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    Friday, November 24, 2006

    Things to talk about. I hope the Pope lives through it.


    Turkey's top Muslim official said on Thursday Pope Benedict should state clearly during a planned visit to Turkey next week he believes Islam, like Christianity, to be a religion of peace.

    link

    "I think the attitude the Pope should take is that neither Islam nor Christianity is a source of violence," said Ali Bardakoglu, who heads Ankara's Directorate General for Religious Affairs which controls Turkish imams and writes their sermons.

    "If they ask me if Christianity has been the cause of violence, I would say no, that is not so ... We believe all prophets sent by God, from Moses to Jesus and Mohammad, are messengers of compassion," he told Reuters in an interview.

    Violence committed in the name of religion was the fault of fallible and misguided human beings, he said.

    He said he would be happy to explain to the Pope the "unbreakable" link between reason and faith in Islam, citing the historic achievements of Islamic science and learning.

    The Pope is due to hold talks during his visit with the Istanbul-based spiritual head of the world's 250 million Orthodox Christians, Patriarch Bartholomew, who has complained of property and other restrictions his church faces in Turkey.

    Bardakoglu defended Turkey's treatment of its tiny Christian community and of other religious minorities. "If the Pope says Christians in Turkey are mistreated, I will tell him that he has been seriously misinformed," he said.

    I didn't know that this guy, Ali Bardakoglu, controls Turkish imams
    and writes their sermons. That's an odd arrangement coming from a government
    office. Well, to the European mind at least.

    I wonder if the Pope will believe him regarding mistreatment over the word
    of the Orthodox Patriarch?

    Ali also seems to have missed the point if he believes that the "historic
    achievements of Islamic science and learning" is what the Pope was talking about
    regarding Faith and Reason.

    As we know, the Pope was talking about whether reason applies to God.

    We Christians say yes. That reason and faith are compatible, and the God is
    reasonable in His will.

    They say no. That God is above reason, not bound by it in His actions or
    promises. In other words God is chaotic and unreasonable. It seems to me that
    would make God the source of chaos. Whereas we Christians identify another
    individual, usually portrayed with horns and pitchfork, as the author of chaos.

    The Pope certainly has his work cut out for him.

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