Pro-Bush Pope Attacks Science & Islam

by Gideon Polya (source: MWC News)
Thursday, September 21, 2006

POPE BENEDICT XVI (aka Joseph Ratzinger, former Nazi German soldier in World War 2 and the Head of the Vatican Inquisition for a quarter century under Pope John Paul II) made a carefully constructed address at the University of Regensburg that was about 2 things: (1) the importance of faith and Biblical literalism in the academic search for truth i.e. Science being mistaken and irrational by excluding Religion from its consideration; and (2) an attack on Islam as being violent and irrational. The Pope was WRONG on both counts.

Read the Pope’s lecture on Catholic World News and you will see these 2 FALSEHOODS - that religion is crucial for rational inquiry and that Islam is violent and irrational - REPEATEDLY revealed. So much for Papal infallibility.

Falsehood #1, that religion is crucial for rational inquiry, arose from the Pope’s demand that Science should include religion in its search for truth. In his lecture the Pope was addressing academics of the University of Regensburg which has 2 theology schools. His lecture discussed the role of religion in rational inquiry, addressed Science versus Religion in such processes and made the claim that Science is deficient in the search for Truth if it ignores the contribution that can be made by “Religion” (and by what he calls “philosophy” which he deceptively conflates with “religion”); thus Papal QUOTE: “The intention here is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of broadening our concept of reason and its application. While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them. We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons. In this sense theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith.”

Science is about the critical testing of potentially falsifiable hypotheses. Religion is about “faith” and people accepting a “framework” to help them through Life. The notion of “God” is clearly of great value to billions of people in their lives but is not a “critically testable potentially falsifiable hypothesis” and hence is not useful in scientific inquiry into the nature of reality. The Pope’s assertion that Science is somehow irrational or deficient by excluding religion from its search for truth is utter nonsense.

Falsehood #2 was the claim that Islam is about violent conversion and is accordingly violent and irrational. This is contradicted immediately by the Holy Qur’an which states that “There is no compulsion in religion” (Holy Qur’an, Surah 2, 256). However the Pope countermands the explicit directive of the Holy Qur’an (a directive used extensively by thoughtful Islamic scholars in relation to religion co-existence) by quoting an Islamophobic 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II.

Papal QUOTE: “In the seventh conversation [between Emperor Manuel II and a Persian Islamic scholar] edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: There is no compulsion in religion. It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat.

But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels,” he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words:

“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.”

The emperor 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 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. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality." END QUOTE.

The Pope is wrong on several counts here to the point of blasphemy. “Jihad” is not about “holy war” as repeatedly asserted by the well-known Genius Islamic Scholar George W. Bush. In fact “jihad” is about “struggle” against evil and loss of faith when beset by temptation, oppression and persecution (it can include violent struggle in certain contexts). The Pope – a person intimately involved with spirituality - knows this all too well but dishonestly chooses the definition of “holy war” quite deliberately. Even Agnostic Humanists such as myself appreciate the (unprovable) Theist Idea of a Perfect God and accordingly the Pope’s attribution of “irrationality” to the God of Islam is profoundly nasty, offending and blasphemously offensive. The explicit message of the Qur’an cannot be plausibly countermanded by the words of a 14th century Islamophobic Christian Emperor engaged in war with Muslim Turks (Constantinople finally fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453) – the Pope is simply and deliberately using the kind of “spin” beloved of Bush-ite neo-cons and Zionists but in the context of an ostensibly serious, academic address.

Translation

Of course the Pope’s “spin” about “violent, irrational Islam” involves lying of omission as well as of commission. Thus palpable realities ignored by the Pope in his Bush-ite Apologia include the following:Image

1. No Muslim countries are at war with anyone at the moment;

2. No Muslim countries are occupying any other countries (except for Turkish occupation of part of Cyprus);

3. Western armies in 2006 have been partially or completely occupying 5 substantially Muslim countries, namely Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

4. The post-invasion avoidable deaths (deaths that should not have happened) in the Occupied Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan Territories currently (September 2006) total 0.3, 0.5 and 2.0 million, respectively – 60% under-5 year old infants and due to gross Occupier violation of the Geneva Convention that demands that Occupiers keep their Conquered Subjects alive (see: MWC news ).

5. Largely Muslim Iran is currently under acute threat from US-Israeli State Terrorism (USIST) (a reality that makes the present Papal Islamophobia particularly dangerous. Is the Pope’s speech a deliberate contribution to pre-Iran War psy-ops and a prelude to USIST attack on Iran?).

Outstanding writer on Muslim and World affairs, Tariq Ali, has commented thus on the Pope’s deliberate attack on Islam: "Was Benedict's most recent provocation accidental or deliberate? The Bavarian is a razor-sharp reactionary cleric ... leaves little to chance ... I think he knew what he was saying and why ... Today most Catholic prelates in the West (including the Bavarian in the Vatican) and politicians of Centre-Left/Right worship the real Pope who lives in the White House and tells them when black is white." (see: here ).

Pope Benedict’s last paragraph reinforces these interpretations of the pro-Bush War on Terror sub-text of the Pope’s Islamophobic speech [my queries and comments are in square brackets]:

QUOTE: “The West [why the West? Aren’t universities universal?] has long been endangered [poetical inclusion] by this aversion to the questions which underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great harm thereby [i.e. untestable assertions of “God” and “purpose of Life”]. The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur – this is the program with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time [but not into rational Scientific inquiry]. “Not to act reasonably (with logos) is contrary to the nature of God”, said [Islamophobe] Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his [Muslim] Persian interlocutor [i.e. implicit re-statement of this false thesis that Muslims are irrationally violent as well as the false assertion of Scientists being irrational in their scepticism] . It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason [perversion of reason], that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures [but evidently not Muslims or Scientists]. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university.” [No, the great task of the university is to approach Truth by critically testing potentially falsifiable hypotheses].

The 18th century Enlightenment was all about Humanity freeing itself from dogmatic superstition violently imposed by institutions such as the Inquisition. The appalling realities of violent, Bush-Blair-led Western involvements in the Muslim world, the HIV/AIDS carnage (assisted by papal intransigence over safe sex) and the annual global avoidable mortality of 16 million on remorselessly warming, First World-ruled Spaceship Earth are ignored by Pope Benedict who instead promulgates false, offensive and threatening Islamophobia in the interests of US-Israeli state Terrorism that represents the greatest current threat to Christianity in the Middle East (just read expert UK scholar William Dalrymple's outstanding exposé "From the Holy Mountain" ).

60 years after the liberation of the concentration camps, Deutschland has now reverted to complicity in horrendous current war crimes (in Afghanistan, as part of the US Alliance where the post-invasion avoidable deaths now total 2 million and have occurred through gross Occupier violation of the Geneva Conventions that demand that Occupiers keep their Conquered Subjects alive) (see "US-corrupted Germany and Japan" in MWC News ). Is former Nazi German soldier, pro-Bush Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, showing his true colours?

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Dr Gideon Polya, MWC News Chief political editor, published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003), and is currently writing a book on global mortality ---

Contact Dr.Polya By E-mail


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