Mohammed at Iraq The Model has a must-read post (emphasis added): When will we be ready to accept criticism? and asks
So why don’t we admit that the “other” is better than us at responding rationally when criticized? Why don’t we learn from others?
When we closed our ears to anything that doesn’t match our beliefs and refused all criticism wasn’t that enough reason for the deterioration of our civilization?
You must read every word, as cutting-and-pasting would not do the post justice.
The Anchoress, a much more insightful and spiritual woman than I, points out in another post that
I would say what we need now is an understanding by all of God’s religions that God is big enough to take an insult and can deal with insults quite justly without our bloody intercessions.
And what is all the Pope-speech-flap about?
The Pope, in his Address at University of Regensburg, “Three Stages in the Program of De-Hellenization” (yes, that’s the much-maligned and very little read address that has been making the headlines this week. GO READ IT), actually said,
Not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature.
Pope Benedict’s been getting a lot of flack for reminding us. Mind you, this is not a new concept. The concept’s been knocking around for thousands of years.
Epictetus (c.55 – c.135 C.E.), a Roman slave who later had his own school of philosophy and was not a Christian, believed that
Someone who seeks to make progress as a Stoic (a prokoptôn) understands that their power of rationality is a fragment of God
These are Epictetus’s very words (emphasis added):
Are these the only works of Providence in us? What words suffice to praise or send them forth? Had we but understanding, should we ever cease hymning and blessing the Divine Power, both openly and in secret, and telling of his gracious gifts? Whether digging or plowing or eating, should we not sing the hymn to God –
Great is God, for that He hath given us such instruments to till the ground withal:
Great is God, for that He hath given us hands, and the power of swallowing and digesting;
of unconsciously growing and breathing while we sleep!
Thus should we ever have sung: yea and this, the grandest and divinest hymn of all: –
Great is God, for that He hath given us a mind to apprehend these things, and duly to use them!
What then! seeing that most of you are blinded, should there not be some one to fill this place, and sing the hymn to God on behalf of all men? What else can I that am old and lame do but sing to God? Were I a nightingale, I should do after the manner of a nightingale. Were I a swan, I should do after the manner of a swan. But now, since I am a reasonable being, I must sing to God: that is my work: I do it, nor will I desert this my post, as long as it is granted me to hold it; and upon you too I call to join in this self-same hymn.
Bear that in mind when you read about the upcoming “day(s) of rage”.
Update Cobb‘s take on the subject, via Kesher Talk
Update 2 Popes, Despots, Americans And Jews, Cap’n goes Int’l, Hugo goes home, Press goes missing touch on the subject.
Kobayashi Maru explains how reason itself is at war with the forces of chaos.