Friday, December 01, 2006

Pope Prays in Mosque

Some analysts are beginning to argue that the threat Benedict opposes is more modern secularism than Islam. That is, Benedict opposes a society with no religious faith at all, no sense of the transcendent, the holy, more even than a society with a very different religious faith and law, if that society still has a profound sense of the holy and the transcendent. (Recall that much of Benedict’s September 12 Regensburg talk was a call to the secularized West to return to a religious faith and a conception of the transcendent that it has abandoned over the past two or three centuries.)

"Benedict opposes secularism because it is both absolute and arbitrary," Philip Blond of St. Martin’s College, Lancaster, England, wrote recently. "Thus does the pope attribute the failure of Europe's common political project to the growing secularization of European culture... Thus Benedict's true purpose in Turkey is that of uniting all the monotheistic faiths against a militant and self-consciously destructive secular culture... Far from being anti-Muslim, the pope views Islam as a key cultural ally against the enlightenment liberalism that for him corrodes the moral core of Western society."
This shouldn't be too surprising: Catholicism and Islam (as well as most big traditional religions out there) have a natural law morality that is fairly uniform, and sharply contrasts with the present Western culture and legal systems.

Liberal secularism became popular in Europe after the wars of the Reformation. But the bloodshed perpetrated by secularists in the past two centuries has far exceeded the carnage of even the worst religious wars.

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