Even if the Muslims understood what the Pope said and what he said was anti-Islamic, they have to right to riot, burn churches, murder nuns and threaten to kill him. Islam has been taken over by Wahabism and until the rest of the Muslims get control back and prove that they are peaceful, they deserve to be treated as a violent religion.
Honestly, I do not know if the remarks were misunderstood or not. While the Pope was not using his own words, he did quote the words of another pope, in the context of nonviolence in religious matters.
It appears to me that even if the context he was using was only a historic one, the response to his words show that, in fact that little has changed in the religion of Islam. A pope hundreds of years ago was condemning the use of force in Islam and today we still have the same situation in which violence is used as a response for conversion as well as comments that one does not like.
Was the pope misunderstood? Or did he mean Islam is violent? Only in a historical context? Any way you look at it the response of Islamic leaders and it’s followers simply proved that misunderstood or not, Islam is a violent religion that first response to anything seems to be violence and not peace. Little has changed in hundreds of years and the quote is clearly a very accurate one that can be currently applied to many who practice the Islamic religion today.
Meedo, the misunderstanding was in attributing the sentiment behind the quote to Benedict. I’m not sure I agree with him in using the quote, although I do think his choice to use it brought his words before the eyes and ears of people who might otherwise never have heard them. I think he used the quote to underscore the incompatibility of violence with religion and the notion that conversion by compulsion is not reasonable.
I actually think Benedict’s real criticism of Islam - a much deeper and more serious criticism - has been lost in the scuffle over the quote and the violent reactions following it. What I understood Benedict to be saying is that violence in religion is predictable when faith is divorced from reason. He seemed to me to be criticizing Islam for their very view of God - for the fact that He is considered to be so “absolutely transcendent” as to be divorced from the bonds of reason and even from the bond of adherence to His own prior words.
The basic theme of Benedict’s speech, in my interpretation, was that faith cannot exist without reason or reason without faith. Faith without reason leads to blind obedience and to violence (Benedict’s criticism of Islam seems to me to be that its basic understanding of the nature of God - as absolutely transcendent even from the bonds of rationality - promotes faith while excluding a role for reason), and reason without faith leads to moral relativity, degradation and chaos (criticism here of secular society’s reliance on reason to the exclusion of faith and the subjectification of morality that has resulted).
I may be understanding some of the speech poorly - I confess that I found it to be pretty deep stuff - but that is what I got from it. You can read the speech yourself here: cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=46474.
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