The Regensburg Lecture (HC)

The Regensburg Lecture (HC)

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The uproar over the supposedly anti-Islamic quotation in it occluded the meaning of Pope Benedict XVI's September 12, 2006, University of Regensburg lecture. Including its full text in an appendix, Schall expands upon its themes. Thirteenth-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus' "offensive" words concern the first, religiously motivated violence and the nature of God. The second theme is the loss of European Christian identity; the third, the "dehellenization" of the West. Benedict frames all three issues as matters of reason and religion. Crucial to his argument is the realization that, because of the Incarnation, Christianity doesn't conceive of God as dealing unreasonably with humanity, and as it is unreasonable to force religious belief, violence for religious ends is proscribed. Making the other themes urgent is the educational practice of reserving reason for secular disciplines only, which is why, Schall thinks, the pope made his remarks where and to whom he did. The university and professors can help reverse dehellenization by reconnecting reason and religion in teaching. Ray Olson
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