Friday, September 15, 2006

Why the Pope is Right

Jews, Buddhists and Christians in the U.S. whether Catholic, Protestants or Eastern, we live in a pluralistic and free society. We live and accept the right of everyone to practice the religion of their choice regardless of our thoughts and feelings about other religions.

Recent comments made by Pope Benedict XVI, "Show me just what Muhammad 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" challenged the very historical foundations of Islam. The comments were not his, though. He was quoting an ancient text during an academic lecture titled “Faith, reason and the university.”

Muslims are offended. Or more accurately some Muslims are offended. Which Muslims? A spokeswoman for the Pakistani Parliament, which issued a condemnation of the Pope words and demands an apology, that's one. Many other Muslim "representatives" have also expressed outrage at the comments by Benedict XVI. And experience should tell us that those who went on a worldwide killing and rioting campaign about some cartoons are also offended.

The point the Pope made is that use of violence in the name of God is irrational. And yet this so-called Muslim leaders show the Pope right. Instead of reacting intellectually to the challenge, as giving a reason for the truth of their faith, they react irrationally. Multiculturalists in the West are reacting the same way. The Pope is insensitive they say.

Out of civil tolerance and education we have come to accept Islam as a religion, and indeed it meets all the sociological requirements that define it as such. But from the theological point of view of Christianity, Muhammad is a false prophet, period. And the religion that came from his religious experience has been at odds with the roots it claims to come from, Judaism and Christianity, from the very beginning. And yes, there were historical periods in which members of Judaism and Christianity have been less than exemplary. But nowhere in the sacred scriptures of these two ancient religions are there calls to violence in the name of God for the purpose of gaining adherents.

Christians the world over are killed by fundamentalist Muslims in the name of their religion. The whole world is the stage of violence and terrorism in the name of Islam. Women are oppressed around the planet in the name of Muhammad. As we write Sunni Muslims blow into pieces tens of innocent Iraqi citizens. And where is a world conference of Muslim religious leaders condemning these acts?

But what has people up in arms, Muslims as well as multiculturalists is that the Pope has said more than that. In reality he has said what many have wanted to say and dare not. That many of us who have taken advantage of our freedom and pluralism to study Islam have come to the conclusion that Islam, as practiced by radical fundamentalism is incompatible with democracy and modern civilization. It is up to Muslims around the world to prove we are wrong.


Anonymous Kingman Davis said...

The only criticism of the Pope, from the West, that I am aware of has come from the Rev. Jesse Jackson. I wish, in the future, when groups are singled out for special consideration, such as multiculturalists, that specific names are mentioned. The Liberals have leaders or spokespersons and they should be idientifeid as being of such a group. The recent political rethoric sounds similar to pre-WWII Germany in which the Jews are citied for the causing the misfortune of the German people without naming a single individual.

3:25 PM  
Blogger José Alejandro Amorós said...

I agree. I will be following with Part 2 of this posting because I have been monitoring the media's reaction which has been stunning as usual.

7:59 PM  

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