Sunday, March 30, 2008

Faith, Reason, and Jihadism

Kathryn Jean Lopez has an interesting interview with George Weigel on the occasion of the conversion and public baptism in Rome of former Muslim, Magdi Allam. (“Allam & Allah/A war of ideas.”). Weigel is the writer of, among other things, a biography of Pope John Paul II. His most recent book is Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism: A Call to Action.

Here are some highlights from Lopez’s interview with Weigel:

Lopez: Who, among Muslims, should be held up as to encourage those who want to fight jihadism?

Weigel: The kind of Muslims who will be our most effective allies in the war against jihadism are those Muslims who want to make an Islamic case for tolerance, civility, and pluralism. The temptation to think that the answer to the problem of jihadism is the conversion of 1.2 billion Muslims to Western liberal secularism ought to be stoutly resisted as the ivy-league fantasy it is. The question is whether, and how, Islam can effect what Christian theology would call a “development of doctrine” on issues like religious freedom and the separation of religious and political authority in a just state. A lot of 21st-century history is riding on the answer to that question….

Lopez: Has Pope Benedict been an important voice in this war? Is he being listened to?

Weigel: I think Benedict’s Regensburg lecture of September 2006 was the most important papal statement on a public question of global consequence since John Paul II’s 1995 U.N. address in defense of the universality of human rights. As I put it in my small book, Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism, the Regensburg Lecture identified the linked problems at the center of a lot of turbulence in world politics today: the detachment of faith from reason (as in jihadism) and the loss of faith in reason (as in much of western Europe and too much of American high culture). The former leads to the notion that God can and does command the irrational, such as the killing of innocents; the latter leaves the West intellectually disarmed in the face of the jihadist challenge. At Regensburg, the pope also gave a pluralistic world a vocabulary with which to deal with these grave problems: the vocabulary of rationality and irrationality. Whether these issues are understand in the world’s chancelleries and foreign ministries in the terms in which the Holy Father understands them is another question altogether….

Lopez: Do we deserve to win if we wind up electing Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama president?

Weigel: Whether we deserve to win or not, we’re much less likely to win with a president who manifestly does not understand the nature of the enemy or the multifront struggle in which we are necessarily engaged. A return to the Nineties — to foreign-policy-as-therapy — is not going to see us, or the Magdi Allams of this world, through to a future safe for the exercise of religious freedom.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...



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