The Regensburg Lecture by James V. Schall
This slim volume reprints two expanded essays by Georgetown government professor Fr. James Schall languidly reflecting on Pope Benedict XVI's headline-making lecture from last fall (also included). As a bonus, the book adds an essay by Schall on the term "Islamo-fascism."
In the setting of a university, a place designed for inquiry without fear of reprisal, the pontiff asked the world: is God reasonable? If He is reasonable (or reason itself, as John the Evangelist wrote), then we can employ what we know by reason to know something about God and what he commands. For example, Benedict said, because we can know terrorism is evil, we know it cannot be commanded by the true God. Nevertheless, many Muslims have taught and continue to teach that Allah is pure chaotic will, able to be anything or to command anything no matter what the contradiction.
The pope laments that the contemporary West has rejected the Christian tradition, which teaches a harmony between Greek philosophy and biblical faith, and adopted instead modernity's narrowly conceived science, which is unable to inquire into the highest and most important questions of how to live well. Without engaging these questions, we cannot refute challenges to the good life either at home or abroad. And yet, those who reject reason still must give an account of themselves, writes Schall, which is itself an appeal to reason.
—John B. Kienker
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This article appeared in the Summer 2007 issue of the Claremont Review of Books