Eclipse of Reason
When former Senator Rick Santorum, a faithful Catholic who appears to be preparing to run for president, made some comments recently in a speech in South Carolina, they were taken out of context in an article by Andy Barr at Politico. While Santorum’s remarks about historical revisionism of the Crusades were highlighted, Politico left out clarifying remarks which express Santorum’s views, albeit in a simple analogy, on what Christians should be doing to counter Islamic jihad. It should be noted that these remarks are in keeping with the advice of the Vatican for Christians faced with Islamic aggression.
‘From my perspective, I run a Christian school that has a liberal arts-focused education,’ said Oakbrook Headmaster Adair Hinds. ‘The students we had here … We’re trying to make them think. Having somebody make strong statements and take a stance, whether our students believe it or not or agree with it or not is not my concern. My concern is that our students are listening to what people say, listening to their opinions, and running it through their own mind, and basing their decisions on integrity.’
In other words, Santorum endorses the free exchange of ideas in an environment that is not hostile to dissent. This is an important point that was missed, probably because the leftist media really has no earthly idea what we are dealing with in the Islamic version of fundamentalism, not to mention ignorance of both history and the Vatican‘s official position on these matters.
There is talk of “Crusades” in the air, as of late. We see hype in leftist political media, warnings in anti-Catholic Christian media, and Islamopologetics about the historic Crusades in leftist Catholic media. Considering the reality of continuous Christian slaughter in the Muslim world by Islamists who kill even for what they define as blasphemy, it’s time to set the record straight.
There will be no ‘Crusades’ ordered by the Pope. Anyone who believes otherwise is delusional. It’s important to understand why this is so, in order to put this talk to rest, so that we can understand the reasonable way to ‘fight’ Islamic jihad.
On the Crusades, Santorum’s main point was that they were defensive wars, which is true. Further, the history of mankind has been a very long journey of coming to a fuller understanding of what human rights are. The idea of human rights began with the Creation story in Judaism and has progressed over time. It is the Judeo-Christian ethic upon which all human rights have their foundation through the course of history. History shows mankind evolving in his coming to a fuller knowledge about human rights gradually over time, beginning from the basic due process that God offered Adam and Eve in the Garden.
The fact of the matter is that the world was once a place where few human rights were recognized. It is not reasonable, then, for us to apply our understanding of human rights to the people of the Medieval Age.
What we can do is look at the core teachings of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and see what they are. Forced conversions have never been a part of the teachings of Judaism and Christianity, no matter what any of their members may have done as a result of their fallen nature and ignorance. For this reason, we can be sure that nothing like the popular understanding of the “Crusades” (as “Christian conquest” carried out by the Catholic Church) ever really did happen because the lens the vast majority of us are looking through distorts the picture.
If Andy Barr of Politico paid attention to the Vatican as much as I expect Santorum does, he might have been able to sort out what Santorum was attempting to present despite Santorum’s fumbling a bit over the issue. The actual plan of the Vatican is in keeping with what Santorum stated in regard to his Christian school. In order to ‘combat’ Islamic jihad, we must all commit to using our gift of reason in a manner that respects basic human dignity. In other words, we must commit to debating our disagreements in an atmosphere that is devoid of hostility. It should be called a “Crusade of Words” as it is limited to the arena of ideas. This is what Pope Benedict XVI has continually spoken out for during these troubling times by encouraging countries around the world — particularly Iraq, Egypt and Pakistan — to please respect religious freedom and provide security for religious minorities.
In a controversial speech delivered at Regensburg in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI pointed out that Christian theology requires the use of reason whereas Islamic theology rejects reason. In his 2010 “state of the union address” to the Catholic Cardinals, Pope Benedict warned of an ‘eclipse of reason‘ that is advancing now in the world. Though human beings in diverse cultures may disagree on many things, one thing is certain: if we lose our ability to reason with each other in a manner that respects human dignity — which, at minimum, includes our commitment not to kill each other because we disagree — then we will not prevail against the Islamists who have rejected both human dignity and the importance of reason in debates about that dignity.
This is the only ‘crusade’ that you will see promoted by the Vatican — a ‘Crusade of Words’ that acknowledges the basics of the dignity of the human person. In lands where Christians are being brutalized, you can be sure that they will ask for their religious freedom wherever there is hope in attaining it. Otherwise, they will flee, as in Libya, or die as so many are dying now in Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan and elsewhere in the Muslim world.
I am a contributor at NewsReal Blog and I disagree with some of my compatriots there on many issues. Many of these issues are serious issues that have to do with human dignity. One thing is certain, though. If you ask anyone at NewsReal Blog if the use of reason is important in order to defend basic human dignity — though we may define human dignity differently — I am certain that they will all answer in the affirmative. This is a ‘crusade’, of sorts, and we continually call on others to join us. We must arm ourselves not with violence but with reason and with true tolerance in the arena of ideas. Otherwise, the Islamists win.
It really is that simple.