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The Pope ‘Thing’ – Messier & Messier…

By on Sep 23, 2006 in Politics | 5 comments

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So here I am, reading an article called ‘The Pope on Islam‘ by a Dominic Lawson.

Lawson obviously has a vain view of himself, setting himself up as some intellectual man of courage, daring to speak out the things which others only dare think…etc..etc…

He claims that, despite claims to the contrary from moderates on both sides, the religions are natural enemies with mutually offensive beliefs.

He says “Christianity exists only on the basis that Jesus Christ is the son of God. Islam exists only on the basis that God dictated his laws to Mohamed and that the Koran contains the actual words of God” – ignoring completely the simple fact that both religions share one common notion, i.e. monotheism.

He also fails to see that some issues are due to chronological issues.

For example, Islam, coming after Christianity, clearly calls both Jews and Christians ‘people of the book’ – giving them a distinct position not shared with Buddhism, for example.

Dominic, published in the Hamilton Spectator, wants to start a fire.

He quotes an Islamic belief that Jesus could not have been the son of God, and although that may be true, he implies therefore that Moslems see Jesus as a liar, or a deluded fool.

In fact, and if he doesn’t know better then he just hasn’t done his homework, nothing could be further from the truth. The traditional Islamic view, which is (by the way) not contradicted by the Bible itself, is that Jesus was a prophet, and as such is held in very high regard within Islamic circles.

The divinity (or not) of Jesus has always been in dispute, even within earlier Christian circles. I need mention, for example, the adherents of docetism – as well as others – who saw a distinct difference between a moral Jesus and a Divine Christ…

In any case, as anybody who’s done some research would know – the whole ‘Son of God’ thing came later, as did the Trinity concept, which to this day, nobody quite has a grip on.

I remember going through the Jesus quotations in the Bible before, and to my memory, although he does use the idea of God having children, not once did I see it used exclusively. For example, I would notice phrases like ‘our heavenly father’, etc…

In short, when Dominic says “If Jesus was not the Son of God then he, too, was deluded or a liar” – as though this were the Islamic view, he is lying. It’s simply not true. Moslems might consider the vast majority of Christians to be confused or deluded on this point, but none of them believe that Jesus is guilty of this delusion. The guilt for this particular mess is thrown at the feet of the Christian Church, and at the Council of Nicaea, etc…

Also – and this is where Dominic is simply being disingenuous – he quotes a then Cardinal Ratzinger as saying that “Islam simply does not have the separation of the political and religious spheres which Christianity had from the very beginning”. This is where I would laugh if this matter were not so serious for so many. The idea that anybody would today claim that the Church has not been a political entity with political aspirations is absolutely ridiculous. We need only recall that since Constantine the Church has been a political entity, in fact, molded, some have said, for political purposes. For centuries it was the Church and the Papacy that crowned kings in Europe. How is that not political? And yet, here comes Dominic The Inflamer, centuries later, after Napoleon grabbed the crown back from the church, quoting Ratzinger in claiming that the Church from the beginning had no political motive.

Right.

Maybe next week Dominic will claim that just because he uses a quote does not necessarily mean he feels the same way.

I leave you with these last words:

“There has only ever been one Christian, and he died on the cross.” – Nietzsche

Dominic? I don’t think so.

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5 Comments

  1. islam

    September 25, 2006

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    First of all, fuck Nietzche. Secondly, fuck the pope. Between these two goths, one was enamoured with limitless ignorance, and the other, true to his trade is busy exploiting it.

    You wrote:
    “For example, Islam, coming after Christianity, clearly calls both Jews and Christians ‘people of the book’ – giving them a distinct position not shared with Buddhism, for example.”

    Actually you don’t know that. “The book” apparently also refers to a book given to David, zoroastrians and/or sabaeans are also mentioned in the quran as people of the book. Furthermore, most of the classic scholars of the islamic “consensus” speculate that one of the prophets mentioned in the quran is indeed Zaradusht, aka Zarathustra or zoroaster. More modern scholars, have speculated that “zhu’l kifl” actually refers to Buddha. Speculation, it is, that’s true, but when one considers the texts and spirit of buddhism – at least in light of islamic attitudes to life and nature, it becomes very obvious there’s an ancient kinship between the two systems. In practice, the Muslims that came in contact with buddhists, in the sind (baluchistan), in india and intransoxiana did not treat them as infidels, but as people of the book – a rare and audacious divergence from the letter of the sunnah – but that no doubt was motivated by what may have been the uncanny closeness between buddhist philosophy of nature, and that of the muslim ethos. I heard of no califs or ulema complaining about that decision.

    As to Zinger, he exploits the ignorance that seems to hound most westerners when it comes to history and spiritual theory, by spreading more ignorance. First, he omitted the context of the debate that he cited; namely, that the “erudite” emperor in question, was not below the use of the sword , muslim swords no less, to wrestle his “title” back from his own brother. I say title, not crown, because the paleologos, the “erudite” byzantine, was himself a vassal of the ottoman turks. He was permitted his own little fiefdom just out of the magnanimity of that ottoman tribe- he lived largely inside a muslim ottoman dominion. Not only that. The unnamed “persian” interlocutor, was most likely an officer of the ottoman court. Zinger does not deign to note the contempt and dishonesty of paleologos in leaving out the name of that persian debater – something not quite in line with the spirit of open-mindedness, debate and scholarship.

    Most glaringly, going by what the pope said of the verses, their chronology and the reasons for their contents, wouldn’t pass him “quran 101” at a catholic seminary. Zinger first quoted a verse from albaqarah that generally says there is no compulsion in religion. Zinger attributes the benignness of that verse to that mohamed cited it at a time when he was weak and powerless, ie before establishing his state in medina. Then he quotes another verse, apparently having to do with fighting infidels. He opines , that more belligerent verse came when muhammad felt more secure with his newly founded state. In fact, however, the opposite is true.
    Surat Al-baqarah in its entirety came in the post-hijra years, in medina. It is classified as a medina surat. Whereas the seemingly more belligerent quote, came much earlier. Apparently the doyen of Opus Dei assumed that since baqarah comes first in the mus-haf, then it must have been ‘revealed’ earlier. Not so, Zingerel.
    Furthermore, the islamic sciene of the circumstances surrounding the revelation of each verse , is apparently totally lost on the 267th pontiff. The verse on no compulsion in religion was specifically revealed during the case of some new convert’s brother who converted to christianity by some levantine merchants. Most of the war verses, in the quran were revealed during times of war with the arabs that opposed the new muslims.

    Finally, while history shows just which of the two religious states honoured and employed science and rationalism , and which actually burned scientists and nonconformists at the stake, another writer recently pointed out that the word “sword” does not appear in the quran once, whereas in the bible (both OT and NT,) it appears over 400 times.

    so yeah, fuck the pope. As if the methodists and zionists weren’t already doing a bang up job of stoking international fear loathing already. Thank you ratzinger, you’ve helped make things such a win-win situation for everybody. Fuck you ratzinger.

  2. AntonGarou

    September 25, 2006

    Post a Reply

    Please give me examples of Nietsche’s “enamour of ignorance” as you claim.I’m not by any means well read in his work, not being interested in philosophy, but the claim rings false to me.

    As to your grievance about the use of “erudite”:all the online dictionaries I found defined it about thus “Erudite- Characterised by extensive reading or knowledge; well instructed; learned”.Learning does not insure strength of character or good nature, the Pope was merely establishing that the emperor wasn’t an ignoramus.The Pope also makes an oblique reference to the bad blood between him and Islam ” It was presumably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402″.He had a limited time in which to make his point(to which the quote was only a prologue, as you know if you read his address), and I assume he didn’t want to extensively disscus the history of the source.

    Finally, while history shows just which of the two religious states honoured and employed science and rationalism , and which actually burned scientists and nonconformists at the stake

    How the mighty are fallen, ah?Today it is a large part of Islam which closes its doors to learning, while most of the Judeo-Christian West looks upon it as extremely valuable, well, to be accurate, we jews never much frowned on learning- Maimonidas was a doctor and philosopher as well as rabbi, for example:)(yes- I’m Jewish, and Zionist, and Israeli).

    . Thank you ratzinger, you’ve helped make things such a win-win situation for everybody.

    You know, all muslim leading clerics had to do to “win” this situation was to point out the problems with the Pope’s argument in a civilized manner, and maybe ask for an apology or state they forgive him, rather then inciting riots in the streets over it.It isn’t the Pope’s words that condemn you in my eyes- he was talking about the inherent contradiction of violence and religion, with Islam as a convenient case-in-point, and he isn’t *my* spiritual leader anyway.The burning effigies and the riots condemn Islam as a religion that must reform before a global disaster ensues.

    PS.You had me nodding in general agreement(maybe debating a point or two) until the last paragraph.That had me turning 180º and recheking the comment.It was that hatefull “everyone hates me, nothing is my fault, it’s all the jooz” look that I learned to hate.

  3. Louis

    September 26, 2006

    Post a Reply

    Nietzsche really was an ignorant asshole. His works have damned mankind to the chaos we’re facing today, by destroying our society, leaving it ripe for Nazi masters.

    “I beware of speaking of chemical “laws”: that savors of morality. It is far rather a question of the absolute establishment of power relationships: the stronger becomes master of the weaker, in so far as the latter cannot assert its degree of independence—here there is no mercy, no forbearance, even less a respect for “laws”! I say, break the law!” -Will to Power

    “Unpleasant, even dangerous, qualities can be found in every nation and every individual: it is cruel to demand that the Jew be an exception. In the Jew, these qualities may even be dangerous and revolting to an unusual degree; and perhaps the young smart Jew is altogether the most disgusting invention of mankind” -Human all too Human

  4. islam

    September 26, 2006

    Post a Reply

    to antongarou,

    concerning Nietzche,
    I make claims that Nietzche wallows in ignorance based on his views on God, women and jews. You, or rather I am out of luck citing passages, because the three books of his that i had (Beyond Good and evil, Ecce Homo, and thus spake Zarathustra) I threw in the dumpster many years ago.

    But I see that the third comment, from Louis, may provide you with some example.

    concerning “erudite”,
    That’s the least of my conern. But actually, to me, erudition does not simply mean being well-read. Erudition to me means a depth of understanding, and a breadth of knowledge, the kind that leads to wisdom. An erudite person, for example would at least bother to cite the name of his debaters. Not doing so, smacks of dishonesty, and shall we say, a little insecurity ?
    Perhaps Manuel II Paleologos, well familiar with Muslim scholarship, knew that if he gave away the name of his interlocutor, we’d be able to pick the debate apart based on the works of the unnamed persian. Whatever, that’s the least of our concern.

    concerning islam and intolerance:

    Today’s muslim societies are not turning their backs on learning. They’re being bullied for their very identity. An identity mind you that was the basis of the safe-haven jews enjoyed among us muslims for centuries. After centuries of colonialism, and scholarly and political disintegration, Muslim societies are reeling from poverty, slander, encroachment, arrested development, opportunism, reactionism and plain vanilla colonial aspirations. Today’s governments that run muslim societies are either reactionaries, or vassals of neoliberal geopolitics. They are neither “islamic” in the sense of being representativ, enlighted and moral, nor are they “modern” in the sense of actually having any sense of civic responsibility toward their subjects.

    It is not islam that is causing a global disaster today, but irrational attacks against it, like with Zinger, and your ideological friends the neo-cons, on the one hand, and equally irrational corruption and debasement of it, by the muslim militants.

    In the vein of Dostoevsky’s “The
    Damned”, I see those muslim militants as very much the product of the imperial system that bred them. And literally, bred them, they did – as when they were nurtured in order to fight off the soviets in the 80s.

    And no one i’m not whining “the jooz did it.” I do not conflate judaism and zionism. If to you, judaism and zionism are one and the same, that is your choice. I will continue to consider and address zionism and judaism as two separate cultural entities. My reference point in this is mainly jewish writers, ranging from Gold Tsehar to Uri Avnery, passing by Shahak, Chomsky and many others.

    If i sound to you like those of the camp of it’s-all-the-jooz’-fault, you sound to me like those of the camp of it’s-all-the-moozlimz’-fault.

    It is neither. Neither zionism represents judaism to me, nor does militant terrorism by muslims ( among many others) represent islam to me.

    I do not lament losing your sympathy by the last paragraph. Face it, as a Muslim, I never had your sympathy or agreement in the first place. 🙂

  5. AntonGarou

    September 27, 2006

    Post a Reply

    Thanks for the quotes louis.I appreciate having my knowledge extended.

    to islam:

    I did not claim anything about all of the muslim communities.I stated that a significant part of Islam(the extremists) turn their backs on learning, instead of embracing it.The most probable cause is that the clerics leading that part of Islam wish for ignorant population, because ignorant population is a population they can manipulate more easily.In their case manipulation often devolves into pointing fingers at the West and/or the Jews and saying “Blame Them!”.

    What was irrational about the Pope’s attack?He is a leader of one of the largest, if not *the largest*, sect of Christianity, and he said he thinks another religion is wrong- his right.Qaradawi(and Ahmandinejad) said much worse things about both Jews and the West(the words “pigs” and “apes” come to mind).

    I do not conflate Zionism and Judaism, thank you very much, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered to define myself as both in my comment.Also, your pretty direct equation of Zionism with terrorism disturbs me.Zionism is no more racist or militant then any othe national movement, A national movement(as I understand the word) is in effect a “national identity” and the recognition that your country/nation has the right, usually within certain limits, to consider its interests(and specificaly its existence) before those of other nations.Zionism is simply the Jewish national movement- I support peace, equality before the law(both for rights and duties) and two states(Jewish and Palestinian) living side by side in peace, I’m Zionist.Almost every Israeli Jewish politician, from Liberman(the most right wing nut to currently get into the Knesset) to Beilin(the most left wing guy who managed to do same) defines himself as a Zionist and a patriot- are you willing to tar *all of them with the same brush?I think Liberman may deserve it but Beilin sure doesn’t.

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