PopeWatch: Deviant Forms of Religion



“Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger – Allah has cursed them in this World and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating Punishment. Truly, if the Hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and those who stir up sedition in the City, desist not, We shall certainly stir thee up against them: Then will they not be able to stay in it as thy neighbours for any length of time: They shall have a curse on them: whenever they are found, they shall be seized and slain (without mercy).”

Quran 33:57–61

Pope Francis believes that he understands what motivated the terrorists who slew twelve in Paris last week:

Pope Francis on Monday denounced the religious fundamentalism that inspired the Paris massacres and ongoing Mideast conflicts, saying the attackers were enslaved by “deviant forms of religion” that used God as a mere ideological pretext to perpetuate mass killings.

In his annual foreign policy address to Vatican-based ambassadors, Francis called for a unanimous response from the international community to end “fundamentalist terrorism” in the Mideast. And he called for Muslim leaders in particular to condemn “extremist interpretations” of their faith that seek to justify such violence.

Francis said the Paris attacks were the result of a “throwaway culture” in which human beings and even God are rejected outright. Referring to the “tragic slayings” in Paris, Francis said those responsible had become “enslaved” by new fads and “deviant forms of religion.”

“Religious fundamentalism, even before it eliminates human beings by perpetrating horrendous killings, eliminates God himself, turning him into a mere ideological pretext,” he said.


Go here to read the rest.  One of the problems with this analysis is that the punishment of death for blasphemy is very much a mainstream Islamic belief, sanctified by passages in the Koran, and has a long history in the Islamic world.  It is no doubt useful to the Pope to pretend otherwise, but it is not accurate.


Koran-5.33. The recompense of those who fight against God and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth causing disorder and corruption: they shall (according to the nature of their crime) either be executed, or crucified, or have their hands and feet cut off alternately, or be banished from the land. Such is their disgrace in the world, and for them is a mighty punishment in the Hereafter.

Pope Francis’ comments against “fundamentalists” will resonate with secular liberals in the West, but will fall flat with muslims who are actually familiar with their faith and its history.


More to explorer


  1. “Enslaved by ‘deviant forms of religion'”

    One of Hegel’s better remarks was that one cannot liberate people whose consciences are enslaved. “Napoléon could no more coerce the Spanish into freedom than Philip II could force the Dutch into slavery.”

  2. I have heard an argument that those Muslims who do believe in equality of the sexes, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, democray, etc are kidding themselves about being able to reconcile those beliefs with thier faith. Frankly, I dont care which side in this global Sunni Islamic Civil War more correctly corresponds to what Mohammed wanted (im Catholic anyway, so as far as im concerned, at best, he was wrong about what he thought were divine messages). For the purposes of the West, all that matters is that the side that stands for the above mentioned values wins.

  3. Michael Paterson-Seymour: ““Enslaved by ‘deviant forms of religion’”
    One of Hegel’s better remarks was that one cannot liberate people whose consciences are enslaved. “Napoléon could no more coerce the Spanish into freedom than Philip II could force the Dutch into slavery.””

    At least Hegel believed in the existence of man’s conscience. With the advent of the new enlightenment of the atheist and his “Supreme Court religion of atheism” man, the world over, no longer believes in man’s conscience, that faculty of the human soul who through the Holy spirit, enlightens man, body and soul to the will of God and salvation.
    If Pope Francis throws man’s conscience under the bus at the United Nations, as already the enlightened world no longer believes in man’s conscience, and the Holy Spirit, let our consciences enlighten Pope Francis.

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