The Religion of Peace Strikes Again!

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Guest: Adrian Morgan, writer with


In this interview we explore the violent reaction across the Islamosphere to the 9/12 speech of Pope Benedict XVI – made a day after the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorists attacks on the United States.

The Pope’s speech was no “blunder” as some have claimed.

And the Pope’s “apology” was not a retraction.


Some excerpts from Pope Benedict XVI’s 9/12 speech:

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read [ … ] part of a [ … ] dialogue carried on – perhaps in 1391 [between] Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both.

The emperor must have known that surah 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 Qur’an, concerning holy war.

Without descending to details [ … ] he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness [ … ] 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 [ … ] 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…”.

… Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God’s nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true?

I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God.

[ … ] This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts, [ … ] with logos. Logos means both reason and word – a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason.

… The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance.

… The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur – this is the programme with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time.

Not to act reasonably, not to act with logos, is contrary to the nature of God“, said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor.

It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures.

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