Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More on the Pope and the Prophet

Below is an excerpt from an interview in this morning’s Zenit. Notice the difference between the Christian Logos and the Muslim Allah; I got this same basic idea on my own reading of B16’s speech. It basically confirms for me, first, that the pope was critiquing Islam (though in an oblique way), and, second, that if I was a Muslim, I'd be madder about B16's "reduction" of Allah to "will." The tradition of the 99 or 100 names of Allah alone calls into question the true extent of B16's understanding of Islam. Besides, worshiping the "Logos" for 2,000 years has not prevented Christians from acting incredibly irrationally.

Here's the excerpt. I added the bold, of course:

“Jesuit Father James Schall, professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University, is author of "The Life of the Mind: On the Joys and Travails of Thinking" (ISI Books).

"He shared with ZENIT why he thinks the Regensburg lecture was liberating and imperative, and how the reaction to it highlighted the modern disconnect between faith and reason.

"Q: At Regensburg, Benedict XVI highlighted the Christian understanding of God as Logos. How does the idea of God as Logos differ from an Islamic conception of God?

Father Schall: The Holy Father posed the fundamental question that lies behind all the discussion about war and terror. If God is Logos, it means that a norm of reason follows from what God is. Things are, because they have natures and are intended to be the way they are because God is what he is: He has his own inner order.

"If God is not Logos but 'Will,' as most Muslim thinkers hold Allah to be, it means that, for them, Logos places a 'limit' on Allah. He cannot do everything because he cannot do both evil and good. He cannot do contradictories.

Thus, if we want to 'worship' Allah, it means we must be able to make what is evil good or what is good evil. That is, we can do whatever is said to be the 'will' of Allah, even if it means doing violence as if it were 'reasonable.'

Otherwise, we would "limit" the "power" of Allah. This is what the Pope meant about making violence "reasonable." This different conception of the Godhead constitutes the essential difference between Christianity and Islam, both in their concept of worship and of science.”

CtotheL: Of course, you get a whole other theology if you’re primary symbol for God is love (agape) rather than reason (logos). For B16 God is the Ultimate Knower (following Thomas Aquinas rather than B16’s more natural theological father, Augustine, who I think would go more for God as the Ultimate Lover if forced to pick). What’s funny to me is that I think it’s hard to read Jesus descriptions of his Abba and get an Ultimate Knower. Ultimate Forgiver, maybe...


At 4:35 PM, Anonymous religion of pieces said...

Attention all Christian congregations regarding the Pope's comments on Islam . If you live in an area with an active Muslim population, it may be wise to review your Church's security, fire-precautions and insurance cover:


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