18 September 2006
Am I the only one who's crazy...
The Pope, not on my favorite people list (regardless of who is sitting under the miter), makes some intellectual comments about a 14th century exchange between a Christian leader and an Islamic leader. A dialogue which seemed civil enough at the time. As soon as the words leave his mouth, the Islamic "street" erupts into chants of "the Pope must die" and other such nonsense.
Is it my imagination or has all of Islam been taking crazy pills for the past millennia and a half? Since their inception in the seventh century, a once rising Mideast culture has steadily fallen further and further behind. A lot of this is directly due to the restrictive (read oppressive) nature of the dominant religion. If you have the good fortune to tour any of the great national museums of that region of the world, you will note a marked change after the integration of Islam in that region. Styles of dress became more subdued, trade reduced and in general nations once on the upward path atrophied and began to fail.
Clearly, not all of this resulted from some sort of religious funk, climate and other global factors arose to stymie the growth of countries like Persia (Iran). However, in this modern age the fact that one would greet the words of the Pontiff with violence (slaying an Italian nun - for Chrissakes!), is only to further demonstrate just how little understanding the West has for Islam.
Why aren't Muslim folks in the United States flying into apocalyptic rages? They are better off, better integrated and hopefully have enough sense to note when reason leaves the room and zealotry arrives, clothed in fire and blood.
I am not a religious man, unless you count science as my religion. And yet I have enough Biblical knowledge to recall that the New Testament advocates that one should turn the other cheek in the face of criticism or assault. I also recall from the Church of the Playground that "sticks and stones may break my bones but word will never hurt me", is there an equivalent teaching in the Holy Koran? As much as I would like to believe that Islam is at its heart a religion of peace and tolerance, actions by its adherents would indicate otherwise.