Faith, Reason, University

If the new CEO of the Roman Catholic Church, HH the pope lectures on faith and reason, everyone who is interested in either had better listen, especially since he was CIO (Chief Ideology Officer, aka Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) in his previous job.

The lecture in itself is a very comprehensive assessment of the classical dialectic relationship between Reason and Faith, setting out with a classical quotation of the byzantine emperor Manuel II. Palaeologos, demonstrating the differences between how christianity and islam think that their supreme being is related to reason. While the christian god is thought to be bound by reason, the muslim god is considered to be totally transcendental and independent of any human concepts such as reason, hence spreading the faith through the sword is thought to be legitimate.

This is my weak summary of the part of the lecture that seems to have irritated some muslim scholars. They probably haven't even read the lecture. The reactions are certainly interesting at any rate.

There's not much point in further tracing the lecture, which looks at the de-hellenisation (i.e. de-linking of christian faith and greek philosophy) in three waves since the reformation in some detail. The key point is - unsurprisingly - that the pope rejects the way in which critical rationalism has pushed back faith from the communitarian field to the individually subjective. The problem though is, IMHO, that he argues from the outcome, which he cannot accept - weil nicht sein kann, was nicht sein darf? This, IMHO again, is simply bad logic and not very convincing.

No comments: