A Speech

Posted: October 2, 2006 in Theo/Philo

 

 

95-pope-benedict-xvi-jpeg.jpg

On the 12th September 2006 at the University of Regensberg in Germany, Pope Benedict XVI did what…declare a fatwa, no, he gave a speech!

This speech was so provocative that it indirectly lead to a nun being shot in the BACK 4 times killing her, several churches being burned and world wide media attention of all shades.

Here is the whole speech, read it slowly or your miss the controversial bit.

I have never read a speech by a Pope before, having now done so, I was not provoked to kill or maim or in fact have any thoughts of violence. Rather I was engaged, yes provoked to think deeper, and thankful for such an insightful  and courageous man.

This was such a good speech that I almost missed the inflaming indictive.

The Pope makes the same point that Francis Schaeffer has made, namely that spiritual experience must not be let off of the leash of Biblical and rational content. Jesus says

Beloved, do not believe every spirit,
but test the spirits, whether they are of God;
because many false prophets
have gone out into the world.’ I John 4:1

Test the spirits, in other words what ever your spiritual experience might be, to know that it is from God and not from ourselves or other agencies, we are to look at the content behind that experience.

There is a rational component that must not be ignored during the height of some spiritual experience;the content we must question as Christians is ‘ does the spirit acknowledge the lordship of Jesus?’

It was saddening that some Muslims reacted so violently to the Popes speech,I don’t want to make generalisations about any group Christian or Muslim.Having known many Muslims I can testfy that those I have known are peaceful and great company.

One of the Popes main points was, what happens when Rationality and non-contradiction are removed from Religion, violence can roam freely unchecked. It does seem as if that point sadly has been borne out.

Here are some of my favourite bits from the speech:

This profound sense of coherence within the universe of reason was not troubled, even when it was once reported that a colleague had said there was something odd about our university: it had two faculties devoted to something that did not exist: God.

That even in the face of such radical scepticism it is still necessary and reasonable to raise the question of God through the use of reason, and to do so in the context of the tradition of the Christian faith: this, within the university as a whole, was accepted without question.

A profound encounter of faith and reason is taking place here, an encounter between genuine enlightenment and religion. From the very heart of Christian faith and, at the same time, the heart of Greek thought now joined to faith, Manuel II was able to say: Not to act “with logos” is contrary to God’s nature.

God’s transcendence and otherness are so exalted that our reason, our sense of the true and good, are no longer an authentic mirror of God, whose deepest possibilities remain eternally unattainable and hidden behind his actual decisions.

his gives rise to positions which clearly approach those of Ibn Hazn and might even lead to the image of a capricious God, who is not even bound to truth and goodness. God’s transcendence and otherness are so exalted that our reason, our sense of the true and good, are no longer an authentic mirror of God, whose deepest possibilities remain eternally unattainable and hidden behind his actual decisions.

As opposed to this, the faith of the Church has always insisted that between God and us, between his eternal Creator Spirit and our created reason there exists a real analogy, in which – as the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 stated – unlikeness remains infinitely greater than likeness, yet not to the point of abolishing analogy and its language.

reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures. At the same time, as I have attempted to show, modern scientific reason with its intrinsically Platonic element bears within itself a question which points beyond itself and beyond the possibilities of its methodology.

Modern scientific reason quite simply has to accept the rational structure of matter and the correspondence between our spirit and the prevailing rational structures of nature as a given, on which its methodology has to be based. Yet the question why this has to be so is a real question, and one which has to be remanded by the natural sciences to other modes and planes of thought – to philosophy and theology.

he 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…”.

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.

Hat tip to Real reason

 

Advertisements
Comments
  1. “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.”

    The airtight reasoning would also account for violent reactions to it. Violence is the last resort of those who have no recourse to a reasoned solution to problems. Lives without and in opposition to divine values forfeit the source of ultimate reasoned solutions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s