20.9.06

Benedict XVI and the disrepute of Reason: A follow up with readers comments

I had some comments on my post on 'Benedict XVI and the disrepute of Reason'

I thought it is worth mentioning these comments because those who read the entire post were courageous.

Issam, a regular commentator, complains about the lenght (he is everywhere on the blogosphere as a commentator) but gets the point:
''Pope Benedict's speech has more to do with his conservative Catholic beliefs and his connection to Opus Dei than bad timing or choice of quotes on Islam.''

ma2 : ''Long post, short meaning''

Behemoth101 wrote, with his colourful French, that the Pope's remarks were a gaffe.
"Le pape a fait un veritable gaffe qui resonnera pour toujours - les apologistes et les sycophantes neo-connards auraient dû remarquer: "A bon vin, point d'enseigne."

Anonymous complained about the violence of the Muslim reactions everytime the prophet is offended. Well, while I agree that this violence is to be condemned I may explain this in another lenghty and byzantine post but not very soon, I have other duties waiting for me.

L.M. sent a lenghty comment amplifying the meaning of the post:
''I just finished a second reading of your essay. I admit that the word 'sophistry' initially came to mind when I read the full text of the Pope's remarks, but my lazy-ass glib intellect will defer to you and your use of Byzantine. It's much more apt. I also read a Stratfor Intelligence report today that attempted to parse the geopolitical intentions behind the Papal words. They made the claim that his speech was thoughtful, and yes I believe he's a strategic thinker, but it's a description that doesn't really cover his disingenuousness (weasel words and weasel quotes.)

He disguised this intentionally confusing speech as a scholarly exercise and that's to be expected from his arrogant position on matters of faith. I appreciated your very necessary preamble on faith and rationality. I'm not in the habit of thinking in the terms that you use, but you wrote with clarity when you connected the best aims of faith with the best aims of secular and enlightenment values.

A while ago, on some other site, I can't remember where, I copied this lovely quote (and can't attribute it to it's author)"...All faith is therefore something that intelligent people choose to tolerate. Why do we choose to tolerate it? Because we're introspective enough to recognize our own shortcomings, and would ultimately hope for the same level of tolerance from our own intellectual betters. Tolerance, therefore, is like mercy: A blessing on both the tolerant and the tolerated, but ultimately a matter of judgement." (well I know for sure that the pope didn't say this) ''

And finally, answering L.M.'s comments I added:
''I am glad someone appreciated the lenght of my article on the Pope. The preamble was exactly there to remind everybody that when the Pope talks about Reason, he is not giving the word the same meaning as that carried by the values of the Enlightenment. I thought that the preamble was necessary because it shows the Pope's sophistry as you rightly say. I think also that Philosophy in general, academic philosophy I would say, is responsible for this confusion in the two meanings of reason because it never wanted to give up on the first meaning: reason as a pure logical coherence. This is why I cited Mario Bunge in the 'references and readings'. His book is a brilliant defense of this distinction. I could have led a charge on Philosophy but this was not the place to do it.

However this Pope proclaims that he is a philosopher and I think this is dangerous because not only he seems to be close to the worst traditions in philosophy, Sophistry, pure reason and Hermeneutics but he is far away from what is in my opinion the only justification of Faith and Religion and which was well represented by John Paul II, deep Human emotions like Hope and Love. The best essay I read on this Pope and the recent controversy is that of Madeleine Bunting. It is in my links at the end.''

And the controversy continues...

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Since March 29th 2006