Benedict XVI’s Regensburg Address: 10 years later

Has it been 10 years already?   Job 7:6!  John Allen at Crux reminded me of the anniversary.

Ten years ago Benedict XVI delivered his famous Regensburg Address which sparked huge controversy over his inclusion of the example of Islam and their view of Allah in regard to reason and will.

You will want to review the essay by Sam Gregg of ACTON INSTITUTE about the Regensburg Address.  HERE

Here is a slice of Gregg’s article:

One of the basic theses presented by Benedict at Regensburg was that how we understand God’s nature has implications for whether we can judge particular human choices and actions to be unreasonable. Thus, if reason is simply not part of Islam’s conception of the Divinity’s nature, then Allah can command his followers to make unreasonable choices, and all his followers can do is submit to a Divine Will that operates beyond the categories of reason.

Most commentators on the Regensburg Address did not, however, observe that the Pope declined to proceed to engage in a detailed analysis of why and how such a conception of God may have affected Islamic theology and Islamic practice. Nor did he explore the mindset of those Muslims who invoke Allah to justify jihadist violence. Instead, Benedict immediately pivoted to discussing the place of reason in Christianity and Western culture more generally. In fact, in the speech’s very last paragraph, Benedict called upon his audience “to rediscover” the “great logos”: “this breadth of reason” which, he maintained, orthodox Christianity has always regarded as a prominent feature of God’s nature. The pope’s use of the word “rediscover” indicated that something had been lost and that much of the West and the Christian world had themselves fallen into the grip of other forms of un-reason. Irrationality can, after all, manifest itself in expressions other than mindless violence.

That irrationality is loose and ravaging much of the West—especially in those institutions which are supposed to be temples of reason, i.e., universities—is hard to deny. Take, for instance, those presently trying to turn Western educational institutions into one gigantic “safe space.” [cf. precious snowflakes] In this cocoon, those who maintain, for instance, that gender theory fails basic tests of logic, or that the welfare state has negative cultural effects, or that not all forms of inequality are in fact unjust (to name just some propositions which many today consider offensive), are regularly designated as “haters” or some word to which the suffix “phobe” is attached. [cf. democrats and their candidates]

You also want to read about Benedict XVI’s amazing Regensburg Address with the help of James Schall.


Here is the audio of the talk.

I haven’t been able to find a full video of the Address. Odd.

With Italian voice over:

Another with Italian voice over, but decent video.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Dan says:

    I guess it could be said that those who deny reason then are reasoniphobes? or Godiphobes? logiciphobes? natureiphobes?

    The Catholic Church is the inventor of reason and scientific thought. There is a simple scientific test that we can perform to prove or disprove anyone’s belief as to if they are a boy or a girl. 99.9999% of the time the answer will be very clear. We need to dispel this superstitious hocus pocus that these people believe in. The same test, by the way, can identify if the baby inside the womb is of the same person and body as the mother and since the answer is no mothers have no right over the others body to decide if the baby lives or dies.

  2. jameeka says:

    Danke schön for all the (especially audio) links, Father Z!

  3. Giuseppe says:

    Dan, I suspect Aquinas might have something to say about his debt to Aristotle (before Christ).

    What’s the scientific test you mention re boy or girl?

  4. Dan says:

    A DNA test can quickly settle the question of boy or a girl. Which quickly settles the question of what someone believes is true about them selves is correct in incorrect. I am a little outside of topic on my comment but if I am going to be an islamphobe, homophobe, trangenderaphobe. Then the reverse must be realityiphobes. Catholic’s believe in reality and now are bring asked to believe instead in someone personal made up reality.

  5. un-ionized says:

    Dan, It doesn’t even require DNA testing, a simple cheek swab to look for Barr bodies in neutrophils.

  6. TimG says:

    Fantastic essay by Sam Gregg. Thanks for the link!

  7. Giuseppe says:

    Un-ionized, not for Turners XO (women without Barr bodies), Kleinfelters XXY (men with some Barr bodies) or depending on the sample, mosaics. And doesn’t address masculinization from congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Or feminization from androgen insensitivity syndrome. I thought Dan knew of something more accurate than SRY gene/TDF protein.

  8. un-ionized says:

    the male vs. female discussion is mainly in here centered on people who are unequivocally male or female but who claim not to be.

  9. The Masked Chicken says:

    One of the best comments on reason comes from an episode of the old black-and-white Outer Limits entitled, The Sixth Finger. It is well worth watching on Hulu or Netflicks. It is about a scientist who induces artificial evolution in a volunteer Welsh miner. As the man evolves, he develops a sixth finger. Two quotes are particularly relevant to the subjects of beauty and reason. They are both spoken by the evolving man:

    1. [While playing the piano for the first time]

    “It’s amazing, isn’t it…the things that survive the ravages of time and taste. This simple prelude, for example. Bach will, quite probably, outlive us all. Man produces little that is lasting; truly lasting.
    Fear, conformity, immorality — these are heavy burdens…great drainers of creative energy — and when we are drained of creative energy, we do not create. We procreate, but we do not create.”

    “The human race has a gift, Professor, a gift that sets it above all the other creatures that abound upon this planet — the gift of thought, of reasoning, of understanding; the highly-developed brain. But, the human race has ceased to develop. It struggles for petty comfort and false security; there is no time for thought. Soon, there will be no time for reasoning, and Man will lose sight of the truth.”

    Points to ponder.

    The Chicken

  10. Semper Gumby says:

    There is an ongoing debate among more than a few Muslim newspapers and websites about “the gates of ijtihad.”

    Ijtihad generally means diligence or endeavor- according to the alMawrid dictionary. (This word has that same problematic root as the word jihad, j-h-d.) However, “ijtihad” has a legal connotation: “jurisprudence.” And more importantly, in this debate “ijtihad” is often used to mean: “independent opinion or interpretive judgement.”

    I don’t fully understand this debate, but here’s some observations drawn from Muslim newspaper and web articles:

    Some Muslims say: “Four centuries after Muhammad the “gates of ijtihad” were closed. A Muslim today must adhere to the Koran and maybe one of the four Islamic legal schools.”

    A few other Muslims say: “Closed four centuries after Muhammad? Says who? No, the gates of ijtihad are still open. We can use our brains that Allah has given us and make new and reasonable interpretations of the Koran.”

    Still a few other Muslims say: “That gate may be open or closed, but just remember that all true ijtihad has world-wide Sharia law as the goal.”

    This debate has a Sunni/Shiite perspective:

    A few Sunni Muslims say: “Ijtihad is a good thing and the Shiites don’t have it because, well, they’re Shiites.”

    A few Shiite Muslims respond: “Of course we have ijtihad. Ayatollah Khomeini practiced ijtihad and thus restored true Islam.”

    Then there is the Ottoman Empire angle:

    Some Muslims say: “Ijtihad doesn’t matter. The gates were closed about four centuries after Muhammed and yet the glorious Ottoman Empire arose afterwards.”

    A few other Muslims respond: “No, ijtihad does matter, and the gates of ijtihad never should have been closed. The Ottoman Empire eventually declined centuries later because it fell far behind the West in science and technology.”

    Still other Muslim say: “Both of you are wrong. Ijtihad was practiced in the Ottoman Empire, but it was done wrong. The Ottoman Empire declined because it strayed from Sharia law.”

    And, finally, there’s this viewpoint:

    “Ijtihad is great. We should all have ijtihad. The reason we don’t have ijtihad is because of…(Fr. Z and fellow readers we all know what’s coming next)…Western imperialism!”

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