Friday 5 May 2006

Benedict XVI and Islam

There’s a very insightful essay here, entitled “When Civilizations Meet: How Joseph Ratzinger Sees Islam.” The author, Samir Khalil Samir, is an Egyptian Jesuit who is professor of Islamic studies and of the history of Arab culture at the Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut and at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome.

The essay discusses Benedict XVI’s attempt to foster dialogue with Islam. It begins:

“Benedict XVI is probably one of the few figures to have profoundly understood the ambiguity in which contemporary Islam is being debated and its struggle to find a place in modern society. At the same time, he is proposing a way for Islam to work toward coexistence globally and with religions, based not on religious dialogue, but on dialogue between cultures and civilizations based on rationality and on a vision of man and human nature which comes before any ideology or religion.”

1 Comment:

Alex said...

Hi Ben,

The last phrase in this quote kind of struck me, "... a vision of man and human nature which comes before any ideology or religion." Now in politics, you kind of have to talk this way, to find any common ground. However, it seems to me like neither your vision of man nor religion can come before the other. I can only speak as a Christian, but our vision of man is part of, and not before or after our religion/ideology.

Perhaps for some religions, humanity is not of central importance. For example, if the belief is that we will all be assumed into Nirvana, the nature of man is not important. For these types of people, it will be very easy to set aside their religion when discussing man. However, I think it will be more difficult for the Christian and the Muslim.

What these two religions can do is, I think, accept each others visions as valid based on each individuals own experience. I think that's one of the few concepts about man that can come sequentially before a discussion of religion.

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