Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Notable quotables

I was going to title this "Spinning the Globs" (anagram for blogs), but that seemed too blatant a rip-off of TSO's Spanning the Globe. (TSO also has the decency to let people speak for themselves, sans commentary. It is a decency of which I'm incapable.) So I don't know what to title it; I just know that the people quoted are smarter than the idiots in the preceding post. Again, just a sampling. I don't have time to find all the smart people.

The Tavernkeeper reminds us that the Catholic Encyclopedia reminds us of "Christendom's mortal foe." Which is what the Pope was reminding us of when he quoted Manuel II Paleologus, a 14th century Byzantine Roman Emperor: 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 the sword by the faith he preached. . . [Something's wrong there. I think either John or Paleo meant "to spread by the sword the faith" etc. Actually, now that I think about it, the first makes sense too.] As evidence that "Paleologus Knew A Thing or Two about Jihad", John slyly points to a picture of its more reasonable face. Pretty convincing.

From Chris at Papafamilias, while steering us to a Vatican photo archive: "L’Osservatore Romano, the official unofficially official newspaper of the Vatican...

"I mean if I cannot eat chocolate, is there anything to eat in life? Let me think about that a sec...No. Nope, I don't think so." - Pansy, at Two Sleepies. [Pregnant women always provide a welcome respite from the strife of the day.]

"When I enrolled Bridget in pre-school, the form asked 'Was your child born too soon? and if so, by how much?' I was so tempted to say 'about five years.' Sometimes rational thought prevails. And other times not, such as replying to Embot’s good grade in Latin with 'I’may osay easedplay.' - Ellyn vonHuben

ommymay, igpay atinlay asway myay avoritefay assclay in oolschay. itay amcay uchmay asiereay anthay anyay erothay assesclay. Imey uchsay aay erdnay. - Embot's response

I Went to a Theology Lecture, and a Fight Broke Out. Almost.

Fortunately for us, Kevin Jones was there. The Chancellor of Denver's Archdiocese gives a talk on

Christian-Muslim relations in the wake of 9/11...meant as a catechetical lecture for Catholics and not an interfaith dialogue...A large portion of Chancellor Maier's speech was a bloody litany of Islamic crimes committed against Christians in the past hundred years.

...An elderly man in his sixties or seventies started causing a ruckus:

"Now wait a sec, what is this 'Catholic-only' stuff? This exclusivity is part of what is plaguing the United States right now." He then received a one-woman ovation from the woman sitting next to him, apparently his wife....

Maier: "Sir, we're not going to get into an argument."

Old Man: "well then put away this.... islamo, -o, -phobia."

Maier: "We cannot, the way you define it. We can't put it away, because that's part of the honesty of the argument."

Old Man: "You, you arrogant bastard!"

At this point a somewhat younger man between middle-age and elderly started making his way towards this man from the back in a retaliatory mood. Notably, he was not a security guard. One of the younger fellows, a husky twentysomething man, tried to keep the peace by blocking his advance. (I later learned he was expecting me and a friend, seated in the back row, to jump in and help form a blockade. Sorry!)

Situation Escalator Man to Peacekeeper: "Get out of my way I'm going to throw out his fat ass--

Old Man: "you hit me and I'll have the cops on you--

Situation Escalator Man: "Get out of my way."

Chancellor Maier, recognizing a ruined evening, decided to close up the meeting and started saying the Our Father, which calmed things down.

From a frankly hysterical post at Philokalia Republic.

If this wasn't an error, I hope there will be an editorial calling on Muslim leaders to offer "deep and persuasive" apologies for the violence and anti-Semitic speech constantly practiced in the Islamic world. - TSO, appealing to the NYTimes' sense of fair play. They have yet to respond.

Fundamentally, a religion that expanded through conquest had less need to reconcile the heritage of Athens with revelation, as there was no need for persuasion and thus no audience deeply committed to the heritage of Athens to be convinced in the first place. But in the Christian tradition once the link was definitively made between the pursuits of reason and the Word of God, a certain degree of inquiry itself became a religious calling. Thus what became commonplace and normative in Christianity was an outlier or a flash in the pan in Islam. Against this Muslims may riot all they like, but it is the legacy of their religion and their history. - Daniel Larison at Eunomia

There is no god named Allah, and Muhammed is not his prophet - (a commenter's byline at Free Republic)

In March of 1565, a fleet of nearly 200 vessels, bearing some 40,000 soldiers (including 6,500 elite shock troops known as the Janissaries), assembled in the Golden Horn for the Sultan's inspection. Dragut made two astute recommendations: move against the isle early in the season, and detach a significant flotilla to menace the Spanish mainland, thereby preventing aid from the Emperor. Once the invasion began, the more confident among the Sultan's advisers anticipated the victory to come -- in a matter of days.

The victory never came. Across Europe news of the bravery of Knights -- outnumbered five to one or more -- rang like a great tocsin. All throughout that brutal summer on the sun-baked isle, the Turks had been repulsed, time after time, in their attempts to take the Christian fortresses of Malta. One such fortress had been reduced to rubble by Turkish artillery, and its garrison (almost every one of them already dead) desecrated by enraged Turks; but the other had held. Casualties among the Sultan's army had been terrible, and disease ran rampant. The stiffness of the resistance, added to the depredations of pestilence and heatstroke, had won for Western Christians their first great victory over the Turk. La Valette's final address to his men has come down to us:

A formidable army composed of audacious barbarians is descending on this island. These persons, my brothers, are the enemies of Jesus Christ. Today it is a question of the defense of our faith -- as to whether the Gospels are to be superseded by the Koran. God on this occasion demands of us our lives, already vowed to his service. Happy will be those who first consummate this sacrifice.

The date of this victory has for us a certain resonance: it was September 11, 1565. - Paul Cella

With an election approaching, the usual round of "pick the lesser of two evils, if you don't you are yourself doing evil" arguments are starting up again. What I generally do on election day - and will continue to do unless by voting I can actually choose something good - is spend an hour praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. - Zippy

[This is just another form of voting. The problem is that his candidate's campaign slogan - "My kingdom is not of this world" - doesn't resonate.]

The Problem of Evil is a-rational emotion masquerading as reason. - Zippy [I think he's emotionally biased against evil, but that there's probably a good reason for it.]

Close the mosques. You read me right: close the mosques. The public worship of Islam has no place in a Christian nation, and the United States, though backslidden almost to the point of no return, is still arguably a (prodigal) Christian nation. - Jeff Culbreath, at Zippy's, and who may be the latter's stealth candidate for president. Problem is, that "Christian nation" stuff doesn't resonate either. As evidence:

While you are busy closing the mosques, will you also be closing the synagogues, which are every bit as non-Christian? - commenter Rob

Personally, that wouldn't be on the table as policy for me until Jews started crashing airplanes into skyscrapers. - Zippy, defending his candidate

Now, I am convinced that someday, after I am gone and the reigns of State are passed on to someone else, people will sit around on a special day called "Erik Was Right Day" and share stories of how they once doubted me, but then it turned out that they should have agreed with me...And of course there will be this one:

"Remember when Erik said that within our lifetimes Mohammedanism would cease to be a major religion? That it would be reduced to a quaint cult in the mountains with about as much relevance to the world stage as Zoroastrianism? Once again, Erik was Right!" - Erik Keilholtz - [Whaddya think, Zip? Erik for vice-president?]

Let’s make no bones about it. Both the original quote from the 14th century emperor, and the pope’s non-critical quotation of it, are grave insults to Islam, and in today’s world it’s hard to imagine a leader standing by such an insult. But if the pope breaks all expectations and does stand by it, if he does, then the forbidden truth about Islam will have become speakable, and the whole West-Islam relationship will have shifted in the direction of a re-awakened West prepared to draw lines and defend itself...Pray that the pope doesn't turn out to be another Lawrence Summers. Pray that the Vatican keeps issuing meaningless non-apology apologies. - Lawrence Auster

Maybe the Pope is the moral winner for those who are able to read, but on the other hand, did he have much choice but to apologize for something he never said? After all, there was the threat of brutal violence, or rather, it had already started with attacks against churches in the Middle East, some of them not even Roman Catholic! ...But that he saw no other option than to express regret over the fact that he had caused such anger in the Muslim world also says something about the weakness – unwillingness or incapacity? – of the political West to force the Islamic world to reason...The fact is that today large parts of the Islamic world apparently do not need reason to mobilize against the Christian world, and incorrect reports can spread through the region at lightning speed while religious or political leaders do nothing to calm down people or bring them to reason. On the contrary, they add fuel to the fire and try to beat each other in making yet bolder statements. Quite some moral and intellectual bankruptcy, and how convincing as the ultimate proof that Islam is all about peace and love. - Filip van Laenen

And even where one could see Divine Providence, in the form of our pastor giving a couple sermons mentioning that God will take care of us even in job loss, R. says: "what does he know of job loss! If you haven’t experienced it you can’t comment on it." And thus goes the way of all flesh: the notion that wisdom adheres only to the experienced, not to the innocent. - TSO


Iosue Andreas said...

"There is no god named Allah..."

He should tell that to Arabic speaking Christians.

William Luse said...

Are you just pretending not to get his point? By leaving off the second half of the fellow's assertion, you get a big slap on the back for being technically correct. But if you leave it on (which provides the only reason for my posting it in the first place), he is correct, unless you wish to claim that the Allah to whom those Christians pray - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - is the same Allah to whom the Muslims pray. Is that what you wish to claim?

Iosue Andreas said...

Other than my minor objection, which probably seemed cocky, as Internet exchanges are prone to seem due the lack of subtlety that exists in normal spoken and written communication, I found your post excellent.

But the first half of that fellow's assertion is atheistic (There is no god named God), and thereby renders the second half absurd. [Of course, it goes without saying that Mohammed was no prophet.] "Allah" and "Elohim" (the "el" in my son Joel's name) have the same Semitic origin. "Allah" is simply the Arabic term for "God," Who revealed Himself to Abraham. The term is even used by the Pentecostal Assemblies of God in Indonesia and Malaysia. If anyone weren't to half-step it would be them.

Muslims pray to the Creator, as do the Jews, but their theology is twisted and incomplete. In that sense alone do I claim that Muslims, Jews, and even Mormons and Unitarians pray to the same God that we Christians do.

William Luse said...

I'll clean the fellow's grammar up for you: There is no god named Allah, for whom Mohammed was the prophet.

In that sense alone do I claim that Muslims, Jews, etc...

See, I don't like lumping the Jews in with Muslims, because the Jews were beneficiaries of a genuine revelation. The "creator" they pray to actually exists. In not accepting the Messiah, their theology is 'incomplete', whereas the Muslim theology is simply false, having originated in one man's fevered brain.

I don't know much about Unitarians; what I've heard sounds more like a monistic philosophy than a religion. Ditto with Mormonism. I had a Mormon student once, missionary in status, who, when asked, could not explain to me their stance on the Trinity or the nature of Christ. So I don't know what exactly he worshipped.

TS said...

having originated in one man's fevered brain

Or having orginated from the visitation of a demonic spirit.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Or having orginated from the visitation of a demonic spirit.

Yes, I've often wondered if Mohammed wasn't being completely honest about his revelation. If my pet theory that Protestantism arises as much from Islam as from Catholicism is true, and further that modern secularism arose from Protestantism is also true, then history really is, very concretely, a tale of Heaven battling against Hell.

William Luse said...

I ain't historian enough to say, especially about Protism coming from Islam, which is a new one on me, though if you think you can make the case I'd like to hear it.

A man can be honest and wrong at the same time (theoretically). Others, like Swedenborg and Joseph Smith, were apparent visionaries who sincerely believed the message conveyed; we might doubt the rigor with which they questioned the source.

TS said...

Heard on Catholic radio that Mohammed wasn't sure his revelation was completely kosher and so he asked a priest - heretical? - and the priest assured him it was not from the evil one. Bad move.

William Luse said...

Maybe he was a pre-modern modern priest, careful at all cost to avoid giving offense.