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Monday, September 18, 2006

Islam = Spoiled cowardly brats who kill

Islamofascists have the emotional stability and control of a three year old and the evil bent of a Dorian Gray. With guns...and knives...and bombs.

An Italian nun was gunned down by Islamofascists, supposededly because the Pope accurately quoted a 14th-century Christian emperor who said Muhammad had brought the world only "evil and inhuman" things. In addition, the Times Online mentioned that:

Seven churches in the West Bank and Gaza were set on fire. Religious seminaries closed down in protest in Iran, where Ahmad Khatami, a leading cleric, told students at a mosque in the holy city of Qom that the Pope’s remark’s were inflammatory. The Tehran Times said that the Pope’s remarks were “code words for the start of a new Crusade”.

Morocco recalled its ambassador to the Vatican and there were further street protests by Muslims in Pakistan, India and Turkey. An Iraqi insurgent group, the Mujahidin Army, threatened a suicide bomb attack against the Vatican on a website used in the past by militants. Addressed to “the dogs of Rome”, it said: “Our minds will not rest until we shake your thrones and break your crosses in your home.”


Yes, those nice, peaceful Islamic mobs are killing and burning after Pope Benedict merely says something. Nice! After the Islamic mobs began to act out yet again (oh, did I mention Islamists are cowards? even a very tolerant friend of mine sent me a note:

If you recall, you wrote an article about Islamofacism and I commented, maintaining that Islam is a religion of peace that is simply being perversed by a few radicals. It was a long while ago, but it's there somewhere. I'd just like to say:

My Bad.

Between that Afghani who was going to get executed for converting to Christianity (not sure of his status), to the recent Pope comment uproar, to the cartoon riots, and upon reading the book Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, I've come to the conclusion that the religion is pretty much indefensible at this point. About as indefensible as the Christian churches around the 16th and 17th centuries. Thankfully, most Christian denominations have since amended their ways, and I can only hope Islam will do the same. Until then, I've always believed in admitting egregious mistakes in logic, and so here I am. I've become convinced that the radical responses are indeed mainsteam and the voices of reason are coming from the fringe religious groups based in the West. A damn shame, I think. Now I just wish there were an obvious solution to the problem.


There is an obvious solution. Kill the terrorists where we find them, aid the people in Islamic dictatorships to revolt and overturn Sharia Law and those who oppress them, and quit kissing Islamic butt! (that last one was for you, Jimmy Carter, and you, Al Gore, and you, Jesse Jackson, etc.)

39 comments:

creeper said...

It was still a dumb thing to say.

Juggling Mother said...

Ah yes, because us enlightened Christians/Westerners would never attck the symbols of a religion because of the behaviour of individuals within that religion!

For example, the liberal & peace loving Dutch would never attack dozens of mosques because one islamic idiot murdered someone.

And those friendly Kiwi's would never attack mosques in Aukland because a few terrorists on the opposite side of the world bombed the British public trasport system.

And certainly the reserved English people would never consider attacking British mosques & muslims or synagogues & jews across the country just because we disagree with another countries foriegn policy.

I could go on. Your own country certainly provided some illuminating examples of racial tolerance & understanding after 9/11!

cranky old fart said...

"...quit kissing Islamic butt."

I quite agree with you radar.

Further, we need to stop appeasing all those who claim that demons/gods rule our world. All these people, including our president, who claim to "know god's will" are just abetting the madness.

Until we stop validating these primitive superstitious notions, we will continue to be at peril from those who interpret their particular deity in a malevolent manner.

After all, who's to say that these "terrorists" aren't correctly interpreting the will of god? I mean, if you really believe in such things, how can you refute it with anything but similarly fanciful arguments?

In the end, demon haunted people of all types, just disagree on the details regarding god's "feelings". We just, understandably, have more tolerance for those whose interpretations are benign.

highboy said...

"Until we stop validating these primitive superstitious notions, we will continue to be at peril from those who interpret their particular deity in a malevolent manner."

And when that is done we'll still be at peril due to everyone having their own concept of right and wrong. Attaching a god to it makes it no more dangerous than no god.

scohen said...

"And when that is done we'll still be at peril due to everyone having their own concept of right and wrong."

So when we reject using the will of god as an excuse to do whatever you want, all laws will be repealed?

Did I miss something?

The argument that religion is the source of all morality and without it we'd be murdering heathens is ridiculous.

cranky old fart said...

Highboy,

"Attaching a god to it makes it no more dangerous than no god"

Really?

When one has the belief that there is life beyond this life, the laws/rules of the real world can more easily be held to matter little.

When you honestly believe that God almighty wants you commit suicide in his service, why NOT strap on a bomb? Eternal reward awaits!

God matters indeed.

highboy said...

"When you honestly believe that God almighty wants you commit suicide in his service, why NOT strap on a bomb? Eternal reward awaits"

That is no more dangerous than an atheist who believes life has no purpose and we are all biological accidents blowing up the world.

radar said...

Let's review: Christians generally adhere to the "Golden Rule" as expressed by Jesus when He said that we should love God with all we have and love our neighbor as ourselves. This is a guideline that tends towards peace as long as peace is possible.

You read headlines about "angry Islamic mobs" on a continual basis. You read about them murdering people because of a cartoon, or what a Pope says, etc. Then if, after a few brutal murders ordinary people stone a mosque you think that is on the same level of behavior? We all know that Islamists murder non-Muslims on a regular basis and there is not "just one" murder in question.

This is the kind of thinking that endangers all of Europe. Right now the children in Iran and Palestine and other places are being systematically brainwashed to be suicide bombers and terrorists in the name of a so-called god. The god of Islam is a made-up figment of Muhammed's imagination. He found a way to enrich himself and have others do his bidding while finding an excuse for pedophilia at the same time.

I have a moral code based on what God has said. If you have your own moral code, it may or may not be dangerous. But certainly if Islam is the basis of your morality you are a dangerous person indeed.

If you choose to believe there is not a God, that is your choice. To equate the God of the Bible with ghosts and demons is ignorant at best.mrpd

cranky old fart said...

Huh?

Sorry, I guess I missed this atheist jihad of which you speak.

cranky old fart said...

radar,

"To equate the God of the Bible with ghosts and demons is ignorant at best".

Do tell.

Is there an actual being called Satan, alive and active in the affairs of physical world?

cranky old fart said...

radar,

For what it's worth, I agree that PC treatment of Islamic inspired violence is dead wrong. Deliberate targeting and killing of innocents is dead wrong, no matter the basis.

I do, however, I have to question your statement:

"But certainly if Islam is the basis of your morality you are a dangerous person indeed."

If you are going to lump all Muslims together as "dangerous", what do you propose to do?

Juggling Mother said...

I was not defending the islamic murderers, but pointing out that they do not have the monopoly on idiocy & biogotry.

"I've become convinced that the radical responses are indeed mainsteam and the voices of reason are coming from the fringe religious groups based in the West"

Because there have been several hundred suicide bombers attacking the west? As compared the many millions of muslims who live peacefully accross the world?

Following your logic that Islam is fundementally evil & should be wiped out in all forms wherever found because some people who follow the religion kill, I assume you are all in favour of a complete ban on the sale of firearms, because owning a firearm is fundementally wrong, as many people who own them kill others - often for less "reason" than suicide bombers!

highboy said...

I'm pretty sure he doesn't mean putting them on the train and taking them to the "camps".

radar said...

Cranky, this "Satan" guy? Friend of yours? Do you think he is equal with God? If not, I don't understand your question...

Juggling, there are multiple thousands of Islamofascists, not hundreds, who are murdering innocents and plotting to blow innocents up. It certainly is possible to be a Muslim and not murder people. But the percentage of murderous wretches among them is far higher than the rest of the population. They are killing people by the thousands in Africa right now and by the hundreds in the Middle East just in this year alone. They succeeded in killing 3,000 people of all nationalities on 9/11 and have been plotting ways to exceed that number ever since.

I didn't say I think all of Islam should be wiped out, I said the Islamofascists should be wiped out. Did we systematically kill all Germans after WWII or did we just keep killing Nazi's until their organization was shattered and they were defeated. Did we decide to wipe out all Japanese after WWII or did we just keep killing the Japanese troops until they were defeated?

I am saying that we are at war with Islamic fascists and we should defeat them. Not talking about genocide, talking about putting an end to those who seek to conquer the world for a false god by any means possible.

highboy said...

Of course Satan is alive and in physical form: Bill Cowher.

oriolebird38 said...

Radar, I see you chose to include only the part I wrote about Islam, and not the part about how the White Sox will be kept out of the playoffs by the Tigers. But I guess I should expect selective quoting from you?

In all seriousness, there are indeed cases where Christians have done heinous things in the name of religion, and I have plenty of ire towards Falwell, Robertson, and the like. But the truth is, those two wackos represent fringe groups that most Christians would claim do not represent them. On the other hand, the violent segment of Islam is a far greater percentage than the violent Christian segment. In addition, I can't recall a violent segment of Christianity being in control of a nation. The same cannot be said of Islam.

Dan Kauffman said...

"I could go on. Your own country certainly provided some illuminating examples of racial tolerance & understanding after 9/11!"

We sure did as a matter of fact America was SO Islamophobic that more Hate crimes were committed on Jews and would you belive
Asian Pacific Islanders than against Muslims.

Want to know why the Valiant Warriors of Islam had to shoot an elderly nun four time in the BACK?

She was probably armed with a ruler.

Dan Kauffman said...

Sorry, I guess I missed this atheist jihad of which you speak.

11:45 AM
***********************************
Well hmm I think it was called Marxism, they seem to have lost unless there is a revival of Socialism in disguise.

But 100 Million plus dead is a respectable body count.

Both Militant Islam and Marxist-Lenninism prescribe to the theory that the individual has no right to self-determination.

oriolebird38 said...

I think comparing Marxists to Radical Islam is an insult...to Marxism. At least Marxism doesn't flip a shit when someone suggests that they are radical and violent in nature.

Calling it an atheist jihad is somewhat of a mis-nomer though. It eschewed religion, but I would think an atheist jihad would have to wage war on religions of the world. But I guess it's just semantics.

oriolebird38 said...

Although, overall, I have to agree with creeper. Regardless of right or wrong, the Pope needs to not say things that can be perceived as inflammatory. As nutso as Radical Islam is, the last thing we need to do is provoke them with our rhetoric.

loboinok said...

As nutso as Radical Islam is, the last thing we need to do is provoke them with our rhetoric.


Since we have so many that have, and are presently, giving their lives defending our liberties and rights... I think I'll just continue freely exercising them, inspite of the nuts.

cranky old fart said...

radar,

"I don't understand your question..."

Respectfully; B.S.

radar said...

Cranky, if you want to ask a question, ask it directly. That's easy enough.

Oriole, I didn't want to even think about what is happening to my White Sox. But you can't take last year's World Championship away.

As for the Pope, he simply stated the truth. Imagine, that when he equates Islam with violence, Islam reacts with....wait for it....violence!

creeper said...

"As for the Pope, he simply stated the truth."

Your mother might well be ugly and I might well "simply be stating the truth" if I went up to her and called her that, but does that make it a smart thing to do?

cranky old fart said...

radar,

I thought it WAS a direct question.

Let's try again; Is there an actual being called Satan, alive and active in the affairs of physical world?

Mazement said...

This whole business reminds me of a trick that white supremacist groups used in the 80's and early 90's.

They'd announce a rally and get the usual 15-20 supporters. Meanwhile a couple hundred counter-protestors would show up. A few of the teenagers would get so emotionally worked up that they'd start throwing rocks, and then a couple more would take advantage of the chaos by looting a store. If the police started making arrests, then someone would scream out that it was racism and things could get ugly fast.

Then the white supremacists would say, "Tsk, tsk, tsk! Just look at how those people behave! Why, they're no better than animals!"

It's not even especially clever. It's basic mob psychology, and people have been taking advantage of it for hundreds of years.

Of course, eventually the counter-protestors figured out that they were being played, and the organizers started emphasizing the "non-violent" part of the rhetoric. So we haven't seen that sort of rioting in recent years. (From the anti-racists, I mean. The anti-WTO people haven't caught on yet. So this isn't a uniquely Muslim problem.)

The moral of the story is that people of good will need to take responsibility for policing themselves, and make sure that their self-proclaimed allies aren't commiting crimes in their name.

The other moral of the story is that the Pope really ought not to be using KKK tactics to score cheap political points. What a jerk!

radar said...

mazement, you have indeed left me amazed! You equate the Pope with the KKK for quoting a 14th century ruler concerning Islam. The quote is appropriate to the world today. Any follower of Islam should be ashamed of the actions of his violent brethren and acknowledge that the statement is true. But, no, instead there are mobs of violent idiots in the streets!

You have it backwards! Islam is the KKK and the Pope is the protester. But he didn't hurl rocks, just words.

Shame on every one of you who defend Islamists and kow-tow to them!

Mazement said...

You equate the Pope with the KKK for quoting a 14th century ruler concerning Islam.

Maybe the analogy wasn't clear enough. The idea is that both the Pope and the KKK are making deliberately offensive statements in a context where they know it's going to provoke a riot.

Yes, the rioters are wrong (which I think I made clear in my comment), but the Pope doesn't get any points for giving them an excuse.

Let me try again...suppose the Pope had gotten blind drunk at a bar and was staggering around a rough neighborhood at 3AM while wearing a miniskirt. If he got assaulted then obviously the criminal should be arrested. But I think that any good conservative would agree that he was "asking for it" by acting so irresponsibly.

The quote is appropriate to the world today. Any follower of Islam should be ashamed of the actions of his violent brethren and acknowledge that the statement is true.

The actual quote contained: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman..." That's an attack on Islam as a whole, not just on the "violent brethern".

It's the sort of bigotted nonsense you'd expect to see from a KKK leader or his 14th Century equivalent. The Pope has already said that he disagrees with it. (I'm still a little confused about how it worked it's way into his speech, and I hope we'll learn the rest of the story in days to come.)

cranky old fart said...

radar,

"Cranky, if you want to ask a question, ask it directly. That's easy enough."

I agreee.

It's getting a direct answer that's really the hard part!

xiangtao said...

Especially from Radar. If past history is any indication, you'll have to ask your question at least three more times before he actually decides to answer in a straight forward manner. If he ever does.

radar said...

"Especially from Radar. If past history is any indication, you'll have to ask your question at least three more times before he actually decides to answer in a straight forward manner. If he ever does."

At least I am straightforward and don't dodge the question like you guys are with chancedidit.

Cranky asked about a Satan in conjunction with God. I don't associate the two. So I had him restate the question. Here is the answer:

No, I do not believe there is a being called Satan walking the earth or active in the physical world now. Nor does this have anything to do with God and creation.

cranky old fart said...

radar,

Thank you.

"Nor does this have anything to do with God and creation."

Of course not.

I've been assured over at Amy P's site that there are a universe of supernatural beings that play a part in our world. Was just curious if you were of that camp.

creeper said...

Radar

"At least I am straightforward and don't dodge the question like you guys are with chancedidit."

Are you referring to the question you posed in your post "Missing the God point entirely"? I responded to it right away - I see you finally responded to that. Looks like you're putting up a vast strawman argument, and it's being duly addressed.

As for your claim that you don't dodge questions - that's a good one. We really should compile the somewhat lengthy list of questions you've been avoiding so far. Would take a while though.

loboinok said...

(I'm still a little confused about how it worked it's way into his speech, and I hope we'll learn the rest of the story in days to come.)

I would give the link but it is a subcription site,(Stratfor.com)so I will give some of the text.


By George Friedman

On Sept. 12, Pope Benedict XVI delivered a lecture on "Faith, Reason and the University" at the University of Regensburg. In his discussion (full text available on the Vatican Web site) the pope appeared to be trying to define a course between dogmatic faith and cultural relativism -- making his personal contribution to the old debate about faith and reason. In the course of the lecture, he made reference to a "part of the dialogue carried on -- perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara -- by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both."

Benedict went on to say -- and it is important to read a long passage to understand his point -- that:

"In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that Sura 2,256 reads: 'There is no compulsion in religion.' According to the experts, this 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 Quran, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the 'Book' and the 'infidels,' he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness which leaves us astounded, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: '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, 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. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent.'"

The reaction of the Muslim world -- outrage -- came swift and sharp over the passage citing Manuel II: "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." Obviously, this passage is a quote from a previous text -- but equally obviously, the pope was making a critical point that has little to do with this passage.

The essence of this passage is about forced conversion. It begins by pointing out that Mohammed spoke of faith without compulsion when he lacked political power, but that when he became strong, his perspective changed. Benedict goes on to make the argument that violent conversion -- from the standpoint of a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, and therefore shaped by the priority of reason -- is unacceptable. For someone who believes that God is absolutely transcendent and beyond reason, the argument goes, it is acceptable.

Clearly, Benedict knows that Christians also practiced forced conversion in their history. He also knows that the Aristotelian tendency is not unique to Christianity. In fact, that same tendency exists in the Muslim tradition, through thinkers such as al-Farabi or Avicenna. These stand in relation to Islam as Thomas Aquinas does to Christianity or Maimonides to Judaism. And all three religions struggle not only with the problem of God versus science, but with the more complex and interesting tripolar relationship of religion as revelation, reason and dogmatism. There is always that scriptural scholar, the philosopher troubled by faith and the local clergyman who claims to speak for God personally.

Benedict's thoughtful discussion of this problem needs to be considered. Also to be considered is why the pope chose to throw a hand grenade into a powder keg, and why he chose to do it at this moment in history. The other discussion might well be more worthy of the ages, but this question -- what did Benedict do, and why did he do it -- is of more immediate concern, for he could have no doubt what the response, in today's politically charged environment, was going to be.

A Deliberate Move

Let's begin with the obvious: Benedict's words were purposely chosen. The quotation of Manuel II was not a one-liner, accidentally blurted out. The pope was giving a prepared lecture that he may have written himself -- and if it was written for him, it was one that he carefully read. Moreover, each of the pope's public utterances are thoughtfully reviewed by his staff, and there is no question that anyone who read this speech before it was delivered would recognize the explosive nature of discussing anything about Islam in the current climate. There is not one war going on in the world today, but a series of wars, some of them placing Catholics at risk.

It is true that Benedict was making reference to an obscure text, but that makes the remark all the more striking; even the pope had to work hard to come up with this dialogue. There are many other fine examples of the problem of reason and faith that he could have drawn from that did not involve Muslims, let alone one involving such an incendiary quote. But he chose this citation and, contrary to some media reports, it was not a short passage in the speech. It was about 15 percent of the full text and was the entry point to the rest of the lecture. Thus, this was a deliberate choice, not a slip of the tongue.

As a deliberate choice, the effect of these remarks could be anticipated. Even apart from the particular phrase, the text of the speech is a criticism of the practice of conversion by violence, with a particular emphasis on Islam. Clearly, the pope intended to make the point that Islam is currently engaged in violence on behalf of religion, and that it is driven by a view of God that engenders such belief. Given Muslims' protests (including some violent reactions) over cartoons that were printed in a Danish newspaper, the pope and his advisers certainly must have been aware that the Muslim world would go ballistic over this. Benedict said what he said intentionally, and he was aware of the consequences. Subsequently, he has not apologized for what he said -- only for any offense he might have caused. He has not retracted his statement.

So, why this, and why now?

Political Readings

Consider the fact that the pope is not only a scholar but a politician -- and a good one, or he wouldn't have become the pope. He is not only a head of state, but the head of a global church with a billion members. The church is no stranger to geopolitics. Muslims claim that they brought down communism in Afghanistan. That may be true, but there certainly is something to be said also for the efforts of the Catholic Church, which helped to undermine the communism in Poland and to break the Soviet grip on Eastern Europe. Popes know how to play power politics.

Thus, there are at least two ways to view Benedict's speech politically.

One view derives from the fact that the pope is watching the U.S.-jihadist war. He can see it is going badly for the United States in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He witnessed the recent success of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas' political victory among the Palestinians. Islamists may not have the fundamental strength to threaten the West at this point, but they are certainly on a roll. Also, it should be remembered that Benedict's predecessor, John Paul II, was clearly not happy about the U.S. decision to invade Iraq, but it does not follow that his successor is eager to see a U.S. defeat there.

The statement that Benedict made certainly did not hurt U.S. President George W. Bush in American politics. Bush has been trying to portray the war against Islamist militants as a clash of civilizations, one that will last for generations and will determine the future of mankind. Benedict, whether he accepts Bush's view or not, offered an intellectual foundation for Bush's position. He drew a sharp distinction between Islam and Christianity and then tied Christianity to rationality -- a move to overcome the tension between religion and science in the West. But he did not include Islam in that matrix. Given that there is a war on and that the pope recognizes Bush is on the defensive, not only in the war but also in domestic American politics, Benedict very likely weighed the impact of his words on the scale of war and U.S. politics. What he said certainly could be read as words of comfort for Bush. We cannot read Benedict's mind on this, of course, but he seemed to provide some backing for Bush's position.

It is not entirely clear that Pope Benedict intended an intellectual intervention in the war. The church obviously did not support the invasion of Iraq, having criticized it at the time. On the other hand, it would not be in the church's interests to see the United States simply routed. The Catholic Church has substantial membership throughout the region, and a wave of Islamist self-confidence could put those members and the church at risk. From the Vatican's perspective, the ideal outcome of the war would be for the United States to succeed -- or at least not fail -- but for the church to remain free to criticize Washington's policies and to serve as conciliator and peacemaker. Given the events of the past months, Benedict may have felt the need for a relatively gentle intervention -- in a way that warned the Muslim world that the church's willingness to endure vilification as a Crusader has its limits, and that he is prepared, at least rhetorically, to strike back. Again, we cannot read his mind, but neither can we believe that he was oblivious to events in the region and that, in making his remarks, he was simply engaged in an academic exercise.

This perspective would explain the timing of the pope's statement, but the general thrust of his remarks has more to do with Europe.

There is an intensifying tension in Europe over the powerful wave of Muslim immigration. Frictions are high on both sides. Europeans fear that the Muslim immigrants will overwhelm their native culture or form an unassimilated and destabilizing mass. Muslims feel unwelcome, and some extreme groups have threatened to work for the conversion of Europe. In general, the Vatican's position has ranged from quiet to calls for tolerance. As a result, the Vatican was becoming increasingly estranged from the church body -- particularly working- and middle-class Catholics -- and its fears.

As has been established, the pope knew that his remarks at Regensburg would come under heavy criticism from Muslims. He also knew that this criticism would continue despite any gestures of contrition. Thus, with his remarks, he moved toward closer alignment with those who are uneasy about Europe's Muslim community -- without adopting their own, more extreme, sentiments. That move increases his political strength among these groups and could cause them to rally around the church. At the same time, the pope has not locked himself into any particular position. And he has delivered his own warning to Europe's Muslims about the limits of tolerance.

It is obvious that Benedict delivered a well-thought-out statement. It is also obvious that the Vatican had no illusions as to how the Muslim world would respond. The statement contained a verbal blast, crafted in a way that allowed Benedict to maintain plausible deniability. Indeed, the pope already has taken the exit, noting that these were not his thoughts but those of another scholar. The pope and his staff were certainly aware that this would make no difference in the grand scheme of things, save for giving Benedict the means for distancing himself from the statement when the inevitable backlash occurred. Indeed, the anger in the Muslim world remained intense, and there also have been emerging pockets of anger among Catholics over the Muslim world's reaction to the pope, considering the history of Islamic attacks against Christianity. Because he reads the newspapers -- not to mention the fact that the Vatican maintains a highly capable intelligence service of its own -- Benedict also had to have known how the war was going, and that his statement likely would aid Bush politically, at least indirectly. Finally, he would be aware of the political dynamics in Europe and that the statement would strengthen his position with the church's base there.

The question is how far Benedict is going to go with this. His predecessor took on the Soviet Union and then, after the collapse of communism, started sniping at the United States over its materialism and foreign policy. Benedict may have decided that the time has come to throw the weight of the church against radical Islamists. In fact, there is a logic here: If the Muslims reject Benedict's statement, they have to acknowledge the rationalist aspects of Islam. The burden is on the Ummah to lift the religion out of the hands of radicals and extremist scholars by demonstrating that Muslims can adhere to reason.

From an intellectual and political standpoint, therefore, Benedict's statement was an elegant move. He has strengthened his political base and perhaps legitimized a stronger response to anti-Catholic rhetoric in the Muslim world. And he has done it with superb misdirection. His options are open: He now can move away from the statement and let nature take its course, repudiate it and challenge Muslim leaders to do the same with regard to anti-Catholic statements or extend and expand the criticism of Islam that was implicit in the dialogue.

The pope has thrown a hand grenade and is now observing the response. We are assuming that he knew what he was doing; in fact, we find it impossible to imagine that he did not. He is too careful not to have known. Therefore, he must have anticipated the response and planned his partial retreat.

It will be interesting to see if he has a next move. The answer to that may be something he doesn't know himself yet.
*******
I went ahead and posted what I have.

I know it's long but maybe that will help.

radar said...

Creeper said:
"Are you referring to the question you posed in your post "Missing the God point entirely"? I responded to it right away - I see you finally responded to that. Looks like you're putting up a vast strawman argument, and it's being duly addressed.

As for your claim that you don't dodge questions - that's a good one. We really should compile the somewhat lengthy list of questions you've been avoiding so far. Would take a while though."

You often, when I answer a question, claim that I am using a strawman argument and then avoid the response. Who is then dodging whom?

creeper said...

"You often, when I answer a question, claim that I am using a strawman argument and then avoid the response. Who is then dodging whom?"

The way to respond to a strawman argument is to expose it as one, not to walk down the garden path created by the strawman.

Obviously whoever introduces the strawman argument is doing the dodging.

radar said...

The trouble with the strawman argument is that it becomes a neat way to avoid a point you cannot intelligently address. This is a common fallback in a debate and one that a debate teacher will usually consider a weak response. If you say, "strawman" and cannot point out the pieces of straw and the stick skeletal structure to everyone's satisfaction, you have said nothing at all.

creeper said...

The so-called problem you refer to here applies to unjustified accusations of an argument being a strawman. If an argument is in fact a strawman, then the proper way to respond to it is to identify it as one instead of falling for the fallacy created by the person who made the strawman argument.

Radar, if you think that I have at any point unfairly accused one of your arguemnts as being a strawman, then please tell me specifically where I did so, and I'll gladly explain in what way it was a strawman argument.

Barring that, I'll consider this a simple dodge on your part.

creeper said...

I take it that my previous question will join the many, many questions on this blog that Radar has not answered - and that the arguments I've identified as strawman arguments were correctly identified as such.