Pope Benedict’s actual speech can be found here.
Here’s what the Pope said that caused the uproar, and what the Pope said right after that.
Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.
The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.
God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death….
The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: “For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.” Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God’s will, we would even have to practice idolatry.
As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God’s nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: In the beginning was the logos. This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts with logos.
To boil it down, the Pope is explaining that reason must accompany faith for true spiritual awakening. Violence does not please God, so any actions which are violent go against God’s will. That applies to all of the religions which serve God, and that’s Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Act rationally and calmly, and study the faith with reason, and you will be rewarded. The Muslim world reacted with violence, anger and bile. An irrational response, to be sure. Can you see the face of God in that guy?
Does the burning of Christian Churches smack of a tempered and rational response to a speech?
How about people who stomp their feet and demand better apologies from the Pope?
And what of their followers? Are these people the rational, spiritual people of the Religion of Peace?
Really, war over a speech? Can we finally call a spade a spade now? The Islamic world has been molded into a religion of mindless hatebots. There’s nothing rational about it. Remember, these are the people that rioted over cartoons.
I really hope we can make Iraq work. It may turn out that a nation of Muslims can act and exist as a rational democracy, and from there flower a rational model of Islam that rejects terrorism, jihad, fatwah, dhimmi and Sharia.