The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dum Medium Silentium

...the Pope failed to grasp that under the tenets of radical Islam of the modern age, context means little, intent nothing, learning less than zero. If a sentence, indeed a mere phrase can be taken out of context, twisted, manipulated to show an absence of deference to Islam, furor ensues, death threats follow, assassins load their belts....

-Victor Davis Hanson

The following is not just a meditation on how the Pope's quotation of a long dead Byzantine emperor has sparked conflict and controversy. Rather it is a reflection on the entire intellectual atmosphere in which we find ourselves. In more than one way, it is a discourse of silence; silence on all sides, and deafness to history. It is on all levels and in every conversation. The Muslim response to some historical remarks are only the most hostile form of this phenomenon.

I am taking an African American Studies graduate seminar here at the liberal bastion of U.C. Berkeley, and while the class claims to be getting rid of the silences of the people of the African diaspora, by white-washing history too much (no pun intended), I fear that this class will never be able to understand history fully. One of the greatest breakthroughs of modern thought has been the recovery of history. We have the ability now to take things in context, to know and distinguish between our opinions and the opinions of those who came before us, and to appreciate and critique those opinions. Nevertheless, this ability more often than not has proven too painful, and therefore it is silenced, either directly or through shouting it down with the dominant thought-paradigms propagated by the media and academia.

We have our own ideas. Liberal democracy entitles us to think however we want, regardless of our abilities, eloquence, or even facts. When someone attacks us, it often becomes a question of Nietzschean will to power and will to over-power: the will to not have to listen and to assert what we feel and believe on others. Radical Islam, while claiming to be traditional, has proven itself to be the best follower of the postmodern political discourse founded by our syphilitic philosopher. Unlike the erudite and cultured Islam of medieval Muslim Spain, it has decided no longer to talk to anyone and silence everyone with violence when necessary (and even when it is not "necessary"). We too do this on our own small level everyday. Perhaps it is just fallen human nature, magnified by post-1789 principles and sent all over the globe via Internet, television screens and other forms of mass communication. The past is silenced, the facts are put in the closet, the din of opinions and counter-opinions increases to the point of a screeching yell drowning out everything else.....

And in the midst of this silence of noise, a voice of reason emerges that simply states a fact of history, and the well of rage begins to overflow like an exploding volcano.

Enough! Holy Father, stand your ground. It's about time someone did.


At 11:30 AM, Blogger Seven Star Hand said...

Hello Pseudo-Iamblichus and all,

The straw that breaks the camel's back always follows the results of earlier deeds.

The Pope's choice of words was brain dead, in my humble opinion, if he was seeking to spread peace. He could have appealed for cooler heads and humility from all sides using any other words, but instead he chose to quote Crusade era hypocrisy that was guaranteed to inflame Muslims. Now we see the backtracking and spinning that always follows the gaffes of those afraid of simply telling the truth.

More proof that religion is the opposite of truth, wisdom, and justice

The "infallible" Grand Inquisitor (the pot) sought to lecture Islam (the kettle) about spreading religion through dark deeds by quoting a Dark Ages text while the USA and Europe are in the midst of the Neo-Crusades. The irony and absurdity in this situation is amazing, to say the least. It evidences both the fallacy and fallibility of those who vainly and arrogantly pretend to serve the Creator.

Dear Pope, ever heard of Karma or the golden rule? Ever stop to remember how the Vatican and western nations became so rich and powerful over the centuries? Ever consider giving up your blood drenched wealth and earthly power to end the blatant hypocrisy of your vain, materialistic, and duplicitous empire? Ever think of forgoing your peacock's robes to walk the walk instead of simply talking the talk? Remember the "eye of the needle" and "log and mote in the eye" parables? Is this a demonstration of your infallibility, wisdom, or utter blindness? As another wise one once said; What goes around comes around!

The West has killed far more Muslims (and other dark skins) than they have killed westerners, yet our press and leaders can only see Muslim and "third world" desperation in the face of western military and economic dominance and oppression, (in the name of God and country, by the way), as sources of evil in this world.

Guess what guys and girls, war, violence, and injustice are evil, no matter what the excuse or cause or who is doing it to whom. Anyone who thinks the Creator would judge religion, war, or any other profiteering at the expense of others as wise or acceptable activities has a very big surprise in store.

Here is Wisdom!!
...and here too...

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

Dear sir or madam,

Welcome to the Sarabite blog! All opinions are welcomed and yours is a very popular one. Wrong but popular....

The Pope didn't do anything but speak something that is profoundly debateable, and to ignore that debate is something that is absolute folly, in my opinion. Islam is a religion of contradictions; moreso than any other. Competing texts in the Koran call for tolerance and hatred in the same book. So which one is the Word of Allah? Everytime someone blasphemes against Christ, do we call for their death? No, because Christ died for them too. And the Pope made it quite clear that the opinion of the Byzantine potentate was not HIS opinion.....

Apples and oranges: that is my response to you.

As for the past, of course I am not going to say that any of the atrocities you mentioned were justified. But neither can I apologize for them. The fact is, more people have died in the name of pseudo-science (Nazism) and in the name of atheism (degenerated Marxism) than have in the supposed name of Christ. That being said, we Christians have no excuse, and must seek justice and peace in the present in order to not repeat the errors of the past.

The bottom line: we Christians and rational people will not bow to bullies. We will not hide unpleasant truths just so that others will not throw tantrums like bratty destructive four years olds. If this does not bring peace, no matter. Peace without truth is no peace at all. And Our Lord said, "I come to not bring peace upon earth but the sword...."

Rest assured, if we carry out our lofty vocation as Christians, it will be our neck that is under the blade, not yours.

At 8:48 PM, Blogger axegrinder said...


The triumph of "what I feel" over tradition-informed reason is pandemic. I cannot critique Calvinism on my blog or have a conversation about Bible translations in my church without being baptized in ad hominems and offenses. "Lord deliver me from unreasonable men."

I am glad, however, for the advent of the internet. There is certainly a predominance of preaching to the choir and ignorant assertions. Nevertheless, there are refuges where those who are committed to the Logos may huddle together aaginst the gathering darkness.

I did not mean to sound dramatic or apocalyptic.

Jason Kranzusch

At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see you have been agreeing with your Nazis Pope :) God, at least John Paul was descent enough to be in the Resistance. Oh, did I say too much. What is his problem? Doesn't he know to keep his mouth shut when it comes to Islam. Isn't it enough that West (mostly made up by Christains) is killing or causing them to die by the thousands. Yes, they are maniacs created by the West and they are comprador bourgeois elements that have existed since the West started to invade Islamic lands. And this Islamic fundamentalism is a CIA-Isreali orchestrated invention which appeal to the feeble minded petty-bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie and the misguided poor people. They have underminded both the spread of secular nationalism and socialism. There is plenty of criticism to be levelled against the Jihadists but to look only in the Koran is just half-sided. The Bible has been used to justify genocide and slavery and it is also a book of contradictions. Just the humble opinion of a man who thinks religion is just too irrational to be in the political arena and for stupid remarks by men who should know better. Where is the criticism of Yankee imperialism who have killed more people than the Islamists have ever killed with there little black bombs? Ratzinger is just dead wrong in doing what he did in seeking cheap publicity.

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