Faith Needs Reason, But Also Love, Says Expert

Interfaith Panel Revisits Regensburg Lecture

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RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 26, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Without love, faith will fall short of its goal, and reason will lack a foundation, concluded a professor of Islamic sciences during an interreligious reflection on Benedict XVI's Regensburg address.



Wa'il Farouq, a professor of Islamic Sciences at the Coptic-Catholic Faculty of Sakini in Cairo, said this Wednesday during the Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples, organized in Rimini by the Communion and Liberation Movement.

The discussion titled "God Saves Reason" touched on the topic of the Pope's lecture last Sept. 12 at the University of Regensburg.

The address was criticized by some Muslim circles for not shedding a favorable light on Islam or the prophet Mohammed.

Farouq said that he agrees with the Pontiff's reflections on fundamentalist religion and violence: "Nihilism and fundamentalism agree in their scorn for God and man: the former because it denies the truth, the latter because it wants to impose the truth."

"This is where violence is born," Farouq explained. "Violence that can be overcome by the commandment to love."

"Reason," he claimed, "is a relation based on love: Without love, faith itself does not reach its goal."

Farouq then pointed out that Mohammed wrote: "You will not be brothers until you love each other."

Reasonableness

Sari Nusseibeh explained that "the Islamic tradition has been as much impregnated with the rational spirit as Christianity" and for this reason "Islam, Christianity and Judaism are a single strand that expresses itself in different ways."

For Nusseibeh, president of Al Quds University in Jerusalem, "the problem that Benedict XVI touched upon does not have to do with reason as such, but with reasonableness, which means living [one's faith] with moderation."

Nusseibeh added that "there are no fanatical religions only fanatical people."

"I am a person of faith because I am a reasonable person," the president of Al Quds University observed, "this is the happy marriage between the message of Benedict XVI and that of Monsignor Luigi Giussani," the founder of Communion and Liberation.

Joseph Weiler, who holds the European Union Jean Monnet Chair at New York University School of Law, complimented the Pontiff on his "courageous lecture" at Regensburg, noting that "respect is not demonstrated nor is it earned by compromises on the nucleus of one's own faith."

Weiler, a Jew, invited Christians to not live their religion only in the private sphere, and asserted that "the relationship between Europe and Christianity cannot be erased and no one, Christian or not, European or not, would have anything to gain if this link were to be broken."

He added: "There is no Europe without Christianity, nor Christianity without Europe. The Church would not be the same were it to lose its European roots."