Friday, September 15, 2006

The Pope and Hitler ... peas in a pod?

Today, a Turkish leader compared Pope Benedict XVI to Adolf Hitler for some relatively gentle historical remarks the pope delivered on Islam. ""He is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as (Adolf) Hitler and (Benito) Mussolini," the Turkish politician said.

In fact, Muslims throughout the world are reacting venomously to the pope's remarks, which merely quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam. (When will the Muslim world get as exercised about beheading innocent civilians, crashing planes into buildings full of innocent civilians, and threats by Muslim fascist regimes to wipe Israel off the map ... but that's another post ... or two.)

What are they smoking in their sheeshas these days? There are a few Hitler-like people in this world -- Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are just two -- but let's be real. The Pope? The Pope has designs on ruling the world? Killing everyone who doesn't look like him? Willing to incinerate the whole world to achieve his goals?

I wish I owned Hitler's image the way Fred Goldman should own O.J. Simpson's image. How many times do we see arguments end with one person comparing somebody to Hitler? Well, it's so common, there's actually a physical "law" about it. It's called Godwin's Law" and here's how Wikipedia explains it:

Godwin's Law (also Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies) is a mainstay of Internet culture, an adage formulated by Mike Godwin in 1990. It is particularly concerned with logical fallacies such as reductio ad Hitlerum, wherein an idea is unduly dismissed or rejected on ground of it being associated with persons generally considered "evil."

The law states:

"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. "

There is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically "lost" whatever debate was in progress.

Invoking Godwin's Law ... anti-Pope radical Muslims with no sense of perspective lose this argument.

UPDATE 9/20: UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took his verbal battle with the United States to the floor of the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, calling President Bush "the devil."

UPDATE 9/19: WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- A senator compared Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Hitler and made fun of his name on Tuesday during a congressional hearing on the U.S. strategy to end Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program.


Anonymous said...

I think the Pope, even though he was quoting a 14th century writing, hit the nail on the head. Spreading Jihad by the sword is fundamental Koran teaching and I don't think the Muslim world wants this information to leaven the public consciousness or else the world will know the source of Islamic terrorism. A revival of Islamic fundamentalism.

jason said...

You're pissing in the wind if you think the Muslim world is going to condemn beheadings, homicide bombings, sectarian violence and the general belief that killing Americans is God's will. Only an underdeveloped culture would blow its stack over the Pope's remarks which aren't at all provocative but remain silent about beheadings and nuclear mullahs. These are the same empty-headed and empty-hearted yahoos who rioted because of an editorial cartoon.

Ryan J Jones said...

The complacency of these "non-fundamentalist" muslims is starting to piss me off. Why don't they get off their prayer mats for a couple minutes and let the terrorist know that Islam is not about Jihad, otherwise NF's are just like terrorist.

Democracy Lover said...

I think we have to put ourselves in the other guy's sandals for a second on this one. Let's suppose a major Islamic leader - say the top mullah in Iran, for example - made the statement that Christianity was a tragic and dangerous religion responsible for a lot of violence in the world. Do you think for a moment that such a statement would not be repeated ad nauseum by Faux News and others and roundly condemned by the Christian right in this country?

Of course it would. Comparing the Pope to Hitler is ridiculous and Godwin's rule should certainly apply here. However, I think we might have the guts to admit that some American "leader" - say Rick Santorum, or James Inhofe - might come out with an equally ridiculous statement if the hypothetical Iranian statement had been made?

What we need is a return to rational dialogue by all parties. The Pope needs to address the many problems of Catholicism instead of spouting off about Islam, and the "Turkish leader" needs to take a look at the problems of Turkey (say the Armenian genocide or the oppression of the Kurds, their sorry human rights record, etc.) instead of taking dumbass potshots at the Pope.

A great man once advised that we look at the beam in our own eye before addressing the speck in another's.

balmoral said...

Methinks Muslims protest too much. Their religion is interpreted by the Islamo-fascists as allowing the murder of innocent women and children ... yet they say nothing. Except when somebody draws a Mohammad cartoon or the Pope deliver s speech in which the roots of Islam are exposed as having evil subtexts. I don't think Islam is inherently evil, but I think common Muslims have allowed it to be hijacked by evil people, so in the spirit of this posting, I blame them for being "good Germans."

I'm sure somebody will compare George Bush to Osama or Hitler. But to be more analogous, at least Americans are protesting Bush. Muslims are silent on Osama and Hezbollah. Shame.

Chancelucky said...

I took the time to read the English translation of the Pope's speech at Regensburg. I'm not used to reading theology and this was an attempt to mix in discussions of Plato, Kant, the scientific method into a discussion of the relationship between the Western analytical tradition and Christian faith.

a) The Pope's general message was that the Hellenic tradition of reason and analysis (as opposed to the Hellenic tradition say in Herodotus) has a role to play in both Christianity and one's relation to God.

b) I will however say that the Pope's choice of exemplars was revealing and unfortunate. The Islamic countries are right. The Pope could have chosen any number of examples from that same time period to show the disconnect between reason and faith in Christianity and to suggest that there had been Christians who wanted to spread "their way" and "their book" by the sword instead of by reason.

He chose instead an Islamic example after noting that Mohammad's earlier Suras did not endorse the use of force.

If I can use an American analogy, the Pope seems to have pulled a Willie Horton. I do think this may have been inadvertent where Bush senior's Atwater inspired Horton campaign almost certainly was not, but revealing nonetheless.

I don't know that what the Pope did in Regensburg is something that should justify killing or destruction (that would be truly weird if one understand the entire context), but I do think it's reasonable to ask for an apology or at least a clarification.

It's interesting by the way to look at the Pope's speech and analyze the Administration's rhetoric about the war in Iraq in that light.

Gossett said...

I sick and tired of trying to understand the freaks of the Muslim world. They complain about being insulted, then start burning flags and effigies, and making threats like "We will kill you unless you convert to Islam." To me, it's starting to look as if the entire Muslim world and not just the fanatics is bloodthirsty. It wants to solve all conflicts by violence. I'd like to try to see things from their (twisted) perspective, but I ain't gonna do it until they show some of their own tolerance and willingness to understand. That's the good faith I expect before I enter the deal. Until then, they're not likely to gain a willing ear here.

Anonymous said...

MOGADISHU, Somalia (Reuters) -- Gunmen shot and killed an Italian nun at a children's hospital in Mogadishu on Sunday in an attack that drew immediate speculation of links to Muslim anger over the pope's recent remarks on Islam.


Yeah, that's the way to get sympathy and encourage tolerance and understanding.


Anonymous said...

The Pope has apologized, yet the Muslims continue to threaten, kill and protest uncontrollably. Maybe they're like Paris Hilton: They just look for reasons to party!

gohuskers said...


Islamic leaders HAVE said that Christianity is a violent, imperial religion that has trampled on human rights for 2,006 years. More than once.

"If one permits an infidel [Read, if you like, Christian]to continue in his role as a corrupter of the earth, his moral suffering will be all the worse. If one kills the infidel, and this stops him from perpetrating his misdeeds, his death will be a blessing to him.
Ayatollah Khomeini

While there must have been some grumbling and muddled outcry in the radical religious bloc, did Christians rise up, burn embassies worldwide, lynch effigies of Muslims, put out a contract on the offender, kill Muslim innocents walking down the street, demand a global apology (then ignore it), and generally lose control?


It seems like a good idea for world peace to walk a mile in the Muslims' sandals, but these days it appears nothing would come of it .... except we'd be one more mile off course. The Muslim world seems to react more with its gut that its head, and there seem to be no leaders who can (or will) convince them otherwise.

I agree, Democracy, that we must get back to a rational discourse and I hope the more rational leaders of the rather unsophisticated, underdeveloped and yes, uncivilized elements of the Middle East/Muslim World can rally their people to a more civilized approach. I doubt it, but there's always hope.