Tuesday, September 19, 2006

As Insubstantial As A Dream

I had to drop in for just a few minutes and talk about this whole dust-up with the Pope, seeing how it's all over the news still. I have to admit that I don't understand what the big deal is exactly. Benedict is a firm believer in a strict constructionist view of Vatican 2; which means he clearly believe Islam to be an inferior religion to Christianity. I would wager that most of the 80% of Americans who are Christian feel the same way. There is an enormous amount of ignorance in the Western world about Islam, and it's been an especially virulent ignorance since 9/11. This whole situation seems to me another symptom of that ignorance, agitated by a man who clearly ought to know better diplomacy than to quote a 14th century ideologue's insult of Islam. If anyone should know that the eyes of the world are upon them, it's the Pope.

Personally, I find it hard to fathom a much less substantial argument than one that centers around whose faith is superior. As an atheist, it seems to me the most pointless debate possible; the nature of the unknowable. How many angels are dancing on the head of this pin, and which magic man holds it in his hand, the Jew or the Arab? As if world events should truly turn on such questions...

Further, all the phony outrage on both sides is ridiculous. What do Muslims care what the Pope says? And why does the Western world care so much about what offends a tiny fringe group of Muslims? The "clash of civilizations" is nothing but a weird pantomime; pretend slights and feigned offense. It's really quite strange...

[I will be back to regular posting soon, assuming my career doesn't kill me. - S. Sam]

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