Manuel II Paleologos, "the decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature." This idea is not intrinsic to Islam. The "noted French Islamicist R. Arnaldez," Pope Benedict continues, "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. ...

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