Knowledge is power – redux

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Buried in John Waters’ wordy belated birthday tribute to Emperor Constantine Pope Benedict XVI in today’s Irish Times [subs req] are some points worth noting. Not the comparisons of Christianity to Islam, “a very real form of obscurantism”, nor the references to “pseudo-rebels [who] seek to mollify and court [Islam]“, and not even the “secular media analysis, [of Benedict as] a stop-gap and a throwback, a “reactionary”, a “right-winger”, an obscurantist”, nor the accurate descriptions of media distortions of some of Benedict’s statements. It’s his identification of the very real intellect of “this subtle and brilliant pope”. And his subversive strategy.

One of the many paradoxes of being pope in the modern world is that you must speak through a megaphone controlled by your enemies. If John Paul II was an actor who communicated by disarming the megaphone-holders with charisma and charm, Benedict’s strategy is determined subversion.

And John Waters uses an interesting reference to describe the objective of that strategy

The baptism of Magdi Christian Allam is an example of Pope Benedict’s radicalism, an event worth a hundred million words, a symbol of the new Enlightenment spearheaded by this most disarming of popes. Benedict’s project is the restoration to western culture of an integrated concept of reason, the re-separation of the metaphysical from the physical.

He’s right, in a way, that Benedict seeks an “integrated concept of reason” – Benedict has appealed to a “greater form of reason” previously. But, as I’ve pointed out before, the re-equating, or re-entwining, of religion and science that Benedict actually seeks is not an Enlightenment, it’s an Un-Enlightenment. Knowledge is power, indeed.

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  • Greenflag

    Pete,

    We’ll have evolved into another species by the time ‘reason’ is applied as rigorously towards ‘religion’ as it is to say routine scientific research . It’ll have to wait for Homo Ultra Sapiens .

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Razi deliberately tries to provoke a response from other faiths by trying to rub salt into their beliefs. If baptising a Muslim convert publicly isn’t slightly provocative towards Muslims, he certainly knows how to provoke Protestants by declaring they aren’t true Christians.

    His tactics scare me.

  • Pete Baker

    There’s always hope, Greenflag.

    As Benedict might have said..

  • An Lochlannach

    John Waters is an eejit who is simply trying to put an intellectual gloss on a mid-life swing to the right. He’s not alone there.

  • Rory

    This might demonstrate that anything Benedict can do (Irish-American) Islam can do better.

    From my new musical, “Benny Get Your Gun” :

    “I can do anything better than you”

    “Nein! You can’t”

    ” Yeah, bejasus, I can!”

    I suspect that this poor geezer, realising that his weedy little beard would never allow him to pass off as Barney McKenna’s grandson, turned to a culture where it was considered trendy.

  • Greenflag

    Rory,

    ‘I suspect that this poor geezer’

    So do I -Just look at that nose in profile : Borat lite I’d say. Another lost soul wandering around for christ sorry allah knows what :(

    Pete,

    ‘There’s always hope, Greenflag.’

    A commodity much proferred these days in the field of politics and religion but alas somewhat thin on the ground as regards the price of petrol or ‘peace’ in our time or the mid term economic /political outlook (apart from NI of course where all it takes is a smile from the chuckie bros to make people feel that all will be well ).

    In retro it was a reasonable strategy i.e the ‘grabbing’ of Iraqi oilfields . The theory one assumes would have been to keep the oil flowing -thus weakening Opec and newly emerging energy players such as Russia /Brazil etc -thus keeping the oil price down -the American economy humming and most of the world on an upward sloping economic trend . Having Saddam or Osama Bin Laden hanged would have been seen as an optional though not necessary dessert .

    Alas poor execution not of the ‘baddies ‘ but of the plan have left us with oil at 120 dollars a barrel instead of 28 – the Middle East in turmoil – Islamic fundamentalism on the advance , the US economy in tatters and the once almighty dollar almost a joke :(

    So you have a point Pete .

    All that’s left to sell is ‘Hope’

    Would that be with extra cheese :) ?

  • Gregory

    “If baptising a Muslim convert publicly isn’t slightly provocative towards Muslims”

    It is none of their business.

    If we’ll accept Tony Blair, we may as well accept Robert Mugabe. Why not?

    G.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘It’ll have to wait for Homo Ultra Sapiens’

    Do the guys at Mr Gay Universe not count Greenflag? Actually the straight Mr Universe guys are quite gay anyway !

  • Greenflag

    republicanstones .

    The universe cares not a jot for your gender inclinations so if you are considering entering that competition neither we nor the universe will hold it against you.

    Try not to reduce the tone of the thread -there’s a good lad . The Pope may be reading .

    BTW Francis Bacon is worth a read .Hard to imagine that the man is nearly 400 years dead and he’s still ‘enlightening ‘ ! On the subject of the ‘unenlightment’ I’d just say that in a world of 7 billion people it is not a movement that increases our species chances of making it through to the end of this century never mind the next Ice Age .

    The ‘rapturers’ and allah fanatics are not looking to a future for humanity on earth . They are betting on the arrival of a superior being to put all in order . You could I suppose call it ‘Waiting for Godot’ on a cosmic /universal scale. On the other hand you might view it as I do which is that there is not one born every minute but alas several thousand .

    The Pope is a good man and has much to say on some of the world’s pressing problems . We can all relate to the ‘evils’ of rampant consumerism . It’s just that the latter ills cannot be solved by returning ‘intellectually’ to an age when Papal power was absolute and Martin Luther was busy looking for a hammer and some nails to stick his message to the Diet (not Can ) of Worms . The genie can’t be put back in the bottle . No matter what John Waters or others may say !

    Human progress is not guaranteed and the Earth has no need for ‘intelligence’ . So the ‘mutant’ 70,000 odd years ago in East Africa who careered us down this path of development has a lot to answer for if she/he could but answer .

    We have no choice but to apply ‘reason’ to the challenges facing humanity . Religion may give comfort to billions but it won’t supply water , oil , farmland or food . There are too many of us on this planet to trust in the ‘unenlightment’as our ‘saviour’.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “The Pope may be reading”

    Do you suppose the Curiacrats read Slugger, Greenflag?

  • RepublicanStones

    ahh shucks Greenflag, sorry, humour isn’t allowed, isa sawee sir !

  • Rory

    I must say that I don’t really find any “points worth noting” in “John Waters’ belated birthday tribute to Pope Benedict XVI”. While not exactly “all sound and fury signifying nothing” it seems rather an arch pretense of some inside knowledge which the author cannot possibly possess padded out with examples that do not and cannot support his contentions. For example:

    “The baptism of Magdi Christian Allam… is an event worth a hundred million words…”.

    Really? I certainly must have “cocked a deaf un’” as these hundred million words passed unheard. I was much more taken with the video on YouTube of the late Fr Michael Cleary regaling a maternity ward full of expectant and nursing mothers with a hell of a good off-the-cuff rendering of Chatanooga Shoeshine Boy. Now that did leave me speechless in awe.

    As for his paragraph on Benedict’s preference to combat the “mega-phone holders” (what they? ed.) with “determined subversion” (what this? ed.) over JP II’s “disarming” strategy is simply twaddle, a selection of words probably more suited to an article on the relationship between General de Chastelain and those with whom he engages.

    I’m afraid that I cannot treat it as other than Catholic journalistic polyfilla.

  • Rory

    Surely that should be Waiting for God – oh!, Greenflag?

  • BfB

    The Pope baptizing a man who happened to be ex-muslim. Pretty ballsy…I like the guy. I think I’ll continue with this whole Catholic thing a bit more. I like the whole alpha male feeling. Confusing for the beta males I see. Still mystified by those who think that all of this was just a series of accidents…. We are such beautiful machines…. and still so maligned…..
    Tsk, tsk.

  • Greenflag

    Nevin,

    ”Do you suppose the Curiacrats read Slugger’

    I hope not Nevin otherwise I’ll be first up on the stake and bonfire routine when the Vatican allied with Beelzebub plus the whole Whore of Babylon retinue take over the world. Being just an ordinary heretic you should be ok . You’ll probably escape with a minor skin flaying or perhaps some charring of your nether regions but for GF it’ll be a very hot time in the ole town :(

    With Paisley gone alas even the ‘gnashing teeth’ will not be provided and I’ll have to make do with my own :(

    republican stones ,

    ‘sorry, humour isn’t allowed’

    Wie der Papst selbst hat gesagt . Das Humor ist nicht allein erlaubt aber vollkommen VERBOTEN !!

  • Greenflag

    Rory ,

    ‘Surely that should be Waiting for God – oh!, Greenflag? ‘

    I can’t recall whether it was Sam Beckett or Oscar Wilde but one or the other was reputed to have said .

    ‘I don’t have a religion , I’m an Irish Protestant’

    So twas Godot – godit now ?

    On a more serious note I think it would be a good idea if we all treated each other as Christians however unlike God I would’nt want to held accountable for the consequences well not based on historical precedent anyway !

  • Rory

    I’m not so sure about this “treating each other as Christians” idea, Greenflag. Think of the effect on global warming from all the burnings at the stake. And that Christian treatment of the citizens of Falujah does not inspire me with confidence.

    I do so love The Sermon on the Mount but it doesn’t seem to have caught on with the Christians as yet.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]otherwise I’ll be first up on the stake and bonfire routine when the Vatican allied with Beelzebub plus the whole Whore of Babylon retinue take over the world. Being just an ordinary heretic you should be ok . You’ll probably escape with a minor skin flaying or perhaps some charring of your nether regions but for GF it’ll be a very hot time in the ole town “[/i]

    Greenflag, why the sarcasm? You know that all the Vatican canons (including the most horrible ones) are still considered as legal Vatican law. So, why the need to belittle other members on here when they quote these Vatican documents?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Oscar Wilde summed up the absurdity of these religious distinctions, when he quipped, ”I have no religion: I am an Irish Protestant”

  • Harry Flashman

    Greenflag

    You’re not just a wee bit obsessed about this “Rapture” business are you? I mean you do seem to bang on about it an awful lot.

    Rory

    “And that Christian treatment of the citizens of Falujah does not inspire me with confidence.”

    What, like liberate them from Dark Age thuggery and terror at great expense in blood and treasure?

  • Greenflag

    ‘You know that all the Vatican canons (including the most horrible ones) are still considered as legal Vatican law.’

    Indeed and we all know the Vatican is not a democracy . On the other hand it’s a postage stamp sized State with about 50 Swiss guards armed to the teeth with pikes. I think I could handle the lot with my ‘weaponry’ if they ever decide to advance past my front gate!

    ‘Greenflag, why the sarcasm?’

    Sometimes it’s only through humour or sarcasm that the irrational in ‘religion’ can be brought into the ‘light’. I’ll admit it may be difficult for some to see the ‘humourous ‘side in particular if they have been thoroughly ‘brainwashed ‘ in whatever denomination was chosen for them at birth or perhaps ‘sold’ to them as the ‘answer’ during a perhaps stressful part of their lives .

    I am believe it or not in ‘real life’ deeply respectful of genuinely ‘religious ‘ people who are sincere in their beliefs and who live their lives and keep the commandments regardless of their denomination or be they Christian , Jew , Muslim or anything else. I just don’ t buy into the whole ‘package’ .

    I agree too with Rory re his comment on the Sermon on the Mount . That said I find the old testament yarn of Abraham being prepared to sacrifice his son because of a voice from a God in a burning bush as alamost a license for people to slaughter the ‘unchosen/enemy/infidels /heathens etc ‘ because a God or his earthly ‘stand in ‘ has said so via some priests/wise men/preacher /ayatollah etc.

  • Greenflag

    Harry Flashman

    ‘You’re not just a wee bit obsessed about this “Rapture” business are you? I mean you do seem to bang on about it an awful lot.’

    This ‘rapture’ business is a serious money spinner for those purveying books on said subject to the public particularly in the USA . Not only books but TV series, DVD’s exhibitions , conferences , Armageddon Assemblies the whole shebang of hellfore and damnation brought to the present generation of suckers by high tech communications .

    From what I understand the Islamic radicals have difficulty getting ‘recruits ‘ for the suicide brigades and now attract suitable entrants for ‘heaven’ by promising them ‘cash ‘ for their family members here on planet earth . They focus on people who have been diagnosed with terminal illness in many cases and offer them ‘cash’ for the use of their ‘bodies’ . One presumes that these ‘recruiters’ believe in Allah on the one hand and the end justifies the means on the other .

    The ‘Rapture’ sellers are a notch higher or lower in the evolutionary scale depending on your point of view in that they offer something which will never happen to people in return for cash in the here and now . When the suicide bomber gives his or her life that’s it a once off . For the ‘Rapture’ sellers it’s a never ending revenue stream sucking money from the naive, fearful and undereducated until such time as the ‘fashion’ for Armageddon/Rapture/ End Days / Milleniumitis etc wears off to be replaced with perhaps more realistic earthly concerns .

    It’s been around before and no doubt there are millions of future ‘suckers’ not yet born who will buy into the same old ‘witchcraft’ and skullduggery ‘

    They need to tax the Churches just as any other business corporation and these money spinning heaven magicians should have their financial dealings audited just like any other business on a regular basis .

    I believe their is a Senator or Congressman in the USA who is trying to push legislation forward in this regard . Hopefully he will succeed .

  • Harry Flashman

    *Not only books but TV series, DVD’s exhibitions , conferences , Armageddon Assemblies the whole shebang of hellfore and damnation brought to the present generation of suckers by high tech communications.*

    Yeah, I get it, there are millions of bucks to made on Star Trek books and dvds, the afficionados have thousands of conventions every year but last time I checked no one actually believed that Trekkies are somehow in sinister control of US foreign policy which seems to be a belief that people on the anti-American left seem to believe about these “Rapture” people.

    In fact the only time I ever hear tell of the phenomena is from some leftie droning on about how they’re just the same as Islamic jihadis (they’re not). I know countless Americans, dozens of ‘em and I’ve never heard any of them talk about this rapture phenomena which so enthralls the student union conspiracy theorists of the Left.

    Here is a lunatic idea however that really has taken hold and which is causing misery and death all over the globe right now. It’s a weird belief that the planet’s climate which has rebounded from extremely hot to ball numbingly freezing for eons before human beings were ever heard of is suddenly now facing a catastrophic disater because allegedly CO2 emissions, allegedly from human beings is allegedly going to raise the earth’s temperature by an alleged 2 degrees.

    Now the crackpots in the media and universities who propound this lunacy have so scared people that they’ve started converting food into fuel to burn in their cars instead of petrol, this is leading to a worldwide food shortage that is causing chaos throughout the developing world.

    Now those cranks really are scary compared to the harmless oddballs in the rapture movement.

  • BfB

    Harry is spot on about the global warming scam, and the food crisis caused by the biofuel ripoff. Hardworking lower class people are being hurt by the rise in rice prices. I speak with them every day. The effin msm is pounding the food shortage drum to make it worse. These liberal socialist elites are an effin plague in the US. And they will get theirs, sooner than later, I hope.

  • pauljames

    Harry

    Have a look at this in the village voice. Just how much influence should supernaturalists have?

  • BfB

    ‘The biofuels debacle is global warm-mongering in a nutshell: The first victims of poseur environmentalism will always be developing countries. In order for you to put biofuel in your Prius and feel good about yourself for no reason, real actual people in faraway places have to starve to death.’
    Substitiute ‘supernaturalist’ for global warming, same small minded, misinformed msm herded, lemmings.

  • Gregory

    “And that Christian treatment of the citizens of Falujah does not inspire me with confidence. ”

    I think it is the Christians who are becoming exinct in the region.

    One of the solutions for the whataboutery cum pogrom equation is to identify what side is having the crap beaten out of it.

    Tony Blair is only a Catholic in the wildest sense of the word. He joined us because we’ve given a free pass to more mad eejits than we needed to.

    No sonner was he in the club than he immediately went out hawking Queerdom. You might also find that sex abuse in Catholic schools was linked to the proceedings.

    Why reform when the govt. insists that reform is entirely in the opposite direction of state policy.

    G.

  • http://dublinstreams.blogspot.com steve white

    he’s not just a convert he’s a convert who now says muslims are inheritanly violent.

    but sure maybe he was only quoting…