Papa’s In Trouble

“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 the sword the faith he preached…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…”

So said Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus in the 14th century. Based on the response to Papa’s comments, was the emperor right?

25 thoughts on “Papa’s In Trouble

  1. No – Benedict, No.

    Faith is born in the spirit, NOT, the soul.

    Flesh gives birth to flesh and Spirit gives birth to Spirit, John 3:6

    How can I take his comments on Islam seriously when he obviously can’t even express the basic tenants of his own faith properly?

  2. In fairness to Benedict, not all Christians see a clear distinction between soul and spirit. The is the long raging dichotomy, trichotomy, monochotomy, multi-chotomy, etc debate. Some Christians (not I) see the soul and spirit as synonymous terms. I think we need to exercise some grace on this point.

    However, the picture on this post says it all. The reaction of Muslims worldwide says it all. They have proved the Pope’s point.

  3. In fairness to all Christians – the Pope is not seen as just another believer, but by many as the Vicar of Christ, therefore his words carry a lot of weight, thus the controversy. He is the Pope after all. If he isn’t clear on these matters . . . But aside from the dispute over the distinction between soul and Spirit, Faith and Reason are hardly compatible elements in the Christian realm. Was the crucifixion of perfection in order to redeem a far from perfect people a “reasonable” act? How about Abraham being asked to kill Isaac? The beheading of Paul? The flogging and persecution of the Apostles? The persecution of the early church?

    Or if you want to go another route, how about the crusades? The inquisition perhaps? The pogroms? How about the history of the church in the Americas with the indigenous peoples?

    People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  4. Was the emperor right? Sure, he was right about a few Muslims. Have all 1 billion Muslims joined in misbehaving? No. So I reckon there’s no evidence at all that the emperor was right about the vast majority of Muslims.

    We Christians don’t wish to be judged by the Ku Klux Klan, I suspect that most Muslims don’t want to be judged based upon the actions of a minority who misbehave.

    This is not a defense of Islam in general or of Muhammad specifically, by the way. Just a reminder that we don’t judge an entire group by the behavior of a few.

    As I may have said before, I’ve friends who are missionaries in Muslim Morocco and they report finding much more common ground with the Muslims there than many Southern Baptists (for instance) here.

  5. There is a flaw in Islam. It is this. Salvation only comes from works. In my view, this is the reason that young men fly airplanes into buildings or blow themselves up at Bar Mitvahs. They know, because they are men, that the only sure way into heaven must be martyrdom because they are never going to subdue their evil impulses. It is despair of their sin and hope for their salvation that motivates them. That is also the reason that Muslims, without societal restraints, are quite open to the gospel. It is easy to characterize America and Christianity as the work of the devil when evaluated by the output of our culture, but less easy when confronted with the life, death and resurrection of Christ our Savior.

  6. Yes he was right.
    I can’t read this blog anymore b/c it’s the same old stuff from ange and dan. it’s so tedious.

  7. You beat me to it, Dan. Exactly. The actions of a few Muslims are not representative of over a billion of them as a group. These Muslims are no more representative of global Islam than James Dobson is representative of global Christianity.

  8. tedious ? Ooooooooooooo.

    I’ve been called worse.

    How ’bout you Dan?

    Yes it is my full intention to keep telling the truth and telling the truth and telling the truth and telling the truth …oops! There I go again . . .

  9. Because wherever untruths and misrepresentations are put forth, especially by those in the church, ange and I will be there.

    Team Tedium!

    With new Team Member: WJ!

  10. The reference to which the Pope was making is correct. The reaction more or less proves that to be so.

    It may have taken too long, but the bulks of Christians have rejected the KKK. Over time in the name of Christ much has been done which is wrong. After all we sin because we are sinners.

    I grow tried of the glass house analog, especially when it relates to sins which are generations old. We are all sinners, that is a fact. I will not surrender the idea that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light, because some Christians have done this or that bad act.

  11. Ahem – generations old?

    As in Priest pedophilia?
    How about Nazi colaboration?

    I’ll take tedium over denial any day.

  12. “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman”

    My missionary friends in Muslim Morocco would say that this statement is verifiably incorrect. My Baptist friends are surrounded by Muslims daily, they break bread together, argue and laugh and work together and those Muslims are not any more evil than anyone else.

    And the whole “inhuman” thing is just the blatant demonization tool that violence-supporters always use. If my enemy is less than human – a monster – then it’s all right to kill them, even their children! because they’ll only grow up to be monsters, too. And monsters ought to be killed, right?

    I reject this as the diabolical lie that it always is – whether spoken by a terrorist who’d want to kill The Great Satan or by a Pope who wants to kill the evil and inhuman and I’d call any who’d bear such false witness to repent and ask for forgiveness.

    It is neither a biblical nor christian statement spiritually speaking and not a logical statement, practically speaking.

    As the very noble Muslim community my friends find themselves amongst is testimony to.

  13. Scott said:

    “Over time in the name of Christ much has been done which is wrong. After all we sin because we are sinners.”

    AMEN! And I’d only ask you to show as much grace to Muslim sinners as you do to Christian ones.

  14. Ange and Dan,

    You guys are again, naive, to think Islam is a religion of peace. Ever wondered why the Middle East has no Christian presence? It is because Islam wiped it clean of Christianity and Judaism. Israel is the last piece of Judaism and Christianity is extremely marginalized. I don’t think American muscle flexing is the answer, but Islam inherently has some serious problems.

  15. Really? No Christian presence?
    I guess the Jordanian Christian woman who taught me how to roll stuffed grape leaves was an anomaly then – as well as the entire congregation her and her husband pastored. Not to mention the Coptic Christians of Egypt and the Assyrian Christians of Iraq. And I’m sure that the Christian populations of Lebanon and Syria are also happy to know they don’t exist.

  16. BTW – I don’t recall ever having said that Islam is a religion of peace. I really don’t care for Islam at all. I feel that its greatest error is that it seeks to return people to the religious bondage of following the law after Christ freed us from the law. Logically, it makes no sense. Under Judaism we were under the law, then with Christ we are freed from the law, then according to Islam, we are to return to the law.
    I don’t defend Islam, I defend any people group which I feel has been unfairly subject to sweeping negative generalizations. It really doesn’t matter to me if it is women, welfare recipients, African Americans, Arabs, Persians, the homeless or what have you. I am a human for humans being seen as and treated as such.

  17. What ange said. Just because we don’t want people demonizing Muslims doesn’t mean we embrace Islam. We’re Christians because we believe in Jesus.

    The same Jesus who would not want us to bear false witness, nor demonize the “enemy,” but rather find way to stand up to and stop the few who identify themselves as Muslims who behave badly without using the tools of evil to do so.

    Was Jesus naive, too?

  18. It isn’t demonizing Islam to tell the truth. Jesus use of the affectionate term “brood of vipers” was not demonizing the Sanhedrin. They had already done a pretty good job of that themselves, through their cooperation with The Enemy.

    Angie, I know you are exercised here, but to assert that your friend is an anomaly, in that tone, it to show that the exception proves the rule. Denver is full of Ethiopians who fled persecution from their Muslim neighbors. Darfur is filled with the corpses of others who would not convert. One anomaly does not dispute these facts or the fact of the shrinking Christian presence in all Muslim countries. We are not denying the existence of your friend and her wonderful church by pointing out that she is a forbidden minority in many countries in the Middle East and that conversaion to Christianity is punishable by death broadly in the same countries. Protect the innocent and the weak, of course. Use them to deny demographics. No.

  19. Seraph was the one who stated that there is no Christian presence in the Middle East. I take exception to that because I find it is a very common misconception. In the last census taken in Lebanon, the Christian population was nearly 45%. In Egypt it is estimated that between 6 and 10 percent of the population are Christian, depending on who takes the poll. In Syria 15% of the population is Christian. Also a little over 1% of Palestinians are Christians and there are 5,500 Christians living in Iraq. These numbers are nothing to sneeze at, and yes, I do have a serious problem with the denial of their presence and existence and with the mentality in this nation that automatically equates Arab with Muslim.

  20. Knowing Seraph the way I do, I think he was trying to make the point that not only was Christianity once the dominant religion of the middle East, the once Christian Eastern Byzantine Empire (which was not a part of the Crusades or the Inquisition, etc.) was crushed by Islam,(‘Turk’ey for example). The Christians that are left behind (yes Arabs, Palestinians, other Semites and Greeks)find themselves in a precarious situation precisely because of the domination and oppression of Islam. I acknowledge that the Palestinian Christians get it from both sides (from Israel and Islam).

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