Here is an interesting twist on the old proverb, “There’s two sides to every story.” As a son of the South, I am somewhat sensitive to the fact that stories can differ significantly by who tells them. However, I find the following statements absolutely incredible:
As both of these churches [Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox] detected a threat to their sustainability as powerful temporal as well as secular institutions, with the rapid (voluntary) spread of Islam, because the latter did not approve of an institutionalized priesthood of any order…, both of these institutions immediately sought to arrange political alliances with the monarchs and grand noble orders that prevailed in Europe then, which still was religiously considered “heathen” by these churches. The bargain that was achieved thus was as follows: the churches would give these despots “heavenly titles” to their thrones and the latter would impose Christianity “by the sword” in both of their manifestations then in their areas of jurisdictions, and the Church would give blessings to the harsh feudal order that kept Europe in the dark for centuries to come until even good Christians saw the mischief in this and decided on a Protestant revolt and eventually the Renaissance.
Now, perspectives aside, the Protestant Reformation followed the Renaissance. I know this to be true because I checked the generally accepted dates for both, and also because the Renaissance lays the cultural and intellectual groundwork for the Reformation. In other words, one follows the other logically, and it’s directly opposite from this gentleman’s opinion on the subject. Let’s continue:
Throughout the history of the Moslem Empires that prevailed since the death of the Prophet Mohammed (peace of Allah be upon him), Moslem rulers pretty much stuck to the Qurâ€™anic dictate “there is no compulsion in religion”.[sic] Needless to say the Holy Book of Allah insists that even differences in religious views are to be “discussed” peacefully with non-Moslems with the idea that people should be led by reason and logical deduction to accept Islamic doctrine.
(Read the whole article: Pope Benedict XVIâ€™s folly: A new crusade or facing the baptist challenge – Yemen Times)
This view is a single anecdote, and perhaps this gentleman is simply ignorant of history. I have seen many people who unconsciously twist history to support their religious beliefs, and I’m sure I’ve been among them. However, what if this view is not anecdotal but pervasive? Here’s the money quote: “Surely, Pope Benedict the XVI was not oblivious to these historical facts and surely, he is even more insulting when he attributes Moslem anger at his ‘academic’ comments in his homeland, of all places, to ‘misunderstanding’ of his intents.”
I will not assume that my readership knows what the pope’s comments actually were. I recommend that you read the whole speech (also available in PDF), or at least DrBacchus’ summary. Clearly this gentleman has not.
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