"What hit the United States on 9/11 was not a "tragedy," despite the ubiquitous and virtually universal misuse of that word in the tenth anniversary commentary. What hit New York and Washington was evil unleashed from within an intra-Islamic civil war that had been going on for decades. And at the center of that civil war is a contest over whether Islam can embrace such modern political ideas as inalienable human rights (that can be known by reason, and thus by everyone) and the separation of powers within governments.This week I had an interesting experience, flying to another diocese to take part in making a DVD presentation about Scripture, same sex partnerships, and our church. In all these discussions about religion and modern life, a common theme is the nature of our embrace as believers with the realities of life today, with an eye on yesterday and tomorrow.
If the answer to that question is "No," then the cycle of war between Islam and "the rest" that has ebbed and flowed since the 7th century will continue. If the answer is "yes," then that answer will have to come from within Islam, not by a process in which Islamic societies radically secularize. Pope Benedict XVI was insightful enough, and courageous enough, to say this at Regensburg. It's about time the world paid attention."
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Reflections on two anniversaries
George Weigel, a Catholic theologian specialising in ethics and public policy, is about to hit the shores of NZ in a series of speaking engagements. Recently he gave a talk on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 which happens to be the fifth anniversary since Pope Benedict XVI gave a profound lecture at Regensburg which also generated a spot of controversy (or should that be a "spat of controversy"?). Weigel reflects on that lecture here. An excerpt of which is this: