Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Pope and the Muslim rioters, a story of idiocy and insanity

The pope's a fool. When he made his infamous speech quoting an emperor who described Islam as "evil and inhuman," he was really asking for trouble. He was making a point about the wrongness of violent conversions, but I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult finding a quote decrying violent conversions to Christianity, of which there have been many over the centuries.

His reasons for picking on Islam are indicated in an article suggesting Pope Benedict considers Islam unreformable. He appears to just think it's a religion built on a rotten foundation. Which is moronic. If you read the bible literally it's full of encouragements to do terrible things, but people take from it what they will. Is it impossible for the same thing to happen with the Quran? No, because people are people, they are effected by outside forces. Religions aren't pure, and while some Muslims are desperately trying to keep theirs pure and backward, the winds of change blow everything over sooner or later. Not that I'm a great religious scholar, but neither is someone who calls a competing religion "evil and inhuman." And a scholarly fellow named Juan Cole says the emperor's contention that the Quran encourages violent conversion is actually wrong and finds other factual errors in the speech.

So the pope makes a speech of questionable scholarliness and uses an inflammatory quote. True, he didn't say, "and I agree," but when using an inflammatory quote it's a good idea to give your take on it, as was pointed out in a thoughtful editorial in the Times of India (I found a number of links to interesting editorials on the matter on For example, if someone gave a speech in which they described the musings of a Nazi architect on how to kill thousands of people a day efficiently, it would be a good idea to say, "of course, killing Jews is a bad thing," even if all you're talking about is architecture.

But of course, no matter how moronic the pope is and regardless of whether he was being obtuse or purposely provocative, that in no way excuses a violent response or death threats, nor does it excuse any Muslim leader who doesn't immediately come out and denounce the violence. I mean get a grip. He's the pope, he's the leader of a competing religion. Of course he doesn't like Islam. If Walmart says their store is better than Target, Target shoppers don't go on a rampage. A whole bunch of Muslims believe wholeheartedly that no one is allowed to insult Islam. But they don't see anything wrong with insulting other religions. These are bad people.

Muslims going on a rampage to protest the pope calling Islam violent is just utter madness. Of course, everyone with a bit of sense knows this, but since only a minority of people in the world have even a little sense, madness tends to rule. There have been riots of bad calls at soccer matches, and these were not instigated by Muslims, so really, a lot of people just like to riot and throw stuff and set things on fire and these people should be given their own planet so they quite screwing up this one.

This sort of insanity means that a lot of people are just saying, hey, that emperor was right. And if he had simply said, religion in general is evil and inhuman I might agree, at least to some extent. I don't know how many religions actually don't have any blood on their hands, but I think it's a small number (at least in the west; as far as I know Buddhists and Taoists aren't beating people to death with their holy scriptures, but perhaps they are).

So it's all pretty disgusting. The pope did something stupid that was bound to cause trouble, a bunch of Muslims overreacted like crazy, and I expect that within a year some other celebrity will insult Islam and we'll have some more riots.

I am sick of living in a world of idiots and crazies.

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