A Belated Response to the Pope’s Speech (and other things)

I didn’t post on this when it was current, as although I got a copy of the full text of the Pope’s speech, I didn’t get chance to study it in any great depth (and besides, novak_freek‘s posts at the time give an overview of the whole controversy). But I read something today, and it got me frustrated. Why? Because I’m sick of us arguing and debating and rioting over speeches and cartoons when there are other things to talk about.

We need to talk about this.

And this.

Oh, and this (no way on Earth am I linking to the official site).

Now, I know what happens when things like this get quoted. “Oh, but that’s them. They’re the lunatic fringe. They’re not representative of Muslims/Catholics/Evangelicals/Whatever. They don’t represent me.” And all that’s true.

That’s not the point.

Most people know they’re not representative of the whole. People are smart enough to realise that suicide bombers and paedophiles are a minority of the population.

But, see, when controversies like the Pope’s speech, and the Danish cartoons, and Jerry Springer: The Opera break out, and the lunatic fringe hijack genuine concerns, people want to know where the moderates are. It’s not the outcry that bothers people so much as the silence from the mainstream. We (and I’m talking as a religious guy myself) assume everyone knows we’re not crazy, but how much do we try to shout down the hypocrites and the radicals?

And are we prominent enough during other crises? Darfur, the East African food crisis, climate change, AIDS? That’s the question. The extremists may be a outspoken minority compared to the silent majority, but what the hell sort of use is a silent majority?

“The Kingdom of God is among you”, Jesus once said, and he was right. Spirituality, a relationship with God, needs to be current as well as future. If faith is to be seen as something positive rather than just another excuse to kill, hate, condemn or curse then it needs the silent majority to be a little louder – not in terms of politics or theological debate, although they have their place, but in thousands of day-to-day kindnesses, in taking a lead in fighting the crises that ravage our planet and the people who live on it, in practicing what we preach.

It’s not just what we believe, it’s how we believe it. And what sort of blasphemy makes the Kingdom of Heaven appear to be a Hell?


One thought on “A Belated Response to the Pope’s Speech (and other things)

  1. sudge

    “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” Edmund Burke
    “when good is in danger, only a coward would not defend it” Confucious
    You were spot on when you said “what the hell use is a silent majority?”. If everyone who tutted and shook their heads and said “thats terrible” got together and decided to take action, pretty soon there wouldnt be much to take action about. Being principled is unfashionable nowadays, because the minute you’re seen to be standing up for what you believe in, or a set of principles, you’re immediately put in with the crazy crowd, seen as a fundy to the rest of the world. Something tells me that if we listened to one another, we’d agree on more than we disagree on, and hell, the same is probably true with most international disputes, religious etc. If you’re gonna shout about your religion or beliefs, you should do it about how similar they are to other people’s, not on how their differences “entitle” you to kill people.


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