Thursday, September 21, 2006

Pope Benedict's Triple Play

Michael Novak has a great piece which I will not comment on, just excerpt:

He (the Pope)told Christians and other religious people that reason is indispensable for disciplining religious faith. As he put it in an earlier lecture, it is important for reason to take the toxicity out of religion.

He told secularists, who define reason solely as science and limit it to empirical knowledge, that their grasp of reason does them an injustice by its narrowness. This tunnel vision cuts them off from many forms of human understanding and insight. It also prevents them from having reasoned conversation with that vast majority of the world’s people who are religious.

Finally, practically as an aside — as if he had intended to make a double play, then saw an opportunity to make a third out — he also tried to save the honor of Islam as a religion that once had a high and civilizing tradition of reason (and in many quarters still does). He tried to do this by pointing out that those in Islam’s midst who are seen daily preaching and practicing violence are injuring the faith’s good name.


He wanted to remind Christians that the great civilizing strength of Christianity sprang from its marriage to Greek reason from the very beginning, as in the first words of the gospel of St. John: “In the beginning was the Word.” (In Greek, the term for ‘Word’ is the same as for ‘Reason’).

1 comment:

WhidbeyIslander said...

Ah, reason. In the words of Donne:

I, like an usurpt towne, to 'another due,
Labour to admit you, but Oh, to no end,
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.

Reason cannot be a god itself, but faith bereft of reason is less than God demands.