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TraderJoe
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The Great Muslim Debate

October 23rd, 2006, 8:53 pm

We're getting there, slowly ...QuoteFor the big monotheistic faiths, holding a debate looks hard but necessaryDO THE leaders of the Muslim and Roman Catholic faiths—accounting, at least on paper, for over one billion people each—have any clear ideas about how to deal with one another? That's a question followers of both creeds have been asking as controversy about a speech by Pope Benedict continues to claim lives. A priest in Iraq was found beheaded last week, even though his parishioners had yielded to the captors' demand that they renounce the pope's words on Islam.On the Muslim side, there have been significant moves in recent days. Some 38 of Islam's most senior figures—including the grand muftis of Egypt, Oman, Bosnia, Syria and Russia and scholars from all the religion's main schools—have addressed a careful, elaborate message to Benedict XVI, in the apparent hope of taking Catholic-Muslim encounter away from the streets and into the debating chamber.The letter challenges the pontiff to engage in the thing he says he wants most: a robust, courteous exchange about faith and reason. The signatories said they appreciated the pope's expressions of sorrow over the reaction to his address in Germany last month—in which he mentioned (without endorsing) a medieval claim that Islam brought nothing new but violence.But they also take the pontiff to task on lots of things. The pope had implied, for example, that Muslims believed in a deity so far beyond all categories—such as goodness or rationality—that God could as easily be cruel and irrational as merciful or peaceloving. Not so, the greybeards shot back: there is only one obscure Muslim thinker (a certain Ibn Hazm) who ever said anything like that, and to dredge him up is to paint Islam in an unfair light.Another point: the pope appeared to downgrade one of the Koran's best-loved statements—“there is no compulsion in religion”—by saying it belonged to the earlier, emollient phase of the Prophet's life as opposed to the latter part, when there was more emphasis on politics and the rules of war. But on that, the scholars said, the pope is just wrong: the “no compulsion” verse is late, not early. How much hope do the scholars have of moving their encounters with the Catholics back to the safety of academia? In Egypt, the letter drew a cool response from leaders of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood: how can we accept the pope's apology when he hasn't apologised, merely expressed regret? To which the signatories replied, “Let's at least give him credit for going as far as he did.”Vatican officials have cautiously welcomed the scholars' letter, saying they too see prospects for a tough, meaningful conversation. After all, they point out, the pope has often said that the two faiths have different, but related problems: for the Christian, today's adversary is “reason without faith” or cold secularism. For moderate Muslims, it is “faith without reason” or violent fundamentalism.The same officials also insist that the German lecture was not a deliberate provocation. But many Vatican-watchers feel that in his assessments of the Muslim scene, the current pope is more inclined than his predecessor, John Paul II, to be pessimistic. That is partly because of Benedict's personal history: in his previous job as chief enforcer of Catholic teaching, he voiced exasperation with doctrinal innovators who—in his view—tried to water down their Christianity with “eastern” religions, including Islam.Another factor is the increased profile in the papal entourage of Arab Christians whose view of Islam is influenced by their own experience of inter-religious tensions in their homelands. In 2005, a few months after his election, Benedict presided at a meeting of his former doctoral students at which the topic was Islam. One of the two outsiders invited to the discussions was an Arab Jesuit with uncompromising views. The meeting is understood to have ended with broad agreement that there is little scope for discussing the basics of theology with Muslims: as a religion that puts overwhelming stress on revelation, its tenets are fixed and not open to re-interpretation. So (on this controversial view) it would be more worthwhile for the two faiths to discuss practicalities, like curbing violence and ensuring religious freedom.If that view prevails, it will be a disappointment to some of the scholars who wrote to the pope. As many authorities on Islam would point out, Muslim thinkers were arguing hard over the boundary between faith and reason 1,000 years ago—and there are Muslims today who want to revive the “rationalist” side of that argument. Without interfering, the pope could help by indicating he does not see all Muslims as unreasonable types.Thanks to The Economist.
Last edited by TraderJoe on October 22nd, 2006, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Marsden
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The Great Muslim Debate

October 24th, 2006, 2:29 am

My Jesuit friend tells me that Benedict is limiting doctrinal debate within the Church. He apparently is not a fan of the Open Society, albeit that might be seen as a commonality between his Christianity and Islam.
 
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Hamilton
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The Great Muslim Debate

October 24th, 2006, 2:36 am

 
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Hamilton
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The Great Muslim Debate

October 24th, 2006, 2:37 am

My Jesuit friend tells me Hilarious.
 
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Hamilton
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The Great Muslim Debate

October 24th, 2006, 2:40 am

QuoteBefore ordination I'd heard my Jesuit professors pray that Wojtyla come to an early death -- and go unrebuked, or rebuked in that jocular vein that signals sympathy. It was the absence of contradiction that spoke loudest. Of course you can come up with many examples of pro-papal utterances by Jesuits, but try to find (comparably public, self-initiated) examples of remonstrance or correction of influential papal detractors by their superiors. You won't. Take the remarks quoted by McDonough and Bianchi in their book (Passionate Uncertainty) on the U.S. Jesuits. From a Jesuit academic: "The Society has not sold its soul to the 'Restoration' of John Paul II." From a Jesuit church historian: "[He's] probably the worst pope of all times" (referring to Wojtyla, and adding) "He's not one of the worst popes; he's THE worst. Don't misquote me." They didn't.by Paul Mankowski, SJ
 
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Marsden
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The Great Muslim Debate

October 24th, 2006, 2:41 am

You don't know much, do you, Nancy? It's nice that at least you're easily amused.
 
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Hamilton
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The Great Muslim Debate

October 24th, 2006, 2:48 am

QuoteNo more. The recently published "Passionate Uncertainty: Inside the American Jesuits" is a quirky yet convincing depiction of the collapse of the renegade Society of Jesus: papists who hate the pope, evangelists who have lost the faith. Deprived of their reason for existence as Jesuits, they respond either by putting an end to their existence as Jesuits (deserters outnumber active members in the United States) or by indulging a willed imbecility in which the explosively divisive questions are never permitted to surface.The authors of "Passionate Uncertainty, "Peter McDonough and Eugene Bianchi (a political scientist and professor of religion, respectively), portray the Jesuit crack-up most vividly by quotation from the interviews and written statements they took from more than four hundred Jesuits and former Jesuits. Both the spectrum of the speakers presented and the content of their opinions accurately reflect the current situation. Not that the speakers themselves are always balanced, fair, or magnanimous--the resentments run too deep for that--but taken as a whole the voices give us a true picture of the quandary of America's Jesuits: able yet aimless men, hopelessly compromised by perjury.Are the Jesuits Catholic?
 
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Hamilton
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The Great Muslim Debate

October 24th, 2006, 2:53 am

doctrinal debate within the Church.I'll bite. How does one "debate doctrine" within the Church?
 
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Marsden
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The Great Muslim Debate

October 24th, 2006, 3:05 pm

Well, Nancy, in one example suppressed by Benedict, one does it by publishing concurrently articles by Catholic theologians on a subject over which they disagree. But apparently Benedict thinks that such exercises are confusing and unhelpful to believers. More wine and crackers, Nancy?Also, it is not without precedent that the Church would turn on The Society of Jesus.
 
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Hamilton
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Joined: July 23rd, 2001, 6:25 pm

The Great Muslim Debate

October 24th, 2006, 3:09 pm

n one example suppressed by Benedict,Please, do quote the example. Since he doesn't have direct control over theological journals (just ask your friend about the goofiness at the Catholic Theological Society of America, for example) that would be an interesting trick.
 
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Marsden
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The Great Muslim Debate

October 24th, 2006, 3:32 pm

You don't know much, do you, Nancy?
 
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Hamilton
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Joined: July 23rd, 2001, 6:25 pm

The Great Muslim Debate

October 24th, 2006, 3:40 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: MarsdenYou don't know much, do you, Nancy?QuoteThe consequence of not being free is sin. I suspect many in this community have already seen Brokeback Mountain. If not -- see it; if you have, see it again and reflect on the consequences of not being interiorly free, the consequences of not knowing who you really are and want to become, the tragic consequences and subsequent devastation that comes from only living in a "pretend" world. Watch carefully the price of dishonesty in yourself and with those whom you try to love. Let this Lent be a Brokeback Lent.Brought to you by the Boston Jesuit Center
 
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Marsden
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The Great Muslim Debate

October 24th, 2006, 3:46 pm

You don't know much, do you, Nancy?
 
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Hamilton
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Joined: July 23rd, 2001, 6:25 pm

The Great Muslim Debate

October 24th, 2006, 5:33 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: MarsdenYou don't know much, do you, Nancy?Father Robert Drinan, S.J., the American Abortionist's Favorite Catholic
Last edited by Hamilton on October 23rd, 2006, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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flairplay
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Joined: September 26th, 2006, 1:34 pm

The Great Muslim Debate

October 24th, 2006, 5:42 pm

Marsden, remember what you are up against. My view is:The "I'm not politically correct, because I have the courage to be honest" group are rather too often soft brained apologists for their own short comings.By attacking other cultures, religions, countries, races, they show their insecurity and inability to deal with reality - it's a sign of immaturity, an arrested mental development. Truth does not matter to these guys. Truth is whatever makes them feel better about themselves. Two year olds will often pretend at something to comfort themselves - these types do the same. Arrested development.This sort of insecurity is as old as the proverbial crust - I remember that in the "The Great Gatsby" there is a siutation when Daisy's husband, Tom Buchannan, opines that the superior Nordic races would soon be over run by others. So this sort of sentiment was common even then - it just shows up in different guises at different times. In the early part of the last century this sort of prejudice was often directed at immigrants from Southern Europe - Italians and others. And of course the black community was often painted in the darkest of colours.Fitzgerald was no fool. He saw it as the feeblemindedness it is. And that is nearly a 100 years ago.In my opinion all feebleminded and insecure individuals tend to such opinions. Debate with them is enlightening because it tells us the workings of their minds - their insecurities, comforting rationalisations, fears etc. To be honest, I do not think they have much control over it. They may try to clothe their insecurities in ostensibly rational debate, but reason is not what drives them. It's insecurity and fear as evidenced by their selective and contradictory evidence gathering.Politicians - demogogues if you will - exploit this to their advantage. From Islamic fundamentalistim, to extreme Neo Conservative agenda, indeed to the methods of the Third Reich, the phenomenon relies pretty much on stirring up hatred based on a people's sense of insecurity and inadequacy.So it is and so it shall be. But debate it we must.
Last edited by flairplay on October 23rd, 2006, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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