The Pope and his version of - ?God? and ?Islam?

From the start of the "pope saga" I have wanted to write about it, unfortunatley I have not had the time. But then I got hold of the following article by Dr Nasir Khan, which I am reproducing below. I dont agree with Dr Khan in everything he says,  but regarding the pope he does make a few excellent points!


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The Pope and his version of - ‘God’ and ‘Islam

Dr Nasir Khan

Pope Benedict XVI is the ruler of the Vatican City State and the spiritual head of more than one billion Christians across the world. What he says has an impact on political and religious thinking as well as on interfaith relations in the world. On 12 September, he delivered a well-prepared theological lecture before his home crowd of Bavarian academics and students in which he made a thinly veiled attack on the Prophet Muhammad and the notion of Holy War (Jihad). But instead of making a frontal attack on Islam, he used the derogatory remarks against Islam by a 14th century Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Paleologus, to convey his own message and thus to absolve himself of any responsibility for such remarks. Manuel II Paleologus had said: 

‘Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by sword the faith he preached.’  

Now, before I say anything whether such a remark has any basis in historical fact or is a mere crude misrepresentation of Islam, we should turn our attention to the method the Pope has used. It is common knowledge that whenever we use a quotation from other sources in our written or spoken words, we seek support for the particular point we may be making or we reject the view advanced by such a quotation by challenging it. To use a quotation in the former case does not need our comment; our using it evinces our – either direct or tacit -- approval.

 

It seems the Pope has used the emperor’s words in support of his own criticism of Islam and of his theological standpoint. It may be a clever device, but it was in reality an unhealthy and unfortunate thing for a number of reasons.  

First, Manuel’s formulation and accusation belongs to a particular era and historical setting in which the emperor was a direct participant in military and political struggle against the expanding Ottomans; however, his views on the Prophet and Islam have no relation to historical facts.  

Secondly, the Pope is an influential leader in world affairs and he has a moral and political responsibility to help reach out to other faiths, especially Islam, to promote better interfaith relations in a world where conflicts and violence seem to be increasing; gross violations of human rights are taking place, and we are living through a time when international law and the norms of civilised behaviour are being eroded and ignored by the powerful and mighty states.

 

Thirdly, behind the seemingly scholarly rhetoric lies the Pope’s theology according to which Christianity is compatible with rationality, thus negating a similar compatibility in the case of Islam. 

I do not intend to go into the details of such a theology, but such exclusivist views about the divine are excessively capricious and uncalled for in this century. His provocative and historically untenable remarks about Islamic teachings have led only to negative results; his ill-chosen words have inflamed the passions of Muslims throughout the world. In no way do I condone such violent responses, but at the same time we should be aware of the religious sensitivities of believers and not provoke them without good cause. We need to keep in mind that most believers, ‘the flock’, believe in a Divine Being and hold their holy books in high esteem. Indeed, they take their faiths seriously; they should not be assumed to be a gathering of philosophers, historians or doctors of theology capable of entering into dispassionate academic discussions. There are far too many people who are certain of their traditional beliefs and the authorities they rely upon. The British philosopher Bertrand Russell rightly says that the whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves but wiser people so full of doubts.  

The political objectives?

The Pope’s speech comes amidst the growing anarchy and destruction in Iraq. The American war of aggression against Iraq has not gone according to the wishes of the Bush Administration. As a result of the militaristic policies of America in Iraq and its so-called ‘war against terror’, there is growing anger and frustration throughout the Muslim world against the American wars and terrorist policies in the Middle East.  Some observers see the Pope adding his voice to throw his support in favour of President Bush and his allies in what they call ‘Islamic terror’ and portray Islam as a violent religion.  

Evidently much of the Islamic world is going through an extremely difficult phase at this stage. Two Muslim countries, Afghanistan and Iraq, have been invaded and occupied by the armies of the New Crusaders – Bush and Blair – and two puppet regimes have been installed in these countries to serve the imperial interests. Also among the Western allies is Pakistan, whose ruler General Musharraf has admitted that America had threatened to bomb Pakistan back into the Stone Age if he did not join the American ‘war against terror’. This he did. I addition to launching major military operations in the Frontier Province and Balochistan, Pakistan has rounded up any of its nationals who showed hostility towards American policies in the region. This has been carried out by the intelligence services of Pakistan in return for millions of American dollars and more than seven hundred such victims handed over to the CIA. Where and how are these prisoners being held or what has happened to them? The American government gives no information. Thus the crimes against humanity continue to mount and the only explanation is the flat statement that there is a ‘war against terror’.  

We all know that the Christian Right, especially evangelical and born-again Christians, are open supporters of the American invasion of Iraq, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and the systematic killings of Palestinians on a regular basis, not to mention the recent Israeli war against Lebanon.  

The Pope is a learned theologian. He certainly knows what is happening in the Muslim world at the hands of the Christian Powers. But instead of siding with the victims, he attacks them by distorting Islam and its Prophet as well as the true message of Jesus. This is quite a sharp reversal of the path pursued by his predecessor, John Paul II, who had stood for interfaith dialogue and called for respect for other religions. It is well known that as a cardinal in the Holy See, Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) was opposed to John Paul II’s pursuit of dialogue.  But the Vatican Council II (1962-65) had already taken some important decisions in the Catholic approach towards Islam and other religious traditions. To undermine these decisions of the Second Vatican Council by anyone, by whatever means, will constitute a leap in the wrong direction.  

Benedict has held Christianity to be the foundation of Europe and just a few months before he was elected, he had spoken out against the Muslim country, Turkey, joining the EU. He has argued that Christian Europe should be defended. Turkey should seek partners in Muslim countries, not in Christian Europe.   

Now, a brief comment on the charge against Muhammad and his so-called use of the sword to spread his faith. The Christian polemic against Islam is almost thirteen centuries old and Christian apologists have said and written much about it. To situate the whole discussion in a historical context, I did research for more than seven years on the topic. It has resulted in the publication of my book Perceptions of Islam in the Christendoms: A Historical Survey (Oslo: Solum Forlag, 2006). (The Norwegian Research Council had paid the cost of production to the publisher, and thus I have no financial interest in the sale of the book!) I have tried to show the problematic nature of such distorted views in detail, whereas Professor Oddbjørn Leirvik in his new book Islam og kristendom, Konflikt eller dialog? has given a brilliant account of the interaction between the two faiths and explored the possibilities of dialogue and cooperation, instead of confrontation, crude misrepresentations and mutual recriminations. I believe all those who are interested in historical facts will find these two books useful for study and reflection. 

The present attempt by the Pope to claim that ‘violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul’; in other words, that such a view of God cannot be extended to Islamic teachings because here ‘God is absolutely transcendent’. He is ‘not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality’. I find such a formulation and explication simply baffling. This reminds us of the Holosphyros Controversy during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus (r. 1143-80), where the official Melkite theologians had held that ‘the God of Muhammad was said to be holosphyros [made of solid metal beaten to a spherical shape] who neither begat nor was begotten’. If the Pope needed a good source for inspiration then he did chose the right epoch and the right mentors!

 

Finally, I would add only a short comment on the old Christian cliché that Muhammad stood for war and violence while Jesus stood for love and peace. There are many Christian believers who still believe this. There is no historical or scriptural evidence that Muhammad at any time in his life advocated war or encouraged his followers to spread Islam by means of the sword. But what did Jesus say?

 

‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. I came to set sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law; a man’s worst enemies will be the members of his own family’ (Matthew 34-36). 

I wonder if the Christian apologists by some strange mental confusion exchanged the roles of Muhammad and Jesus. But why do they still continue to ignore what the Bible says on the matter so clearly?  

At the same time, I want to emphasis that self-serving myths and dreams are not an alternative to historical facts. The question of forcible conversions in Islam is another big distortion because all the historical evidence points to the contrary. During the early period of Islamic Caliphate the Umayyad caliphs practically discouraged conversions to Islam. Far too many people had converted to Islam and that created administrative and financial problems for the State! In the Ottoman Empire, if any Muslim forced any Christian or Jew to convert to Islam, he was beheaded.  

10 Oct. 06

Dr Nasir Khan


Kommentarer:
Postet av: Martin

"There is no historical or scriptural evidence that Muhammad at any time in his life advocated war or encouraged his followers to spread Islam by means of the sword."..unnskyld meg, men har Nasir Khan lest koranen egentlig?At han prver fornekte dette er jo ingenting annet enn latterlig. Vel hadde Muhammed sine positive sider ogs,- det m ikke benektes..men han drepte da folk?...til motsetning ifra Jesus som hjalp dem, eller satte dem p plass. Men han brukte ALDRI vold, og flgende vers er handler faktisk om den ndelige kampen.:"'Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. I came to set sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law; a man's worst enemies will be the members of his own family' (Matthew 34-36)."kanskje herr Khan skulle konsulert en teolog?For det siste: Pavens konklusjon er vel at bde jder, muslimer og kristne m enes om at Gud er imot vold og drap?..en ganske s penbar konklusjon..vel ikke for islamister da men..

26.10.2006 @ 05:20
URL: http://www.martindrange.abcblogg.no
Postet av: Shoaib

Ikke for vre slem Martin, men jeg tror han har lest bde den og bibelen oftere enn deg. (han er noen og seksti, og har studert disse tekstene i flere r.)Han fornekter da absolutt ingenting, utkjempe krig er en ting, "st for krig og tvngskonvertering" noe helt annet. Jeg vil faktisk anbefale deg boken til Nasir Khan, du kan lese litt om den her:http://www.aftenposten.no/kul_und/litteratur/article1367170.ece

26.10.2006 @ 05:31
URL: http://islam.weblogg.no
Postet av: Martin

Beklager om jeg var litt kvass, ble bare sjokkert. Vi vet at det sitatet ifra Jesus ikke har noe med krig gjre..det har med kampen mellom det gode og det onde. Jeg har selv gjennomgtt en personlig erfaring som har ftt mg til forst svrt godt hva dette sitatet betyr..nr noen i en familie blir kristne, vil det mange ganger fre til at familien splittes..betydningen av sverdet Jesus snakker om er ndelig og det blir ofte brukt av prester og andre kristne i demonutdrivelser. Har lest linken..men jeg vil gjerne g videre p dette med Muhammed: stemmer det ikke at han oppfordret til krige med sverdet for islam?..stemmer det ikke ogs at han tok flere liv?

26.10.2006 @ 05:45
URL: http://www.martindrange.abcblogg.no
Postet av: Sexy Sadie

S hvor kommer Jihadd i fra da?

26.10.2006 @ 06:51
URL: http://sexysadie.norblogg.net
Postet av: Shoaib

Skrevet endel om Jihad en gang i tiden, du kan jo se over dette i frste omgang:http://www.aftenposten.no/meninger/kronikker/article1242661.ece

26.10.2006 @ 06:52
URL: http://islam.weblogg.no
Postet av: Shoaib

Martin, neida, tolket det som et engasjert innelgg, som de fleste fra deg jo er :)Men jeg skal svare utfyllende p det du spr om her, men det vil ta litt tid ... :)

26.10.2006 @ 06:54
URL: http://islam.weblogg.no
Postet av: Martin

Bra. Ser frem til det =)

26.10.2006 @ 07:15
URL: http://www.martindrange.abcblogg.no
Postet av: jihad warriors

Osama bin Laden, Abu Bakar Bashir in Indonesia, Shoaib, du skal ha honnr for din klare avstand til jihadistene.Omar Bakri and Abu Hamza in England, Mullah Krekar in Norway, and other radical Muslims around the world have been unanimous in declaring that they are not indiscriminate purveyors of mayhem — terrorists — but mujahedin: jihad warriors. They have declared again and again that they are fighting to unify the Islamic people under a restored caliphate, and to establish the hegemony of Islamic law over the reunified umma, as well as over the non-Muslim world. In doing this, they say, they are acting in complete accord with the commandments of their religion, which mandates warfare against non-Muslims in order to establish Islamic rule. And they have declared that in this struggle, the United States is their principal foe.

26.10.2006 @ 15:38
Postet av: Shoaib

Selv gruppen du nevner over her er s spred i sine synspunkter er at de knapt kan kalles allierte.

27.10.2006 @ 11:13
URL: http://islam.weblogg.no
Postet av: Shoaib

Jeg tar ikke avstand til jihadister igrunn, tar avstand fra det jeg IKKE oppfatter som jihad. Det er kanskje en intern muslimsk sak, men ved bruke slike betegnelser gir man disse terroristene en mye bredere stttefront enn de har. S jeg bruker aldri begreper som "jihadister" eler "islamister". Folk som bruker vold mot sivile er langt fra islam slik jeg ser det, og det er den eneste gruppen jeg helt klart tar avstand fra.

27.10.2006 @ 11:17
URL: http://islam.weblogg.no
Postet av: Sexy Sadie

USA er faktisk ikke den de br konsentrere seg om snn sett, i de neste rhundrer vil et aggresivt Kina bli noe USA/Europa og landene i midtsten ta stilling til samlet. :fagidiot:

27.10.2006 @ 17:19
URL: http://sexysadie.norblogg.net
Postet av: Shoaib

helt riktig sexy sadie, vi ser kina i afrika for tiden. Men sprsmlet er om Kina vil vre aggresiv p samme mte som USA, men et ideologisk tilsnitt, eller om det vil satse kun p det komersielle aspektet, slik de gjr n.

27.10.2006 @ 18:44
URL: http://islam.weblogg.no
Postet av: jihad warriors

Jeg tar ikke avstand til jihadister igrunn, tar avstand fra det jeg IKKE oppfatter som jihad.Hva faen er det for pisspreik.Sttter du udemoktatiske hodekakkere eller ikke ?

28.10.2006 @ 03:59
Postet av: jihad warriors

Sttter du udemokratiske hodekappere eller ikke ?

Postet av: jihad warriors

Har du konferert med forstander i Det Islamske Forbundet, Basim Ghozlan ?http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2370169What is striking about the members of the Mujahedon network, aside from their extremely young age and operational un-sophistication, is their unusual profile. All three seem to have backgrounds and interests that have little to do with those of an Islamic fundamentalist: they appear to be young men with a greater fascination for violence rather than for the ideology of committed jihadis. Ramic is a troubled teenager who lives with his parents and is a regular hashish consumer (Sydsvenskan, May 3). Ganjin is also known as a consumer and petty smuggler of soft drugs. Fahlen is the son of a wealthy Swedish family and, while acknowledging an interest in Islam, claims not to have converted. Despite these backgrounds, the three developed a sudden fascination with radical Islam and, almost immediately after, began to send threats online. Ramic posted a short clip on the internet in which he threatened Europe with attacks. Ganjin had sent a message to the media the day after the Iraqi polling station in Stockholm had been firebombed. He signed the message as Tanzim Qaeda't al-Jihad fi al-Soed, in a nave attempt to portray his amateurish actions as those of a Swedish branch of al-Qaeda.

Postet av: Shoaib

Pisspreik er det du som skriver er jeg redd ... jeg har sagt at jeg ikke sttter vold mot sivile ... hvem du kaller "udemokratiske hodekappere" er opp til deg. Men hvor blander du inn Basim Ghozlan oppi det hele?

28.10.2006 @ 05:03
URL: http://islam.weblogg.no
Postet av: Shoaib

Martin,Hvordan "vet" vi at dette sitatet ikke har noe med krig gjre? Sier ikke at det ndvendigvis har det, heller da ... men som ndelig legningsmiddel synes jeg sverdlignelser blir litt feil uansett ... maasse annet som passer mye bedre til lege .. Nr det gjelder profeten Muhammad (fvmh), Han oppfordret ikke til krig, men gav muslimer etterhvert tillatelse til forsvare seg. Forresten, vet du hvor lenge profetgjerningen til (min profet, din gud) Jesus (fvmh) varte? litt urelatert til det andre, men hper du vet.

28.10.2006 @ 05:08
URL: http://islam.weblogg.no
Postet av: Hassan al-Turabi

Dere er gode mennesker som forsvarer nedslakting av ikke troende .jihad warriors- Janjaweed -Arab militias Basim Ghozlan, forstander i Det Islamske Forbundet forsvarer selvmordsbombere dersom di de dreper er fiender.Ikke troende er fiender til de har konvertert.http://www.nettavisen.no/innenriks/article284196.eceKanskje en burde ha lagt fra seg "la oss trkke p andre for selv komme hyere opp"-tendensen p ungdomskolen. For det er klart at det er dette som er konsekvensen. Ghozlan kommer her med et politisk ukorrekt synspunkt, og gribbene hiver seg over ham for selv forfekte sine "bedre" og "mer opplyste", eller skal vi kalle det for "populre" synspunkter. Synspunkter som egentlig ikke har noe med det som blir sagt gjre

Postet av: Hassan al-Turabi

http://www.nettavisen.no/innenriks/article284196.ece- Skremmende- Jeg blir nesten litt skremt av hre dette, sier Petter Eide i Amnesty International Norge. Han mener Ghozlans uttalelser er helt uakseptable. - Det han forteller, er jo at han faktisk legitimerer drap, sier Eide til Kanal 24. N oppfordrer han muslimer i Norge til ta avstand fra uttalelsene. - Jeg hper veldig sterkt at det muslimske miljet i Oslo rydder opp i dette. Disse holdningene er helt fullstendig uakseptable, sier Eide. - Jeg syns det er underlig at han tr gjre dette i Norge, sier Midtsten-ekspert, Frida Nome. Hun tror ikke uttalelsene speiler meningene til en vanlig muslim. - Jeg tror ikke muslimer generelt vil sttte dette, sier Nome.

Postet av: video.google.com

Dr. Neal's Video Sermon 4 -- "Responding to Islamic Fundamentalism" Dr. Gregory S. Neal reflects upon the violence of Islamic extremism relative to Jesus' directives for his Disciples in Mark

Postet av: Shoaib

Bde eide og nome fikk jo medias forvrengte vesjon fremlagt. Jeg selv reagerte, men etter samtale med Ghozlan var det ikke s galt det ha sa alikevel.

29.10.2006 @ 07:40
URL: http://islam.weblogg.no
Postet av: Hassan al-Turabi

Ghozlan var det ikke s galt det ha sa alikevel.Man m leve etter koranen eller d ?Australias fremste imam, sjeik Taj Aldin al-Hilali, hster storm etter at han hevdet at lettkledde kvinner ber om bli voldtattHyllet selvmordsbombereMuslimske ledere har valgt godta hans unnskyldning og sier at de ikke vil gjre noe videre med saken.Al-Hilali er ansett som en av Australias verste muslimske ledere. Han har tidligere kommet med flere kontroversielle uttalelser. Imamen har blant annet mottatt sterk kritikk for hylle selvmordsbombere og tidligere uttalt at terrorangrepene mot USA 11. september 2001 var Guds verk mot undertrykkere.

Postet av: Shoaib

Hvor er det du fr dette fra?

29.10.2006 @ 14:15
URL: http://islam.weblogg.no
Postet av: Guds vesen, Paven og Islam

Den muslimske verdens sinne er i disse dager rettet mot Pave Benedikt, som under en tale p sitt gamle universitet i Regensburg kom med uttalelser som har blitt tolket som Islam-fiendtlige.Sinte muslimer demonstrerer. Og Pakistans nasjonalforsamling har enstemmig vedtatt at Paven m trekke uttalelsene tilbake. En talskvinne for den pakistanske regjeringen uttalte: "Alle som beskriver religionen Islam som intolerant, oppfordrer til vold".Hva var det s Pavens provokasjon bestod i? Jo, som del av innledningen til sin lrde forelesning om forholdet mellom religion og rasjonalitet, siterte han den byzantinske keiser Manuel II Paleologos, som i 1391 diskuterte forskjellene mellom kristendom og Islam med en lrd perser:"[Keiseren] snur seg bryskt mot sin samtalepartner om det sentrale sprsml om forholdet mellom religion og vold generelt, med disse ordene: "Vis meg hva det var Muhammed brakte som var nytt, og der vil du kun finne onde og umenneskelige ting, slik som hans befaling om spre troen han forkynte med sverdet". Keiseren fortsetter ved forklare i detalj hvorfor det spre troen gjennom vold er noe irrasjonelt." Dette bruker Benedikt s som springbrett for diskutere forholdet mellom religion og fornuft.Paven brukte alts et 600 r gammelt sitat som ett lite poeng i en lengre, grundig filosofisk-teologisk analyse. Han antyder ikke p noen mte at han sttter keiserens uttalelse, verken i innhold eller form. Tvert imot beskriver han keiseren som brysk. Likevel tar mange muslimer dette svrt ille opp. Hvorfor?En partitopp i den tyrkiske statsminister Erdogans parti er sitert p flgende: "Benedikt, opphavsmannen til s uheldige og frekke uttalelser, vil g inn i historien for sine ord (...) i samme kategori som ledere som Hitler og Mussolini." De muslimske reaksjonene, s fullstendig ute av rimelige proporsjoner, leder meg til postulere flgende forklarende faktorer:1. Vestlige mediefolk har gnidd seg i hendene, og med viten og vilje skapt en falsk konflikt ved spisse, fordreie, og feilsitere. Dagbladet, i en ellers sober reportasje, presterer tittelen "- Muhammed brakte bare ondskap" – fulgt av et stort bilde av paven.2. I medier i muslimske land har saken garantert vrt spisset til det ekstreme.3. Visse religise ledere har grepet begjrlig denne muligheten til framstille en ny kristen-muslimsk konflikt; det har passet deres agenda perfekt.4. Visse muslimer har ftt nring til sitt sinne, som allerede dels har blitt formet av faktorene over. Av de som n demonstrerer og antenner kirkebygg, er det nok knapt en eneste som har lest Benedikts tale.Men Pavens forelesning er rik p innsikt, og fortjener et nrmere studium. Ett av hans poeng er at det fruktbare mtet mellom gresk rasjonalitet og jdisk-kristen religion ikke bare var en gunstig historisk tilfeldighet, men villet av Gud – et ledd i Guds penbaring. Gud var heretter ikke bare verdens skaper, men fornuftens opphav. Flgelig kunne Johannes pne sitt evangelium slik: "I begynnelsen var Ordet" – Guds skapende Ord, logos – som p gresk betyr bde ord og fornuft.I Platons dialog Euthyphro presenteres det klassiske problemet om forholdet mellom Gud og det gode. Vil Gud det som er godt, eller er noe godt fordi Gud vil det? Det kristne svaret er begge deler. En handling er god bde p grunn av handlingens natur og fordi Gud vil det. Det gode ligger i Guds natur; og Hans vilje er rasjonell, ikke tilfeldig, fordi selve Hans natur er vre rasjonell. Dette siste er et hovedpoeng for keiser Manuel og for pave Benedikt.Hvis Gud derimot str fritt til ville det ene eller det andre, uavhengig av hva som er godt, m menneskene rette seg etter Guds vilje om han enn befaler omvendelse med sverd i hnd. Og kanskje kan han komme til ombestemme seg. Som Paven er inne p, er det flere kristne tradisjoner har hatt dette synet (skalt voluntarisme).Nr noe blir psttt om vr kristne Gud, kan kristne komme med rasjonelt funderte motforestillinger: Strider noe mot fornuften, er det virkelig ikke Guds vilje. Slik kunne kristne tilbakevise trosfrendenes pstand om at omvendelse ved sverdet var en framgangsmte Gud nsket. I klassisk kristendom oppvurderes fornuften, og Paven er blant dem som kjemper for vise at forholdet mellom tro og fornuft kan vre gjensidig berikende.Det er ingen tilfeldighet at Paven, den katolske kristenhets verste leder, holdt sin tale p et universitet. For det var kristendommen som skapte universitetene. Troen p at Gud i sitt vesen er rasjonell, og at vr fornuft er en om enn svak avglans av Guds fornuft, leder naturlig til et optimistisk syn p menneskelig erkjennelse: Gud har skapt verden, og vi kan forst den.


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