1. Are Muslims "acting in accordance with reason" in response to Pope Benedict's remarks?
The Muslim world is outraged by Pope Benedict's criticism of "violent conversion" and references to the siege of Constantinople. A lawmaker from the Turkish ruling party said Benedict's speech on the universality of reason "looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades" and that Benedict "is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini." Pakistan's parliament unanimously condemned the Pope and his remarks. In Srinagar, India, a group of Muslims burned an effigy of Benedict and shouted, "Those who dare to target Islam and the Prophet will be finished!"

"This is not an effective way to argue against someone who has questioned your religion's relationship to violence," notes Catholic blogger Amy Welborn.

"Honestly, the thin-skinnedness of many Muslims is getting awfully tiresome," agrees Rod Dreher at Beliefnet's Crunchy Con. "How on earth are we ever supposed to be able to have a dialogue if the non-Muslim side has to walk on eggshells to avoid offending the wounded sensibilities of Muslim leaders, who seem very eager to take gross offense at anything critical?"

Not that Benedict's point was to criticize Islam, says National Catholic Reporter's John Allen Jr. "He brought up the dialogue between Paleologus and the Persian to make a different point. Under the influence of its Greek heritage, he said, Christianity represents a decisive choice in favor of the rationality of God. While Muslims may stress God's majesty and absolute transcendence, Christians believe it would contradict God's nature to act irrationally. He argued that the Gospel of John spoke the last word on the biblical concept ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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