I mean, he should already know that you can't say anything regarding the weird coincidence about Islam, violence, beheadings, terrorism, etc without touching off a firestorm.
NABLUS, West Bank - Two West Bank Christian churches were hit by firebombs early Saturday, and a group claiming responsibility said it was protesting Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks about Islam.You see, if you're pissed that someone calls into question your religion's reliance on violence, the best thing to do is starting firebombing buildings, don't you think? That'll make your point that you're really a peaceful religion.
Pakistan’s legislature unanimously condemned Pope Benedict XVI. Lebanon’s top Shiite cleric demanded an apology. And in Turkey, the ruling party likened the pontiff to Hitler and Mussolini and accused him of reviving the mentality of the Crusades.
Here's a pic of some peaceful followers of Mohammed, calmly displaying their displeasure with The Pope's remarks:
Here is another picture of followers of the Religion of
And here's some video of the peaceful response.
Ok, but seriously... here's what the Pope said in Regensburg:
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...".Now, it perhaps was not politically correct to quote the part about Mohammad only bringing inhuman and evil practices (although I bet that would be an interesting study for a doctorate theology student!) However, if you remove that text (or simply read the speech with a "rational soul"), the message is quite clear: attempting to influence people's souls through violence on their bodies is contrary to God's Will. I think we can all agree on that, right? (I mean, except for the guys who compelled
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. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.
And wrap your head in duct-tape for this snippet from Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Tasnim Aslam:
"Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence."
Wow... I mean, just wow. If Islam was tolerant, why would referring to it as intolerant encourage violence? I mean, tolerant people aren't typically prone to violence against those who might misunderstand them or criticize them.
All I have to say on this matter is the following:
If the Muslims want to demonstrate that they're "open for dialog" and want to remove the great divide between the Judeo-Christian faiths and the Religion of Peace®, it probably would be a good idea to respond to a speech with speech, not demonstrations in which you burn the Pope in effigy or compare the Pope to Hitler, etc.
Oh, and while they're at it, they could also issue a fatwa every week condemning beheadings, terrorism, indiscriminate targeting of women & children, etc. That would help, too.
As for the Pope, he should apologize for the words that he used - but he should apologize for his lack of understanding that the Muslim faith is so insecure. And the purpose of his apology should be twofold:
- To reiterate his belief - shared by millions around the world (Jew, Christian, and Muslim alike) - that violence against any human - regardless of belief - is not viewed favorably by God. (If that runs counter to the written word of the Quran, then this will also prove the Pope's original point.)
- To open a dialog with Islam and encourage its leaders to agree with his position that violence in the name of God - regardless of the form - cannot be condoned.
Captain's Quarters & The Anchoress are also covering.
ARC: St Wendeler