Good Grief, Part Deux.

All apologies if someone has already said what I’m about to say. But I’m feeling the need to vent.

The stupidity of the “furor” over Benedict’s remarks to the Representatives of Science at the University of Regensberg “leaves us astounded” (to borrow Benedict’s phrase), and doesn’t give much reason for hope in dialogue with Islam. (Amy has, BTW, excerpted an interview with Kaspar on the prospects of dialogue with Islam–and it appears Kaspar’s new position of responsibility has contributed greatly to his appreciation of the difficulty of achieving unity with this religion.) For an interlocuter, first of all, has to be able to understand what you’re saying. And in this case, the defenders of Islam have demonstrated either a troubling lack of capacity for, or an appalling lack of interest in, understanding.

For one thing, they haven’t understood that Benedict was quoting the opinion of someone else, the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, who in 1391 recorded his own dialogue with an equally erudite Persian Muslim. To quote the emporer (as Benedict did) on the unreasonableness of the coercion of religious assent: “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…”

For another, they haven’t understood why Benedict brought up Islam here at all: He was speaking to a group of scientists about the unity of faith and reason–a unity which Muslims have been famously uninterested in (another bad sign for dialogue with Islam–which religion, BTW, is not even in unity with itself, according to Kaspar). Here is Benedict again quoting someone else on this point:

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. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes the work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez [a quote within the quote!], who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state [and now a quote within the quote within the quote!] that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God’s will, we would even have to practise idolatry.

In my opinion, if there’s anything here to take offense at, it’s the implication that Islam is non-rational (and it’s not even Benedict’s implication, but that of his scholarly authorities, one of which is Muslim!). And of course this is not the same thing as saying that Muslims are irrational…although you have to admit, what we’re seeing in Britian and the Holy Land right now might very well lead a person to ask: How rational a response to the Pope’s supposed condmenation of “bloody Islam” is any threat of violence towards the Pope or acts of violence toward Christian churches? If you don’t resemble that (supposed) remark, folks, then don’t resemble it. Furthermore, how does it make sense to be infuriated with anyone for suggesting (which Benedict was not suggesting, but rather quoting someone else as observing) that Muslims sanction coercion in matters of religion, when in fact there are some Muslims who do (for Islam is not, according to Kaspar, monolithic, i.e., not every Islamic authority always teaches one and the same thing)?

The objector might reply: “Oh, come on…of all the examples of so-called ‘non-rationality’ in the world, the Pope just happened to bring up this one? And what about his quote from Manuel II Paleologus prior to the one you’ve quoted: ‘Show me just what Mohammed 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’? Was that really necessary? It all sounds pretty inflammatory to me.”

The obvious response (at least to me) is:

1) There’s never been a threat to Western science, or to Western religion vis-a-vis science–i.e., to reason and to faith–like the “two truths” theory of the renowned Muslim scientist-philosopher Averroes, who proposed that one could both hold a religious belief and acknowledge that science (or more broadly, reason) contradicted it. This fact alone makes Islam highly appropriate subject matter when addressing scientists (especially Christian ones);

2) Quite simply, in a scholarly talk (which is what this was), you head off objections, and that includes taking the wind out of possible ad hominem arguments by acknowledging (and even apologizing) for your authority’s “warts” (e.g., “Now I know my authority said this…and frankly, his “startling brusqueness” “leaves us astounded” [Benedict’s words]…but still he had this other, very wise thing to say…”). It may have been counterproductive to trot out this particular “wart,” i.e., may have created objections rather than heading them off, but can anyone honestly (if truth matters) or charitably (if charity matters) suggest that Benedict was “owning” what he claims to be “astounded” by? To seize upon the quote and ignore Benedict’s disclaimer seems like so much reading out of context…sort of like a fundamentalist…it even seems a little non-rational…??? (Hm, does that make the MSM a bunch of irrational fundamentalists?…)

Apparently surah 2, 256 reads: “There is no compulsion in religion.” Is there a surah that reads something like “If you would not be mistaken for an unreasoning fundamentalist, do not act like one”?

Comments

  1. Gee, can I quote a bigoted and anciet remark and not get in trouble? Oh please… can you?

    So that’s why Mel Gibson was given a PASS. He said a bigoted remark, but because he was drunk we can go about our business, tra la la.

    The Pope said a stupid thing. He apologized for saying it, but the words have hurt millions.

  2. Adam DeVille says

    No apologies necessary, Matthew. The more of us who speak up about this, the better–and I’m referring in particular to Catholics, especially of the passive or uninterested or lukewarm variety (none of which describes you, I’m sure): this must serve as a wake-up call for all of us. I’ve long been convinced that the puerile pugilism of Muslims lately is the behaviour of classic bullying, and the only response to such bullying is not an apology but fierce, unrelenting, unapologetic resistance: a refusal to give up an inch. The more of this the more of us do, the better off we will all be. Now is the time to speak out, to stand up, to be counted. As the late, great JPII used to so often remind us, we have nothing to be afraid of.

  3. Notrelatedtoted says

    Adam –

    Well said.

    Matthew – great post.

  4. It’s not Matthew’s post, it’s Mark’s.

  5. AnotherCoward says

    Jimmy has a good post up about all this.

    Well, he has a few, really, but that’s the latest. Personally, the thought being expressed there is pretty much what I had as soon as I realized what was going on: MSM wrecklessly taking pot shots at something that, at the heart of the matter, is not offensive in the least.

  6. Jimmy is part of the CMSM and has his own extreme views. Many Catholics would like a cleansing of extreme Muslims from the face of the Earth… let’s bring back the Crusades!

    But the Pope is getting in hot water because he is a World Leader and leaders such as him should be put under a more powerful magnifier. President Bush has been pushing for some of the same issues and his approval rating in this country is hovering at 35%. Plus the World hates Bush and thus hates Americans. If you preach love 24/7 you eventually get love. It just takes a long time and the wait and hard work is worth it!

  7. Notrelatedtoted says

    Mark, apologies – Good post, to you, sir.

  8. i think what marks post does so well, is explain exactly why the pope made the reference he made. what he said is being taken completely out of the context within which it was said, how is that fair? he makes the quote because he wants it known that even very early scholars on islam felt that this was true (that is, religion can not be compelled into the heart by force). he doesn’t need to say the same thing about the crusades, if i recall, jpII did this for him by apologizing. (maybe i am wrong on the timing, but the catholic church has already admitted that it was wrong to try and do this.) i think pope benedict feels this is ground already covered, and that now it’s time to go to the table and get a more fuller understanding of this very thing. all that happens by people violently protesting a remark taken out of context and misunderstood, is a revelation of the depth of the very ignorance the pope is trying to prevent. the fundamental truth remains the same, regardless of whether it upsets people to hear it. and we catholics cannot be afraid of the truth. God is not a God of war. not in any form. nor is He a God who would want people to believe in Him out of terror of death. most often, He requires the exact opposite. Lay down your life, take up your cross, and follow Him. this would mean that faced with a choice between life and death, choosing to live would not be a proof of faith.

  9. Many scholars of Christianity have faulted the Vatican and many Popes of shaming their religion and for killing in the name of God. True, God is not a God of War, but God’s name and faith to God has been responsible for death and killing in God’s name to protect the Christian faithfull. So, what is the truth? It’s what you BELIEVE the truth to be.

    The early missionaries went around the globe to teach and force peoples to fear and accept the Catholic God. Many were starved, beaten, killed, and tortured.

  10. AnotherCoward says

    Don’t feed the troll.

  11. Mark Lickona says

    Agreed. If there is to be debate here, let it be about something substantial, like the proposition “The Pope can’t ever say anything potentially inflammatory, even in a qualified academic manner; he’s too public a figure, and nuances are lost on the public.” Such a debate would be interesting. Calling the Pope’s quotation “bigoted” is not.

  12. Starved, beaten, killed and tortured. Wow. Those were some bad-ass missionaries. I would never even think of torturing a guy after I starved and beat him to death. And I work for the CIA. It gives me a whole lot more respect for the Catholic Church. Maybe we should start recruiting from Steubenville and Thomas Aquinas College…

  13. Ah… when you don’t have something intelligent to say… call someone a troll. I ‘m assuming no one has done their history research. That will do. “The Pope can’t ever say anything potentially inflammatory, even in a qualified academic manner”? In academic manners I’ve heard that blacks perform better than whites because of their African jungle roots. Also, Gays perform better in thr military. White males make better serial killers. If you read Californian school books on the missionaries you will learn about slavery, torture and murder at the hands of missionaries and their charges.

    It would appear that I’m up against the Conservative movement. Sorry I got in the way with some truth. Truth for you seems only important with current issues, not what creates the current issues (the backstory).

    Yes, if you believe your religion is better than another religion, than you qualify as a bigot. Look it up!

    Hey, you are all right with whitewashing over the evil as long as the good gets the good press. I say that as one troll to another. Can you see the Pope’s new clothes?

    Bring on Rush, Britt, Joe, Pat, and continue your learning from their reporting.

    Since Mark is a Conservative democrat and not a liberal, well, this sits quite pretty with his stamp of approval followers. It’s party time! Trolls will perform first… can I audition?

  14. AnotherCoward says

    In order to have a reasonable debate, you need to get your story straight. When labeled a troll (i.e. someone deliberately inflammatory), you appeal to truth as though it’s something that we should all be able to observe and agree upon … and that the rest of us are now just being unreasonable. Two breaths earlier you said: “So, what is the truth? It’s what you BELIEVE the truth to be.” It’s the tactic of a troll – (1) inflame from a particular point of view (2) reproach from the antithesis (3) and above all never actually care (for the purpose of the flame war) about either side but seem like you care about something.

    I need not waste my time for now in dialogue with you. You’ve demonstrated more than anything that you like to try to provoke a rise more than actually pursuing and discussing truth – let alone showing love and charity.

    And I say this all with a heart felt grin and hope that perhaps you might actually figure out it’s a wasted effort to try to get people upset in this place. Until you do, it’s probably a good thing for us to be reminded what not to do when you’re around.

    As for everyone else … Please, don’t feed the troll. It just brings them back. I’ll stop my spreading of crumbs now.

  15. When the Truth can be Fact:

    “… Despite romantic portraits of California missions they were essentially coercive religious, labor camps, organized primarily to benefit the colonizers. The overall plan was to first militarily intimidate the local Indians with armed Spanish soldiers who always accompanied the Franciscans in their missionary efforts. At the same time the newcomers introduced domestic stock animals that gobbled up native foods and undermined the free or “gentile” tribes efforts to remain ecomically independent. A well established pattern of bribes, intimidation and the expected onslaught of European diseases insured experienced missionaries that eventually desparate parents of sick and dying children and many elders would prompt frightened Indian families to seek assistance from the newcomers who seemed to be immune to the horrible diseases that overwhelmed Indians. The missions were authorized by the crown to “covert” the Indians in a ten year period. Thereafter they were suppose to srrender their control over the missions livestock, fields, orchards and buildings to the Indians. But the padres never achieved this goal and the lands and wealth was stolen from the Indians.

    Epidemic diseases proved to be the most significant factor in colonial efforts to overcome native resistance. Soon after the arrival of Spanish colonists, new diseases appeared among the tribes in close proximity to Spanish missions. Scientific study of demographic trends during this period indicate the Indians of the America’s did not possess any natural immunities to introduced European diseases… Sadly, the missionary practice of forcibly separating Indian children from their children and incarcerating children from the age of six in filthy and disease ridden gender barracks most likely increased the suffering and death. Excessive manuel labor demands of the missioaries and poor nutrition probaly contributed to the Indians inability to resist such infections.

    The impact of the mission system on the many coastal tribes was devastating. Missionaries required tribes to abandon their aboriginal territories and live in filthy, disease ridden and crowded labor camps. Massive herds on introduced stock animals and new seed crops soon crowded out Aboriginal game animals and native plants. The short life expectancy of mission Indians prompted missionaries to vigorously pursue runaways and coerce interior tribes into supplying more and more laborers for the padres. Missionary activities therefore thoroughly disrupted not only coastal tribes, but their demand for healthy laborers seriously impacted adjacent interior tribes. Finally by 1836 the Mexican Republic forcibily stripped the padres of the power to coerce labor from the Indians and the mission rapidly collapsed. About 100,000 or nearly a third of the aboriginal population of California died as a direct consequence of the missions of California.”

    You can read further about the plight of the native American at the following website: http://www.nahc.ca.gov

    This certainly is only the tip of the iceberg of mistreatment of aboriginal tribes throughtout all of the Americas by missionaries. Though there were some positive aspects, mostly they are negative in the destruction of countless lives.

    Anothercoward said that to have a reasonable debate you must have the story straight. Although no debate or fact was given by AC, I offer this history as proof that the missionaries were not “the romantic” vision most people currently have.

    It seemed easier to spend time calling me a Troll, without any debate.

    As for what the Pope said. The Pope was contributing to a discussion on the rationality of relgion, and suggested ceased to have a rational basis when it used violence to advance its sway. He should have mentioned some of the history of the Catholic church, but instead he cited Islam. The Pope’s reference to a dubious medival view of Islam was unwise in the present international climate, and dangerous for Christian minorities in Muslim countries. If the quotes of the 14th century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologos were not his own views, why mention them?

    Anothercoward and those who offered no history or facts in this debate add nothing to understanding history and our possible repeating of the bad behavior of all peoples and religions.

  16. Matthew Lickona says

    Anon,
    I’m not going to wade into this debate, but I will comment on the whole troll business.
    If you had led with this:

    “As for what the Pope said. The Pope was contributing to a discussion on the rationality of relgion, and suggested ceased to have a rational basis when it used violence to advance its sway. He should have mentioned some of the history of the Catholic church, but instead he cited Islam. The Pope’s reference to a dubious medival view of Islam was unwise in the present international climate, and dangerous for Christian minorities in Muslim countries. If the quotes of the 14th century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologos were not his own views, why mention them?”

    Instead of this (I’m assuming it’s the same Anon throughout):

    “Gee, can I quote a bigoted and anciet remark and not get in trouble? Oh please… can you?

    So that’s why Mel Gibson was given a PASS. He said a bigoted remark, but because he was drunk we can go about our business, tra la la.

    The Pope said a stupid thing. He apologized for saying it, but the words have hurt millions.”

    I’m pretty sure no one would have called you a troll. The first comment makes an objection, gives an argument, and asks a question in a tone that invites debate and discussion.

    The second (which was the first one you posted) is dismissive (“oh please”), mocking (“stupid, bigoted”), and inaccurate – Benedict never did apologize for saying the words, merely for the reaction they brought about. It guesses at motives (“so that’s why Mel Gibson was given a PASS”), motives you couldn’t possibly know, and suggests bad will on Mark’s part – that he’s just desperate to defend his own, and so he’ll say anything to do so. If the blog definition of a troll is someone who does not attempt to contribute to a discussion but merely seeks to inflame, then I would suggest that this comment fits the bill pretty well.

    But maybe that opening comment wasn’t yours – it’s hard to tell with the Anon thing. Maybe your first comment was the one about the Church’s own failures with regard to the use of force. But there as well, you impute bad will on the part of Benedict’s defenders: “So, what is the truth? It’s what you BELIEVE the truth to be.” This implies that Benedict’s defenders are willing to close their eyes to reality and simply assert their beliefs. Again, hardly a comment which invites debate. Saying that your opponent is willing to ignore reality is inflammatory – again, the mark of the troll.

    “I’m assuming no one has done their history research…sorry I got in the way with some truth…you are all right with whitewashing over the evil as long as the good gets the good press…” This is over-the-top, insulting, and baseless. The question here is not whether the Church has used violence in the past – she has, and she has admitted it and apologized for it, in public and repeatedly.

    The question here is whether Benedict erred in saying what he said. Nobody is whitewashing over evil, and for you to suggest so is simply nasty and uncivil. The references to Rush, Britt, Joe, and Pat, and the suggestion that Mark’s thought is informed by these people is equally baseless – and laughable.

    In conclusion – if you’re really interested in debate, I would suggest that you try to employ the tone and manner you used in your last post – the one I cited at the opening of my comment.

  17. Thank you Matthew. As a moderator you came in to find calm. I apologize for using language un-becoming your website, I became emotional. I do disagree with terminology. I was not a Troll, I Ranted. A Troll flames comments without connection to the subject matter. I ranted, and that was not right.

    Even though you said that you would not wade into the debate, you did. This is your website, you set the tone and you have that freedom. We just comment… we agree or disagree.

    My comment that the Truth is what is believed to be the Truth, is a sound statement. If you believe otherwise, that you know what Truth is, then you may qualify for a Pulitzer.

    Quite frankly, the research that I produced concerning some missionaries may be called into question as a reliable source. That’s what we do though. We bring educated resources to the table in either support of our claims or we use them to bring down the other’s claims. I made the comment concerning missionary history and two bloggers treated the information with distain. They got a forum to disagree and that’s where it was left off. So did they rant a negative, were their comments trolling?

    I apologized for bad behaviour. It had to do with poor choices of language. If I had killed someone, then apologized, how would society judge me?

    I do believe what the Pope said was wrong to say.

    Also, when one religion says that their religion is of a higher belief than another, that is bigotry. So all parties are wrong.

    As for Mel Gibson… well he has a long ladder to climb. Why you allow others to judge his motives and not me is, in my opinion, a biased statement. I had an opinion as Mark had an opinion.

    Frankly, many are upset with what the Pope said. They are Muslim and they are Catholic. Whether they understand why he said what he said is really too late in defining.

    At times I do find it difficult to understand why some people will disregard facts and events, as if they never happened, and follow a thought or belief. But that is sometimes a part of faith. We can’t all remain objective, it’s not in our souls. We must believe in “something”.

    I’m sure you have heard the cries of the Mother of a murderer. “He is a good boy, he would never hurt a soul… I’ve never seen him raise a hand to another”. She has more than faith in the soul and body of her son, yet he was responsible for such evil. Here is another event where Truth can be debated.

    Thankfully we do live in a democratic society. It can create a mess, but is there for us to grow. I do not represent every ANON comment on your site, but I’m glad you have allowed for an open forum.

    I’ll try not to rant again, but I may raise a strong disagreement. I hope others from this point engage first with opinions rather than result to a dead-end remark to calling me or another a troll… to me, that’s rude.

  18. Matthew Lickona says

    Anon,

    Thanks for your response. Just a couple of comments.

    “I apologize for using language un-becoming your website, I became emotional.”

    Very good of you. Here’s the thing: I don’t object to much, language-wise. I cited those words by way of explaining why I thought folks called you a troll. You do indeed disagree with terminology: they regard a troll as someone who merely seeks to inflame. You seem to regard a troll as someone who “flames…without connection to subject matter.”

    Rant away; I’ve got nothing against rants on blogs. People vent all the time. My suggestions were only there in case you wanted to make debate more productive.

    “Even though you said that you would not wade into the debate, you did.”

    Perhaps I should have been more clear: I was not about to wade into the debate about whether or not the Pope erred. And that, I did not do.

    “As for Mel Gibson… well he has a long ladder to climb. Why you allow others to judge his motives and not me is, in my opinion, a biased statement. I had an opinion as Mark had an opinion.”

    I never disallowed your judging of Mel’s motives. What I objected to was your suggesting that, in guessing after Mel’s motives, Mark was giving Mel a pass – as if Mark’s attempt at explanation was an attempt at excusing the man for what he said. It was not.

    “Also, when one religion says that their religion is of a higher belief than another, that is bigotry. So all parties are wrong.”

    I don’t know about “of a higher belief than another.” But it is not bigotry to claim that one’s religion is more in conformity with what God has revealed about Himself. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a bigot as “One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.” It is not enough merely to be partial to one’s own group; to be a bigot, one must be intolerant of those who differ. To make a claim that one’s understanding of revelation is superior to someone else’s is not the same as being intolerant of someone else’s understanding.

  19. It’s interesting how we all perceive definitions. Kind of depends which side of the meaning you want to be on. Words are weapons and we choose accordingly.

    I thought Garrison Keillor had a wonderfully written take on “choices” in today’s paper. I’m sure you caught it.

    Matthew, your continuation on trying to correct my posts do travel along the road of patronizing. I thought there was no need for that.

    Concerning the wading into the debate… you did when you tried to clarify what the pope said and meant “Benedict never did apologize for saying the words, merely for the reation they brought about. It guesses at motives, motives you couldn’t possible know…”. And this you also tied into the remarks concerning Mel Gibson. I find it odd that you will allow Mark and yourself to characterize the possible motives of Mr. Gibson and say that I couldn’t possibly know myself what the motives may be. Don’t you think we are all trying to “know” what the motives are, in only trying to know ourselves? I agree that the Pope did not apologize for what he said, and there in my opinion is where the problem is. Why inflame the situation? Many Catholics also believe the same! Some Catholics think he could have been stronger in his remarks… Adam Deville seems to be one of them.

    You know what, we’ve all got opinions. As I said, Truth is what you believe it to be. That’s why even sometimes the most civil and simplistic observation can draw more than one truthful heartfelt and honest opinion.

    No one likes to be called a bigot… well some people don’t care, but I’m speaking in general terms. There are a lot of bigots out there and sometimes we all say things that can put us into those dark corners.

    When one of the bloggers “trolled” by saying they worked for the CIA and those were some bad-assed missionaries, that the Catholic church should recruit from Thomas Aquinas College, etc. What no comment from you?

    When Anothercoward offers no balance, but resorts to name calling. What no comment from you?

    Frankly, you could have left my previous post standing alone as an apology. Why you felt you needed to continue your further criticism, I just thought that was bad form. I’d rather hear from Mark, Anothercoward, Notrelatedtoted, etc.

  20. Matthew Lickona says

    Anon,

    Nonsense. It ain’t patronizing if it seeks to clarify and does not demean. I could have left your previous post standing alone as an apology if it had been an apology and nothing more. But it wasn’t. You made a host of points along with your apology, points which I thought deserved a response and required clarification.

    The “it” I referred to with the statement “It guesses after motives” was your post about Mel Gibson getting a pass from Mark. The motives I thought you were guessing after were Mark’s. I was not referring to Benedict’s motives. As I said, “I never disallowed your judging of Mel’s motives. What I objected to was your suggesting that, in guessing after Mel’s motives, Mark was giving Mel a pass.”

    I didn’t comment on those posts from other commentors because they weren’t complaining about the way they were being treated. I commented to you because you seemed interested in debate, and I wanted to suggest a way to help facilitate that debate. You were dismissed by others becuase you first spoke dismissively. I wrote to suggest that if you wanted serious debate, you not adopt a dismissive tone.

    It’s true that no one likes to be called a bigot. Especially when it isn’t true. You wrote: “Yes, if you believe your religion is better than another religion, than you qualify as a bigot. Look it up!” I did look it up, and the definition didn’t support your claim.

  21. BIGOT:

    One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

    A narrow-minded person who is intolerant of beliefs other than his or her own.

    One who is obstinately and zealously attached to his own opinion that you do not entertain.

    Matthew, it would appear (as an example) if you are a firm believer in your faith and believe that only your faith is the only true faith to God, that no other religion could share this God, who is the only God, or that followers of another relgion are not equal to your own beliefs… aren’t we just balancing on the fine line of definition?

  22. AnotherCoward says

    And yet again, the troll makes his own case. That third definition … yeah … it comes from the Devil’s Dictionary. Every other definition I’ve seen of bigot qualifies such an individual as intolerant.

    Answers.com
    dictionary.reference.com
    thefreedictionary.com
    Wikitionary.org
    wikipedia.org

    Not so ironically, wikipedia has a second definition that is not all too different from that of the Devil’s dictionary … and it qualifies that definition for pejorative use.

    Matt – look at how much space you’ve wasted entertaining this anon. It’s exactly what he wants, and it does no one any good, least of all him.

  23. From Webster’s for Bigotry:

    State of mind of a bigot; obstinate and unreasoning attachment to one’s belief and opinion.

    Also from Webster’s for Intolerant:

    Not tolerating differences of opinion or sentiment, esp. in religious matters; refusing to allow others the enjoyment of their opinions, rights, or worship; bigoted.

    Anothercoward, I’m at a loss for words! It took less than a half dozen words before you let loose with “Troll”. Then you continued to flame, and I’m still waiting for a sane conversation from you.

    I guess it’s the Devil and Daniel Webster!

  24. AnotherCoward says

    Webster online has it slightly different, from your version here again with intolerance as a key attribute. So perhaps you’re webster is old, out of date, or perhaps (and I just don’t know how this could be possible) you’re trying to misrepresent what you otherwise know is true. Any attempt of an argument by authority that you have here is running thin.

    What’s to reason? You’ve dedicated the last half of your posts to defending that you’re not a troll. Fact is, if you have to defend yourself from being labeled a troll, then there’s probably something to it. Take Matt’s suggestions earnestly, that’d be a good start.

    Now, if you at some point actually want to exhibit reason and discourse, then your case would perhaps best be served throwing out some URL’s or what not and leaving the kvetching out.

    FTR, I did read through the california native american site. I am sorry that it (and other such things like it) have happened. And while I’ll agree that even once is one time too many and that Christian history has well exceeded one time of misbehavior, I will not characterize such tragic behavior as the primary mode of transmission – and you simply lack the authority to demonstrate otherwise.

    And while it is true that Christians have their dirty spots (never said we didn’t), it fails to address the division that the Pope was illustrating between Islam and Christianity. In Islam, to violently force conversions can be a legitimate theology because God is not bound by reason and rational – He can contradict Himself at will. Whereas Christianity’s view says that what God says is what God says forever more – so if God is reasonable and if faith in Him can be attained through reason, then violence has no place in coming to know Him. So, whereas the Muslims could be viewed as being theologically consistent with Jihad, Christians cannot. So the Pope is in fact repudiating as good any kind of forced “Christian” conversion (and remember, this is the guy who formerly held the head of the office formerly known as the Inquisition – he knows full well what it is he is saying, explicitly and implicitly).

    All of this does earnestly beg the question for Muslims – what kind of God do you serve? The world honestly doesn’t know. And while the Church has at times appeared to double talk, the fact remains that we keep coming back to this central Gospel truth that violence holds no place in coming to the Truth. We do have that much regardless of how well it is practiced.

    I could go on, but I’d feel that’d be rewarding you for behavior thus far. Better luck next time, though!

  25. AC: Yes please, don’t go on! You are just making this whole thing worse. I guess my old fashion habits of having a library with OMG, real books, and I did quote word-for-word, makes it difficult to give you URLs, sorry. And, in what month or year did the meaning of bigotry or intolerance change? Certainly not in my lifetime.

    My URL concerning the missionaries was only to try and give a background to my earlier rant that these things happened after I was accused of making it up. That’s it.

    Okay, you have a beef with Muslims. I certainly get that. Muslims are bad. What kind of God do they serve? The world doesn’t even know, honestly! Muslims are bad, Christians good… ok, I got it.

    Ouch.

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