Sir, The Pope has made a distinction between Christian reason about God, and Islamic submission to a transcendent God ( reports and letters, Sept 16, 18, 19 and 20).
But the Church dealt harshly with Giordano Bruno and Galileo when they dared to reason.
Calvin denounced Servetus because he dared to reason about the divinity of Christ.
And that would be Michael Servetus (1511 - 1553). Whilst we are about it, do you know exactly how Calvin denounced Servetus? No? Here he is:
I neither hate you nor despise you; nor do I wish to persecute you; but I would be as hard as iron when I behold you insulting sound doctrine with so great audacity.
Does calling for the Pope's execution constitute a fervent wish not to persecute him? No? So what's your point then?
Today the Baptists demand the same submission to the Bible as Muslims do to the Koran.
And? Not even the Pope insists that the Bible is the literal, direct and unalterable word of God. There are some clues in the titles of the main books: "The Gospel According to St. Luke". As such Christianity is open to critical interpretation in a manner that is often treated as the worst heresy by Islam if applied to the Koran.
The Book of Common Prayer threatens any "publick Reader in either of Our Universities . . . or any other person in either of them", who dares to question the 39 articles.
"Either of Our Universities"? What about Hull?
Darwin delayed publication of the ideas in Origin of Species for 20 years because he feared denunciation by clerics.
And? Your point is? Specifically as relevant to the attitude of Christianity to scientific enquiry NOW, as opposed to 200 or more years ago.
With the second letter, what one gains on the swings of brevity is blithely cast away on the roundabouts of more concentrated stupidity:
Sir, If Islam had a co-ordinated hierarchy (such as the papacy) leading the religion, perhaps we would have less violence. Maybe this is the time for Islam to consider the reintroduction of the caliphate, or its modern-day equivalent ( letters, Sept 15), so that Islam can provide a united front to the world.
DAVID E. MICHAEL
The swords of the Prophet, as well as those of the caliphs, signify that they were real people living in a real, very hostile world. The swords were used to defend the fledgeling Muslim community from a tidal wave of aggression unleashed upon it by a pagan society. It is easy to level allegations of aggression on someone fighting for his rights against great odds.