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Religious Freedom: Why now? Discussion with Robert P George

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Event Name: Religious Freedom: Why now? Discussion with Robert P George
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 5/28/2019
Transcript Version: 1


Transcript Text

- You know, often when my friends learn

of my friendship with Hamza, and our collaboration together,

I'll say a little bit about that,

before we begin our conversation.

People will say something like,

well isn't it great, he's terrific, isn't it great that he's

such a good influence in the Muslim American Community.

Well, yes, it's great that he's a great influence

in the Muslim American community, as Rabbi Sacks

is a great influence in the Jewish community,

and Richard Newhouse was such a great influence

in the Christian community.

But like Rabbi Sacks, and like Richard John Newhouse,

Humza is a person who transcends his own tradition.

From whom, Christians and Jews,

and not just Muslims, can learn.

I want Humza to have an even greater influence,

not just in the Islamic community, but in America,

among Christians, and Jews, people of every faith,

and even those of no faith at all.

So that's why it's such a very special honor for me,

Humza says equals, no.

With Humza, I really feel, as with Richard,

or when I'm with Rabbi Sacks,

like I'm in the presence of greatness.

Humza and I have been able to work together on some projects

and I hope we'll work together on many more.

We met, I think, Humza can correct me if I'm wrong.

We met when we got together at a very important conference

that was hosted by the Witherspoon Institute,

on the social costs of pornography.

For several generations now,

it has been fashionable, to say, and widely

accepted, if not believed, if you catch my drift, that

pornography, if it's a vice at all,

is a private vice.

Not a vice that the public should be concerned about.

But it turns out,

that pornography exacts from us, enormous social costs.

And so, Humza and I found ourselves gathered together,

with psychologists, and psychiatrists.

With counselors, with people who deal every day

with the carnage left in the wake

of the massive pornography industry, that we now have

in this country, and more broadly.

And Humza gave, on that occasion, a remarkable,

amazing speech, a philosophical speech,

making a philosophical contribution.

Yes, from an Islamic point of view, as he should.

But one that had lessons in it for me, as a Christian,

for our Jewish participants, for every single soul

who was there.

For our psychiatrists, and our psychologists.

We have so much to learn from each other.

And listening to Humza, is the evidence for me,

of how much we have to learn from the great minds,

the great thinkers in the Muslim community.

Then a couple of years ago,

I had the pleasure of inviting Humza,

and he accepted our invitation, to come and speak

at our annual Respect Life Sunday Service,

in the Princeton University Chapel,

the magnificent Princeton University Chapel.

Princeton was founded by Presbyterians,

but they must have been pretty high church Presbyterians.

You've seen our chapel, it looks like a great European

Cathedral.

For the the past almost decade, we've been recognizing,

observing a Respect Life Sunday,

and a major Interfaith Service in the chapel.

Humza was our first Muslim speaker, at one of our services.

He has now been, there's now a succession of them,

including the great Suzy Ismail, who gave a wonderful speech

at our Respect Life Sunday Service last year.

But Humza gave the most moving and profound speech,

that has been given at those services,

over the years.

I remember it so clearly, he began by chanting beautifully,

so beautifully in Arabic.

And then, speaking in English, for all of us to hear.

It also introduced me to the status, the reputation

that Humza enjoys in the Muslim community.

It's hard to fill the sanctuary of that chapel,

but it was filled by Muslims, who had learned, and heard

that Humza was going to be in town, and preaching at the,

speaking at the,

at the service.

And it was just a wonderful thing, to see the esteem

in which he's held, by the Muslim community.

So have I flattered you enough, Humza, yeah?

- I feel like such a fraud, right now.

(laughing)

I think I'm gonna get arrested in a few minutes.

- No it's all, it's all true, and it's just such a pleasure

to have my dear friend here with me.

Now since I'm in the David Frost role,

I'd like to open our discussion, although,

Humza, please say anything, you like.

I'd like to open it, by going to the very

foundations of our thought about Religious Freedom.

Those of you who heard my philosophical

treatment of the problem today, will not be surprised

that I think that, at the foundations,

we find the concept of the dignity of the human being.

We respect people's rights, including,

in the very first place, the right to religious freedom.

Because we believe that every human being,

irrespective of culture, or class, or religion,

wealth, status, every human being

has

fundamental, inherent, worth and dignity.

No human being is a mere clog in the social wheel,

to be sacrificed for the sake of

the state, or the father land, or the Fuhrer,

or the people, or even the faith.

We believe that every human being is special,

and has dignity.

In the Jewish and Christian traditions, Humza, we would

understand theologically, the dignity of the human being,

to be rooted in

the belief

that man, each of us, is made in the very image,

and likeness of God.

This is taught to us in Genesis.

We can give a philosophical account, because

that fact, of our being made in the image

and likeness of God, manifests itself in certain ways.

I mean, after all, God...

You can't say we're made in the image and likeness of God,

in the sense, that God has five fingers on each of

two hands, and hair on his head, and a nose.

- Right. - Right?

No.

Rather,

we are God-like in our possession of

the capacities, the powers for reason and freedom.

Like God, we are capable of causing things, we have freedom,

we're capable of causing things, we're not cause to cause.

We're capable of functioning, unlike brute animals,

not simply on instinct, or impulse,

but by deliberation, judgment, and choice.

But the account of that, that might be affirmed

even by a secular person, that the account of why,

or how that is the case, not whether it's the chase,

that's clear, but how that's the case.

Is that scriptural teaching, about man being made

in the image and likeness of God,

how would you address it theologically,

from the Islamic point of view?

- Right.

(words spoken in foreign language).

First of all, the reason why we hit it off, actually,

is because in my talk I quoted Randy Travis.

(laughing)

And immediately, I had a friend, because Rob is, you know,

is a great Bluegrass musician, and my brother

is probably one of the best Dobro players on the West Coast.

I grew up with Bluegrass music, so we knew,

we had all this immediate, the Stanley Brothers, and

Earl Scruggs, and... (laughs)

I actually knew to--

- He keeps outing me, he keeps on--

- I see, he played a banjo tune for the whole audience,

that day, and I thought it was Earl's breakdown.

But he was so impressed, that I just knew that it was

adjustable tuning, that was going on.

- It was the Flint Hill Special.

- Yeah, Flint Hill Special.

(chuckling)

This issue

about the image of God,

the imago,

that is really central to the Christian tradition.

This is an area that the Muslim theologians dealt with a lot

because of the anthropomorphism, that is obviously

one of the dangers in that idea.

And as you mentioned, it's not the physical image,

because as Saint Thomas Aquinas, and all the great

Catholic theologians made it very clear,

that God was not limited in time and space.

But in the Islamic tradition, there's a Hadith that says,

that God created the (foreign language),

the Merciful created man in his own image.

And they have a lot of debate about

what that tradition means.

But the dominant opinion amongst

classical Muslim theologians, and obviously

there's some anthropomorphic traditions in Islam.

In fact, what's called the (foreign language)

tradition tends to have a very anthropomorphic

idea about that tradition.

So they will argue, that God's actually

in the direction up, and they demand...

I was once surrounded by a group in Saudi Arabia,

I was in Medina, of young students,

some of them were American students that were studying there

and they surrounded me, demanding that I assert

that God was up, like physically (laughs) up there.

And I said to them, I told them, I said, "You know,

"do you concede that the Earth is round?".

And they said, "Yes".

And I said, "Well, you know, where do you point

"if you're on the other side of the planet,

"what do they do?". (laughs)

And that definitely confused them a little bit.

(laughing)

The theologians argue that we're created

in the metaphysical image of God, and there are

20 attributes that are considered necessary for God,

to believe that God, the One, is Aseity,

which the Catholics assert also.

The idea that God is a being unto himself,

he does not need anything

outside of his own essence, to exist.

And then, the idea of firstness without beginning,

lastness without end, and it goes on.

But the seven

attributes

of life, of

sight, of hearing,

that he's (foreign language) that God speaks.

So sight, life, hearing, speech, and that he sees

everything.

The seven attributes, the theologians argue

that these attributes manifest in the human being,

as a way of approximating the understanding of God to Man.

That we know that God is all seeing,

because he has limited our sight, and yet,

he can speak to us, and tell us that he's all seeing.

And the fact that we have sight, enables us

to understand what that means.

Even though, you know, in Mathematics they say

any number over infinity, is canceled out.

And so, any temporal attribute of a contingent being,

in relation to the atemporal reality of an absolute being,

that's not contingent, is canceled out.

We can't say, we see, but we can't say

we see like God.

But when God says, he is the all hearing, or the all

seeing, the all hearing, or the omniscient,

the all powerful.

We know what power is, because we have been given

this limited power, contingent power,

that enables us to understand that concept.

The Muslims agree with the Jews, and the Christians

on that principle, but with that caveat,

that it has to be understood...

We have a, the Christian's call it, the Catholics call it

the via negativa, right?

- Yes, that's right. - In theology,

that we believe that it's easier to say what God is not,

than to say what God is.

And the Muslim theologians say, that anything

that will occur to your mind, God is other than that.

And so, in the end, there's

the inconceivability of God, for the human intellect.

And in fact, there's a tradition, the Prophet Muhammad said,

never reflect on the essence of God,

but reflect on the gifts that God has given you,

the blessings.

And we know that mathematicians like George Cantor, who

attempted to even penetrate

infinity.

Most of these mathematicians have gone mad.

I mean literally, Cantor ended up in a straight-jacket.

That the human being cannot contemplate infinity.

Even an actual, actual infinity,

which mathematicians talk about, as opposed to an absolute.

God's essence is impenetrable, for the human intellect.

- The relationship between faith and reason.

In Christianity, there are a spectrum of views about that,

as is true, I'm told by my friend Rabbi David Novak,

within in Judaism.

But on the Catholic side of that spectrum, and also

for some Protestants, and for some Jews,

it is thought that there is a fundamental harmony,

and not only a harmony, but a

mutual necessity, of faith and reason, or revelation

and reason.

Pope John Paul II opens his great Encyclical,

on faith and reason, called Fides et ratio,

faith and reason, with an image.

He says that faith and reason are like two wings,

on which the human spirit ascends to

contemplation of the truth.

He worries,

and this is very much in line with the Catholic side

of the Christian tradition, that too great an emphasis,

and an over emphasis on reason, leads to fideism.

- Right. - And of course...

On faith, I'm sorry, an over emphasis on faith

leads to fideism.

The belief that what we can know,

especially in the ethical domain, is limited to

what God especially reveals.

And if you make the opposite error, too great a faith

and reason, you get rationalism,

which ends up being reductive,

and turns on itself, to eliminate the possibility

of any knowledge, at all.

Do we find a spectrum within Islam, on the question

of the relationship of faith and reason?

And from your own perspective, as an Islamic thinker,

how do you understand that relationship?

- You know, I think one of the major problems that happened

a few years back, when the Pope gave the famous talk.

- Oh, the Regensburg.

- Right, the Regensburg talk, in Germany.

And he quoted, he was actually quoting

one of the last Emperors, of the Byzantine, before

Istanbul, Constantinople fell,

I think he was about 90 years before the fall.

And he was quoting him, about the irrational nature

of Islam, and then he quoted a Muslim theologian,

Ibin Hazam, who's an Anderocian thelogian

from the 5th Islamic Century.

There's definitely been, as you know,

in Christianity, and in

Judaism, there are strains that are,

that are anti-rational.

And you find that within the Islamic tradition.

And historically, the Muslims had a fundamental crisis,

between this idea of what they called naql and aql.

Naql is what the revelation is that's transmitted,

and aql is the intellect, and how it grapples with

the revelation, so reason and revelation,

and the interchange between these two.

And this became one of the fundamental debates,

in the early Islamic tradition.

And there was a school, called the Mutazilite,

that are the rationalists, that argued that

religion has to be consistent with reason, at all times.

And they took an Aristotelian position, that if

it could not be justified rationally,

then we would reject it.

And the counter to that, were two schools.

One was a traditionalist school, that argued,

that reason doesn't have any place, we just simple accept

what's been given to us,

and the intellect will just lead us astray.

This school was a very small minority school, that now,

a modern version of that school is what we find,

for instance, in some of the

extremist traditions today.

And certainly, in some of the positions in Arabia.

But I would not lump all of the Saudi scholars together,

it's very dangerous to do that.

There are some very enlightened Saudi Scholars,

even within what's called the Wahhabin tradition.

They don't like to be called Wahhabees.

Even within that tradition, and I have friends from

that tradition, but some of those

scholars are, it's unbelievable what they come up with,

because of their rejection of reason.

Logic is forbidden in their school, to teach.

Whereas, in the dominant strain of Islamic tradition,

you have

a balance.

And they talk about the two wings, also,

of faith and reason, and the importance that in fact,

Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, one of the greatest theologians

of Islamic history, there's a verse in the Quran

called the Light Verse, and it said that God sends us,

this revelation down, and then it says light upon light.

And he argues, that it's reason upon revelation.

That if you don't have the light of reason,

to interact with revelation, you're blinded

by the Light of God, as opposed to guided by it.

That you need your own reason, to enable you to see

with the Light of God.

That revelation without reason blinds you,

it does not enable you to see the truth.

And this becomes the dominant position,

and this is what taught...

I studied Aristotelian logic

with West African scholars.

I mean, they still are very committed

to the Aristotelian tradition.

They haven't really had the additions that Bacon,

or John Stuart Mill, or others have added

to the logical tradition.

And they certainly, have no idea of symbolic logic,

or some or the madness that modern logic has.

And I'm not saying that flippantly, I mean, I just,

the fact that we've,

we've removed logic from tra...

Even in law school, they no longer study,

in most law schools, they don't study formal logic.

The inability to understand...

The Arabs, what I was talking about

with one of my Logical teachers, he said,

that the foundation of understanding is that is,

he said, it's first tasorl, conceptualization,

and then he said it's hookum, judgment.

And then he said, and then's it's reasoning with those,

those two, that you need those two tools

to do the third.

And then he said, but the hookum Is based on...

The ruling, the judgment about a thing,

is based on it's conceptualization.

And then he gave me this principle, (foreign language)

(foreign languag).

Which means, before you can judge a thing, you must grasp

and understand it, in all of it's understandable dimensions.

And so, this is the idea of really teaching people

how to think, defining terms,

understanding how we can reason.

I mean, this is the great gift that we've been given,

the ability to reason, arguments.

The Quran uses many arguments.

There's a book written by a great theologian,

Imam Jafer e Sadiq called (foreign language)

which means the sound standard or balance,

and he argues in there, that he refutes those

who reject the logic, saying that God himself

uses reasoning in the Quran, usually in the form

of enthymemes, right?

But they are solid logistic, in their basic structures.

All of my teachers were very committed to

a rational understanding, and the idea, like

when I taught, I taught theology last year, and we read,

we read the traditional the Kalam Cosmological Argument,

for the existence of God, which is the great contribution

of Muslim theologians.

Even now, to Western tradition, because

the primary book we use, was written by a Christian scholar

who used the Kalam Cosmological Argument,

because it's a very sophisticated form

of the traditional cosmological argument.

And so, they were really struck by that.

And when we dealt with the new atheist,

I mean, the thing that I tried to point out, was

that the new atheist, they're reasoning is so shallow,

they're not...

Nietzsche was a much better atheist,

- Oh, yeah, yeah. - than these modern...

I mean, if you've ever read Nietzsche,

Nietzsche was the only guy that ever, in my experience

in reading, I felt like he grabbed my spine,

my religious spine, and just shook it.

- Everything's gone to pot, including atheism.

It's so much better-- - Exactly, exactly.

Yeah, no, much better atheists, much better theologians.

We're now waxing nostalgic, you know, the past...

I mean, even Georgetown, look at the students.

You know, seriously, and I tell the...

I was at a college, because I teach

at a junior college, I'm teaching a class

with another teacher.

And they were asking about, you know,

oh, doesn't Saudi Arabia claim to be the only true religious

state

in the Muslim world?

And I said, well, don't you all claim to be students?

I mean, does a claim really mean anything?

(laughing)

(laughing)

I said, I know you're all smoking dope,

and doing your Gameboys.

You're not reading the books, we know,

we can tell from the tests.

(laughing)

(laughing)

- Being a Catholic, I'm not quite as strong

on my scriptures, as I should be.

But I believe, Mike Harmony can correct me, if I'm wrong,

and will, I'm sure,

that it's our common spiritual father, Abraham,

who argues with God.

He begins with a negotiation, right?

- Right, yes-- - About Sodom and Gomorrah.

But he doesn't just negotiate--

- That's in the Quran, too, by the way.

- He makes an argument. - He makes an argument.

- He essentially--

- Give me 10 righteous people.

- Well, there's the bargaining, but then, the argument is,

you wouldn't want it to be said, of the God of all creation,

that he would do an injustice. - Yes.

- You know, it's contrary to the nature of,

to the nature of,

nature of God. - We have the same argument.

- At that Regensburg

speech, which caused so much controversy,

but also then, I think, generated--

- A lot of dialog, I think he...

I actually met the Pope, because of it.

- Yeah, you were one of the 38--

- We met, and he got like completely shocked, because...

And he was very gracious, he actually

stayed on the same level as the Muslim interlocutor,

that represented the Muslim.

So he didn't, he wasn't raised on a dais.

But he came down, and greeted each one of us,

and really connected, and spent like 30 seconds.

Which is a lot of time, when you're meeting the Pope,

you know, 30 seconds. - That's right. (laughs)

- I was really struck, first of all,

by how poorly he photographs.

He actually has a very soft face, that really,

when I met him personally, it really came through.

But I told him, I said, "Listen, I have a mother-in-law

"that I've got problems with, because

"her daughter married me, and she's a Catholic.

"So I think I can solve this problem,

"if you would just pray for her".

(laughing)

- Never miss an opportunity.

- And his eyes just lit up, they really did.

And he said a prayer, in Latin, by the way.

I had four years of Latin.

He said a prayer in Latin, for her.

When I told her that, I am just like in like Flynn.

I have no problems, you know.

I've solved all of my problems.

(laughing)

So she's got, she's Mexican Catholic,

a really devout Mexican American.

But she's got a picture of me meeting the Pope,

that everybody that comes in the house,

"That's my son-in-law".

"I don't care if he's Muslim, or what".

(laughing)

(laughing)

So anyway, that--

- The thing the Pope was concerned about,

it's interesting the way the thing came up,

the faith and reason issue, directed toward

the engagement with the Muslim world,

if I'm recalling correctly.

Of course, the debate over fideism within Christianity,

is a long standing debate.

The Reformation has a lot,

a lot to do with that.

But his concern, express concern was,

that when religion is not, as he put it, purified,

that's the term he used, at least it's the translation

into English, I believe he was speaking in German,

was purified.

That unless religion is purified by reason,

it can degenerate into violence.

So that's where that, so he sees reason as...

Let aside, the merits of the argument about Islam, but

he sees reason as necessary to religion,

as part of religion, and not something apart from it,

for the sake of humane,

compassionate values, peaceful values.

- Anyways, I can agree with him, I mean,

he's absolutely right on that, yeah.

I think Asimov's remark, that violence is

the last refuge of the incompetent, and that

it's lack of reason, that leads to that inability to deal

with the problems.

And I think what's happening in the Muslim world today,

the social problems are so great.

We're talking about religious freedom, right?

Which is a serious problem.

And it is, in the Muslim world.

On a lot of different levels, like he was talking about,

intra-religious debate, because within the Muslim community

there are people that actually will deal better

with interfaith, than they will with intrafaith.

Like they'll actually be able to talk to Christians

and Jews, with respect, and mutual tolerance, and dignity.

- That's true in all religions.

- Well, I think, but it's a problem.

- It is a problem in all religions.

- It's a type of stupidity, because...

First of all, human differences, we will never agree.

You know, the Arabs, and Mutanabbi is a great Arab poet,

he said, "Man will never agree on anything, accept

"that they disagree, and death".

And then he says, "But even in death, they disagree,

"because some say, the soul dies with the body,

"and others say, the soul goes on after the body.

"So even in death, men differ".

So, you know, this idea that we can somehow construct...

And this is the Utopian fantasy, of every

ideology, that we can kind of construct society

in a uniform image.

There's nothing in nature, that's uniform.

Nature is, it's not chaotic,

but it's extremely diverse, and it has a chaotic element

in it, I mean, from our perspective.

So this idea, that we have to regiment people.

I mean, I believe in a magisterium, I do.

I think that religion does need, because of the dangers

inherent in religious belief.

Because, you know, nothing is done more heinous,

than when it's done in the name of religion.

It's very easy for good people to do evil things,

has been noted by many people, because of religion.

And so, when you're dealing with religion...

This is one of the issues with freedom of religion

in the Muslim world.

Jordan, I mean, I'm very familiar

with the situation in Jordan.

Jordan does issue a weekly

sermon, that all the Imams give in the Mosque.

And every Imam, every mosque has like a secret police,

in most of the, I would probably say, almost all

of the Muslim countries,

monitoring the Imam's statements.

Now, part of that, for me, it's deeply troubling.

I would like to see like here, I'm able to get up

and say whatever I want, in the masjid

I mean, now we have FBI monitoring some of the masjids.

Generally, I'm not gonna get,

the FBI's not gonna come and arrest me, for what I'm saying.

They might mark down, that he said some things

against the government, or whatever.

- But that would happen throughout the Arab world?

- Well, in the Arab world, if you say certain things,

and some of them, yeah, large parts of the Muslim world,

you will end up in jail the same day,

if you say certain things.

One of the things about Americans,

and I think Western people in general, is this idea of

freedom, how we define the term.

Because it's, as you know, it's a very problematic term,

especially as a legal theorist, you know

the relationship between law and freedom is a very

nebulous one.

- I've written a couple of books on that.

- Exactly, yeah.

- In fact, they're on your reading list, on your website,

for which, I thank you.

- We have one of the great

legal theorists, and you do have the

Hadley Marcus. - Hadley Marcus.

- I mean, I would love to have him up here, instead of me.

You know, this idea...

Mortimer Adler, who wrote this in topic on essays,

and they identified that University of Chicago project,

identified 102 great ideas, and freedom was one of them.

When he founded the Institute of Philosophical Research

back in the 50s, the first great idea that they decided

to do, they never got beyond it, because it took so long.

But the first idea they decided to investigate, was freedom.

And they wrote a two volume work, that I think

maybe one or two people have read, on freedom,

but it was identifying the different types of freedom.

You know, moral freedom, in this country,

we don't talk about moral freedom.

Like

the ability to be free to control your akrasias.

- St. Paul. - Exactly!

The ability to control...

We have political leaders, that lose their careers,

because they don't have moral freedom.

They're unable to freely act, they submit

to their own lower tendencies.

And so, moral freedom is just absent

from this talk about freedom.

Freedom in America becomes licentiousness,

and the idea that it's the freedom to do whatever I want,

as long as I don't hurt anybody.

That's always the nice caveat.

Not recognizing that, for instance,

in the case of pornography, we now know that there's

a great deal of statistical evidence, that indicates

that people that engage in pornography,

over long periods of time, end up in pedophilia.

They end up watching pedophilic

images,

which, as you know, anybody in a society

that wants to maintain the fabric of a society,

to hold it together, has be be deeply concerned

by evidence like that.

And just say, look, this can't just be about

what I do in the privacy of my home.

We also know that a lot of the films are made by

organized crime.

A lot of the women, that are in these films,

are actually in sexual slavery, which we have,

literally, millions of people now engaged

- all over the world. - All of this came out,

in the conference. - Exactly!

There are deep issues about this.

So when we look in the Muslim world, I understand,

and the Jordanian example,

that it used to be, that scholars were allowed to say

whatever they wanted.

This was when the great teaching institutions

of AlAzhar, of (foreign language),

of Zaytuna, that were producing these world class scholars.

In the colonial period, a lot of these institutions

broke down, their funding was absconded,

there was a lot of malfeasance, there a lot of problems

that came about.

These institutions lost their credibility.

They became part of government

control.

And so, AlAzhar went under the government.

It used to be an independent

organization, but it went under the government.

And so, you got the scholars for dollars,

the people that were, you know, under,

they were being paid by the state,

and they lost their independence, and their freedom.

But these men, and the women also,

that were involved in this, were people

that were committed to a balanced, moderate tradition,

in Islam, recognizing that social order

was extremely important.

And so, you had very responsible sermons on Friday.

What happened in the 60s, 70s, and 80s,

when you got this transition to the weekend scholars,

because of the high literacy that emerges

in the Muslim world.

And suddenly, you have people reading.

As you know,

St. Augustine wrote on Christian doctrine,

arguing that the Liberal Arts was necessary,

that you had to be a liberal artist, to read the Bible.

You have to know what a conditional sentence is,

you have to know what the subjunctive mood is,

if you're gonna read a book that purports to be from God.

If you haven't studied Grammar,

if you haven't studied rhetoric,

if you haven't studied logic, than it's very dangerous

to open up a book, believing this is from God.

Years ago, when I was, I did a rotation in an Insane Asylum,

I wasn't in there as a patient.

(laughing)

I did a rotation in an Insane Asylum, and there was this guy

he was a Manic Depressive, and he had gone,

he had a psychotic episode, because he read in the Bible,

stay awake and keep vigil.

And he took it literally.

And he stopped sleeping.

And he went into this psychotic episode.

So I was, you know, talking to him about this, and I said,

"Did you ever think that that might actually have been

"more like metaphorical, that it meant like

"stay awake, and keep vigil,

"not all the time, but just when you're awake,

"and be aware that there's danger."

And then, he said, "No, I didn't think of that".

And it was, this kind of light went off, on this poor man.

But we have people reading books,

that are very dangerous books.

I mean, the Quran is a dangerous book.

The Bible is a dangerous book, these are not easy books,

and in the wrong hands, I think, they cause

an immense amount of harm.

I mean, the metaphor that I would use,

to use an economic metaphor, we have externalities, right?

In economics, you have a company that will do something

for a primary reason, but then, it has these externalities.

Now, there's positive externalities,

and negative externalities.

So suddenly, they're polluting the river, do you know?

And then, people downstream start having birth defects.

The people want that corporation responsible

for those externalities.

Well, we tend to forget, that religion has externalities.

You know, there's toxic side effects, of religion.

And as religious people, I think we need to take

more responsibility, for the toxic externalities.

I can't, as an individual, say, "Look, I'm responsible

"for Bin Laden, and what he did".

But I have to acknowledge, that there's a strain

of thinking, within the Islamic tradition,

that is incredibly dangerous.

And if it's not marginalized, if it's not, in the same way

that we would deal with a nuclear power,

because religion is like nuclear power,

it's incredibly clean, and it's,

it will illuminate houses, at much cheaper,

and less harmful effects, than

petroleum, and other energy sources.

But, it has toxic

that waste.

And if you don't have some way of dealing with that,

then you have meltdowns.

- I've never thought of that analogy.

We do want to have some time for Q&A;, but there are two,

I want to a little lightening round with you, first, Hamza.

I don't know if David Frost every talked about

lightening rounds.

There are two issues that I--

- What's the first thing you think, when I say?

- Yeah, right.

- The poor candidates, you know.

Like, how would you describe yourself?

- Or, do you prefer deep dish, or thin crust?

Here are the questions.

One has to do with

the impact of

Islam on America.

And the other, with America on Islam.

So let's start in reverse order.

- Okay.

- That document that I referred to so frequently today,

in my prepared remarks, Dignitatis Humanae

of the Second Vatican Council.

I believe was only made possible, because of

the American experience, of religious liberty.

And the work of American thinkers, above all,

the Jesuit thinker, John Courtney Murray,

who for all I know, might have been

at Georgetown, I'm not sure.

But anyway, he was a very distinguished Jesuit thinker,

who for awhile,

was required by the Church, not to publish his work.

He could continue doing it, but the Church wasn't quite sure

about his robust conception of religion liberty,

that he was advancing.

Not quite having yet disentangled their idea

of religious liberty, from French Revolutionary ideology,

which these European prolets associated it,

not quite gotten hold of the American idea.

But Murray, in the end, prevailed, and his prevailing

wasn't the achievement of one man, it was really

the transmitting of the experience of America,

with a non-French Revolutionary version

of religious liberty.

One that was pro-religion, that was friendly to religion,

that supported religion, that enabled the church

to move from a limited, and cramped idea

of religious liberty, to the robust idea.

Is something like that...

Will the work of American Muslims, and the experience

of Muslims in America, have that impact

on Islam internationally?

- I totally believe that.

I mean, one of the most interesting things about Muslim,

Muslims in America, is that for the first time,

a lot of these immigrants, have never had to like

build a mosque, because the state does all this stuff,

where they come from.

And so, suddenly it's the idea, you know, self-reliance.

The American virtue

becomes part and parcel of the Muslim immigrant experience

in this country.

Of having to have fundraisers, and do these things.

Because in Muslim countries, it's all controlled

by the state.

And so, the state builds the mosque,

the state runs the mosque.

I mean, there's still areas where that's not totally true,

and I was in a few of them.

But, generally, that is the case.

There's an immense amount of strength, that comes

with this separation.

And I mean, my own personal experience, I really believe

that the conflation of state and religion,

is the worst thing that can happen to religion.

Because it deracinates religion of it's spiritual sources.

It really, you know, sterilizes the,

the religion, it has a horrible affect on people.

Which is why you see so many people sleeping

in these Friday sermons,

throughout the Muslim world.

And then, the passivity it creates,

because people aren't forced to have to think about things.

- Well, it hasn't done much for England,

to have an established church, in recent years.

I mean, that's certainly--

- Yeah, England, I think it's such a unique, I mean,

I think, we underestimate the impact that having

a world war on their continent had on them.

We didn't have, we lost a lot of people, my Father

was a World War II Veteran.

And he came back, fortunately.

But we lost a lot of people on the continent.

All those cities were destroyed.

I mean, people really, you know,

their faith was shaken to the core,

with World War I, and then II.

They had a devastating impact on them.

- There's not doubt about that, but it seems

that the people who were most eager to disestablish

the Church of England, are not the secularists,

and people who are hostile to religion.

- The very-- - It's the Anglican people.

Exactly, when it-- There are religious people

who think that this is--

- It's gotta stop. - They say, what you say,

that it deracinates religion, that it makes if proforma,

and so forth.

But then, shifting now to the second.

The impact of Islam on the United States.

Catholics have had a major impact on the United States,

Jews have had a major impact.

Obviously, Protestants, the original European settlers, did.

Muslims, and not just extremists.

And not just Muslims abroad, although them too.

But American Muslims do worry,

especially raising their children, about this issue

that you mentioned, of licentiousness.

- Okay.

- We don't hear a lot of...

From you we do, but we don't hear a lot from others,

about

these kinds of moral issues.

- Right.

- And I think that's probably because

as was the case with other minorities in the past,

especially recent arrivals, they are very concerned with

prejudice against them. - Right.

- With dealing with being in a new place.

With wanting to seem as though we're not outsiders,

we're not hostile, we're not dangerous.

But my hope is, and your own work

leads me to think this hope

is a reasonable one.

Is that, Muslims will join with Protestants, and Catholics,

and Jews, who are faithful,

in the moral renewal of our culture.

Is that a reasonable hope?

- First, you know, I want to just take a historical stab.

Who would say was the most influential

philosopher on the Founding Fathers?

- On the Founding Fathers? - Yeah.

- Well, it's interesting, like the standard answer

to that question, is Locke.

But when Jefferson wrote his famous letter to Henry Lee,

in 1823, near the end of his life,

he

said,

that he drew the inspiration, the content

of the Declaration of Independence, not for any one thinker,

but from, Hadley can help me here,

the standard books of political right.

And then, he listed four or five names, and then said, etc.

And they were Aristotle, Cicero,

- Yeah, great. - Sidney, Locke, etc.

- This is what's wrong with asking an academic a question,

because he was just supposed to say John Locke.

(laughing)

- Well, this is a lightening round, so it's Locke!

- Yeah, okay, so John Locke.

A lot of people don't know that John Locke

actually wanted to do Islamic studies,

and that one of his main influences, was Edward Pococke.

And the Pococke Library is in Oxford today,

with 400 Arabic manuscripts, because Pococke was his teacher

at Oxford, and Pococke had studied in Syria

for several years, and actually became a scholar,

a notable Muslim scholar.

Not a Muslim scholar, but a very good scholar of Islam.

He was a Christian when he returned.

And one of the things that he promoted, was Unitarianism,

which is why Locke converts to Unitarianism,

and he also promoted toleration, because he thought

that the Muslims had really solved the problem

of religious plurality. - This is Pococke?

- Pococke, yes.

- Locke had a more limited tolerance.

- Absolutely.

But I think the impact that he had on Locke, is real.

And so, I think the Muslims that Islamic tradition

has had an impact already, and it's an area that needs

a lot of research, and investigation,

but I think that there's room for that.

In terms of modern, the modern situation,

one of the things that's so striking,

is wherever you go now, you will see Muslims

in some of the best universities in the United States.

And I know you've got several students yourself.

A lot of them are very committed to

a moral life.

They might not be, you know, as devotional

as a really committed Muslim would be.

But they're raised in environments with, usually,

a very strong family, solid families.

The divorce rate is much lower in immigrants,

than it is in the community at large.

I think they're gonna really begin to have major impacts,

because they've just got so many advantages,

over a lot of the...

In many ways, I think we mirror a lot of the Jewish

communities experience, in the United States.

So a lot of the...

I always tell the Muslims now, like first of all,

you don't know what persecution is, so don't say

you're persecuted in America.

I mean, we've got some troubles, and we need something,

but this idea that we're a persecuted minority,

is absolutely absurd.

I think there's been some egregious mistakes made,

in law enforcement, and things, undeniably.

But overall,

it's just, it's a fallacy to say that, because

they don't know the history of this country.

And that's one of the things I try to remind people,

that every minority community that has come here,

has been bitten,

and had a difficult time.

Which is why they tended to call

the source of those stings, wasps.

Because they really saw that, as kind of,

you know, you had to assert yourself.

The Irish Catholics had to do it.

They were not part of that Anglican

Protestant community.

The Italian Americans had to do it, you know,

and they're still dealing with the territ...

And we forget, you know, the Waps, Diegos, Kikes,

Niggers, Spics, Greasers.

My Irish Great-Grandfather changes his name.

My Greek Grandfather's name was Dimitrius Uri Appolos,

and he becomes James George, right?

And he was light skinned-- - See we were related,

I knew we were related.

- He was light skinned, and he had to tell people

that he was from France.

And this is like 30s, and 40s, in America, you know.

I think, people, we've come a long way.

And I think the Muslims, and the Hindus,

and the Buddhists, now, are the new kids on the block.

They aren't part of the European...

Because the Eastern European migration to this country

was a radical change, from the past.

I mean, at the turn of the 20th Century, all of...

And a lot of the anarchists that came over,

and I mean, it's a very interesting period.

So the Muslims are, they're here,

and they're here in larger numbers.

We just had a report that was released, they did a study.

I mean, the growth in mosques in the last 20 years, is 79%.

There's now, almost 3,000 mosques.

There's more mosques here, than there are in Jordan,

if that quote today was accurate.

We now represent one of the largest minority communities

of Muslims in the world.

There are several Muslim countries,

that have smaller numbers, Mauritania is an example.

And yet, we don't have representation on the Hajj.

All of the Muslim countries have Hajj representation.

We now send more people to Hajj,

than most of the Muslim countries.

We send 17,000 people a year, to Hajj.

There's still no quotas, on Muslims to Hajj from America,

like they said, because all the the other countries

have quotas, because they can only take

about three and a half million people maximum,

and they get so many requests.

So, the Muslims, Keith Ellison is actually trying to get

some kind of representation from this community,

so that they can meet with the King, and petition, right,

the right to petition,

for the necessities of the American Hajjis.

So I personally think, there are many areas

where Muslims are going to increasingly impact the country.

I mean, for instance, what we're trying to do

in California, with the Zaytuna College,

and I'm really trying to, to get back to a kind of,

it's almost like an 18th Century, early 19th Century ideal

of a Liberal Arts college, in the United States.

Swarthmore is a good example, what you might do.

I mean, I think that you should have, just like you have

Pre-Med, you should have Pre-Law,

in a Liberal Arts college, instead of churning out these

lawyers, that have no philosophical understanding

of the real issues about law, like positivism,

and natural law theory, and really thinking deeply,

about these issues.

They end up becoming specialists, that know a little bit

about a subject, that needs to have

a generalist understanding,

if you're gonna specialize in law.

If you don't have a generalist understanding

of the philosophical underpinnings of law.

And these are ancient problems.

I mean, religious freedom, we're talking about Antigone,

is where we can argue about religious freedom

in a Liberal Arts college, if you read Antigone,

the same issues are there, when the state impinges

on the right for people to practice their religion.

As moderns, we're so arrogant in the assumption

that these are new problems, you know.

- At Cornell, West and I, in our seminars,

always begin, we have lots of different readings,

we change it in different ways, but we always begin

with The Agtigone. - Great.

- Well, okay, let's open the floor.

Yes, Professor Bradley?

- [Jerry] I'm Jerry Bradley,

from the University of Notre Dame.

That's a school in the Midwest, that was formerly

a football powerhouse.

My question has to do with Robby's favorite text,

which is Dignitatis Humanae.

And it may seem paradoxical,

after all that's been said today, and including this evening

to say that the writer, with this liberty

that's affirmed there, by the Council of Fathers,

based as Robby said, I think quite rightly,

in light of the American experience,

with freedom of religion.

Not so much specifically, I think Murray's theological

writings and arguments, but the American experience,

I think, had a lot to do with Dignitatis humanae.

But it's actually, though, a basic human right,

and a big deal, and the reason why we're here today.

Freedom of religion is actually derivative,

it's not foundational, it comes from something else.

When you look at the first part of Dignitatis humanae,

it's easy to see that the something else

is a moral duty. - Right.

- It's the moral duty to the truth,

each one is required,

to seek out the truth about matters religious,

and to adhere to that truth, which he or she finds.

And my question is to you, Shaykh Hamza, is there a

counterpart notion, parallel notion,

or something like that, in the Islamic tradition,

where you have this...

Now these are my own terms, to describe this phenomenon

and to touch, right?

You have this foundational commitment

to the truth, whatever that happens to be.

And Catholicism comes in a little bit later.

Is this overriding moral duty of each one, to what's true,

part of the tradition in Islam?

Because if it is, then you have the sort of the resources,

to develop a critical theology.

And you really have the opening, to move philosophy,

and reason, Benedict would say, into a kind of,

consortium, with the Islamic theological tradition.

- Yeah, and that's what, it's been there, I mean,

our theologians were very committed to that idea,

that faith had to be based on reason.

They were very troubled by circular reasoning,

they call it (foreign language), I mean,

we studied these things in our theological training,

that you can't argue...

The Quran has to be proven,

to be true rationally.

So there's all these books written,

making rational proofs, of why it's revelation.

There's all these, because they needed to ground it in that.

And so, I think that's foundational, to the understanding,

that you had to have faith and reason,

and that component was so important.

And also, there are many, there's no verses in the Quran

where any coercion is mentioned.

The Quran states clearly, in Chapter 18,

(foreign language)

who ever wants to believe, let him believe.

It literally says (foreign language), let him believe.

And whoever wants to disbelieve, (foreign language),

let him disbelieve.

And then, the Prophet Muhammad, it was said to him

in the Quran, can you compel people to be believers,

in the second chapter of (foreign language),

it says that, there can be no coercion in the religion,

that reason

is clear, from unreasonal error.

The reason it's clear, this is clear,

so you can't force people, let them think about this.

Even in the chapter where they say, about killing people

in (foreign language), which is the ninth chapter.

And this is always quoted by people,

saying that Islam is violent.

It says, to kill the polytheists wherever they are.

And that verse, which is in that chapter,

that verse was a time specific verse,

because the polytheists had broken the treaty

with the Muslims.

They had a treaty, and they had broken it,

by killing Muslims.

And then they,

they went to Mecca, which was a sanctuary at that time, and

they had captives, and it was permission

to fight in the sanctuary.

That was not a universal

theme to, I mean, isn't what you were taught.

You know, this is what we were taught.

And then, it says immediately after that,

but if one of the wants to hear the word of God,

let him hear the word of God.

And then it says, and if he decides not to believe,

then take him to a safe place, and leave him alone.

Right?

This is this de-contextualization,

and the idiotic people, quoting...

I mean, I had one of my teachers, somebody got up

in a lecture, and quoted this verse in the Quran,

that says, whoever doesn't judge by God,

he is a disbeliever.

And he said to him, "Which chapter is that in?".

He said, "I don't know".

And he said, "What was the verse before it,

"so I can know the context".

He said, "I don't know".

He said, "What was the verse after it?".

He said, "I don't know". He said, "What do you do?".

He said, "I'm a mechanic".

He said, "Fix cars".

I mean, we...

Like I said, these books are dangerous books,

and you have to have a scholastic tradition,

that is able to navigate these meanings.

The Prophet said, I said never, nobody,

during his lifetime, was killed for apostacy, nobody.

And there are apostacy laws, just like in Catholicism,

you can find in church canon law,

you can find apostacy laws.

There are apostacy laws, there's one Hadith

that they base these on.

But there are other Hadiths,

and they weren't in agreement upon this.

One of the greatest scholars of Islam, Oppa,

did not believe that there should be any

capital offense, and apostacy.

Now, the idea, and you know, in our Supreme Court,

in 1955, there was an argument, and you know

much better than I do, I think it was about polygamy.

Which, that-- - The polygamy case

was back in the 19th Century, the Mormon Polygamy case,

called Reynolds--

- Which was the one, where it was sent the freedom to,

that religious freedom, is the freedom to believe,

but not necessary, the freedom to act.

(mumbled words from audience)

- What was that?

- [Male in Audience] Well, the Jehovah Witnesses case,

from 1940, says that.

- It might have been-- - Gobitis and (mumbled word)?

- Yeah. - Yeah.

- Okay.

That, obviously, there's a lot of room for interpretation,

on what that means, right?

- Sure, sure.

- But, traditionally, many people did not believe in Islam,

and I guarantee you, there are many people

in the Muslim world, that do not believe in Islam.

But they don't go out, into the society,

and declare these things, not necessarily because

they can't do it, but because they understand,

that this will really affect the social fabric.

That, you know, first of all, people end up losing

the whole marriage, all these things,

because in Islamic law, if you're,

a Muslim woman cannot marry a un-Muslim man, by law.

And a Muslim man, although he can marry a Jew,

or a Christian woman, is not encouraged to do so.

But he has that dispensation.

The other thing that's very problematic,

in Islamic tradition, and I have to say this,

you know, full disclosure.

The Islamic tradition is not amenable, to the same degree

that other traditions are, to reformation.

The reason for that, is the Islamic tradition

actually sees itself as a reformation, of the Jewish

and Christian sectarianism.

Throughout the Quran, there are verses that say,

do not turn into sects, like the Jews

and the Christians did before you, right?

And you know, I mean, the Middle East was filled

with Jacobites, and historians,

and Syrian Orthodox, and Catholics, and Coptic.

I mean, all these sects, right, were there.

And there are many verses saying, don't change your religion

after it's been given to you.

Muslim, it's much more difficult for us, to deal with it,

and that's why we have to find the sources

from our tradition, and they're there.

That's that beauty of the tradition.

Those sources are there,

those dissenting opinions are there.

And those dissenting opinions need to be

brought to the forefront, because right now

they're in the background.

And that's something, you know...

We're sitting under these Babylonian bricks,

worrying about them falling on our heads.

But we tend to just forget about things in the background,

when we're so focused on the foreground.

But very often, in religious thinking, and tradition,

we have to look at the richness of the tradition,

and bring things that in the past

have been in the background,

and bring them into the foreground.

And this give is a much stronger

basis, for convincing Muslims around the world.

And this is what I try to do.

You know, find those sort of...

I have Muslims all the time say, "I can't believe that".

Isaiah's right there.

You know, here's the Hadith, you know, look,

the Prophet said that.

And the Prophet said once, he said, none of you...

And this is a sound Hadith, (foreign language)

this is very important amongst Muslims,

wheter the Hadith is sound or weak.

This is a sound Hadith, so it has authority.

But, you know, it says, that none of you truly believes,

until you have mutual mercy.

And one of the companions said, all of us are merciful.

He said, no, it's not the mercy a man shows to his friend,

it's (foreign language) universal mercy,

mercy for all of creation.

And it's not just, it includes animals.

The Prophet was, he was very concerned

about harming animals.

I mean, how can you have a religious tradition

that can blow up people, on buses, and little children,

and things like that, and you're not allowed to kill frogs?

I mean, it's just so weird, you know, this modern madness.

- We have time for one more question,

and it's Professor Arkes.

- [Hadley] I get it?

Is this on?

- Yes. - Yup.

- [Hadley] Yup, well, in that case, we'd say

we could the raise the money,

but it would be wrong, for sure.

(laughing)

Now I wish I could take

Hamza back to Amherst with me,

but I've given up Amherst for Lent.

(laughing)

(laughing)

Tom reminded me, Tom made a remark today about,

that the understanding of religion is distinctly human.

Reminded me of (mumbled word) line, that

animals have no religious sense.

When was the last time you heard a cow

give up grass on Fridays, you know.

I want to go take us back, to something that could be,

must be embedded in what we're arguing today.

I was taken by that passage in the new book,

about religion being our, working out a relation to the

harmony of the universe.

And I thought, what beast would make a contrast

with Madison's understanding, reflected in Stephen Field,

what do we mean by religion?

Our relations to the creator of the Universe,

and the duties that we owe him.

Now, of course,

some of the things that advertise themselves as religion,

seek to get a liberation from duties.

Duties is a distinctly moral term.

You know, years ago with Father Newhouse, we used to,

Robby was there, we used to have

seminars with people, litigating on these questions,

Mike McConnell, Doug Lakehawk, and they were offended

when we raised the question, "Well what is,

"how do you understand a legitimate religion?".

You have these prostitutes in San Francisco,

forming COYOTE, Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics.

If they claim to be a religious sect, do you have any

grounds for resisting them.

Robby referred to

The Strata, Astra Tata, and the concern by seeking the truth

accepting the truth in relig...

Oh, of course, you imply now, that we have access

to standards of reason, by which we could gauge

the difference between claims that are true, or false,

plausible, or implausible.

There's a concern for an upright life,

I presume we reject satanism.

The point I'm trying to make, is that we are,

we are folding into our understanding of religion,

standards of reason.

And Robby was citing

Abraham negotiating with God, over Sodom and Gomorrah,

"Shall the God of the Universe not himself be just?".

Remember we had this conversation with David Novak,

he said, "It's all revelation!".

Oh, what was Abraham saying to God?

"You don't understand your own revelation?".

He said, "We've gotta be reasonable", David said.

Ah, yes, we have to be reasonable.

Right, we're appealing to standards of reason.

We've seen sects in Upstate New York,

the Universal Congregation of seeking to simply affirming,

as a doctrine of belief,

their exemption from the taxes that are imposed

on real estate, so they can be on the same plane

with other religious,

claimed by other religious institutions, in the area.

We might see the aftermath of the Hosanna-Tabor case,

a new sect claiming that they too,

the main doctrine, is that they wish to be exempted

from the regulations that apply from the EEOC,

to matters of hiring, hiring and firing.

Right?

And they want to call everybody a Minister,

who works for them.

And at some point, we need something to say to them.

So what I want to suggest to you, is this,

does this not all get back to us,

to the God of the logos,

the God of reason.

The God mentioned in the Declaration of Independence.

The author of the laws of nature,

and nature's reason about moral things.

So I put this to,

Shaykh Hamza,

what would you say, in response to this question,

when somebody says, don't we have

here a stance, an understanding that does not

make us vulnerable, to any group, animated by passion,

that comes forth, to declare itself to be a religion,

and gives us grounds of judgment.

What would your own advice on that be?

- You know, I mean, you know very well, that we're down the,

we're Alice, fallen into the hole, and it's,

we're in Wonderland.

I mean, everything's been...

I mean, I felt so sorry for Robby today.

He doesn't feel sorry for himself,

because he deals it all the time.

The woman who asked about the,

the marriage, and this idea of trying to reason

from natural law, not a religious argument,

but a natural law argument, that uses reason.

And a lot of these people, will simply say,

but I'm not rational.

That I don't believe in rationality.

These are Dionysian people, they're not Apollonian,

and they want the Dionysian world,

to be the dominant world.

This is our argument, you know, we need to, that...

I recently read a book, it's a beautiful book,

All Things Shining, I don't know if anybody read it in here.

One of the things that they're arguing,

is trying to find meaning in a secular age, right?

They talk about this kind of just,

like how Helen was honored by the Gods,

and that the Gods were the ones that seduced here away,

and that it wasn't like a betrayal of the marriage bed,

it was her recognizing the moment,

and Paris sweeping her off.

And there was this kind of celebration

of the Dionysian spirit, in this book,

that really intrigued me.

But I think we're dealing with this today,

in the United States,

that people don't understand where we're headed.

Toynbee studied 21 civilizations,

and showed very clearly, how they fell.

And they fell, the way we're falling right now.

You know, it's quite troubling.

I mean, this country has a lot of strength, and power,

and I think there are possibilities for renewal.

But we're entering into a post-Abrahamic

period, in the West, that's deeply troubling.

And I think the Founding Fathers, they certainly

got some things wrong, but they got a lot of things right.

And they understood,

things from the perspective that you're arguing from,

that is no longer the perspective.

I mean, we've got moral relativism

is the dominant force in our schools and universities today.

And even though, the sad thing about it is,

is that a lot of these professors are not absolute skeptics,

and they're not total moral relativists,

but they teach in a way that hints at that,

and these students, that's what these young,

impressionable minds go away with.

And so, you know, I told this class there, that

if anybody says to you, there are no absolutes,

you have to see the paradox of the statement.

That they are articulating an absolute,

and I think it's one of God's jokes on us,

that we can't deny absolutes, without

using an absolute.

I don't know, I really don't have an answer to that.

I wish I did, you know, but I'm,

I'm troubled about the way all these things are going.

And like you said, we've got new religions cropping up,

there's magazines that say how to start your own religion.

I mean, that was in a reader, had a cover story,

how to start your own religion.

And a lot of young people say, I'm spiritual,

but I'm not religious.

They don't want this idea, of any organized religion.

I always tell 'em to join the Islam religion,

we're the most unorganized religion out there.

- I'll confess, that when I heard a few years ago,

as we all did, Woody Allen's response, when he was exposed

as having taken up in a relationship with his wife,

or girlfriend's daughter, Soon Yi, as I recall her name.

I remember when he responded to that,

not with any defense, not with any apology,

not with any resolve to do better, but simply by saying,

"The heart wants, what the heart wants".

I'll confess, that my reaction to that, was to think,

we're doomed! - Yeah.

- In a cheerier moment,

I think that while everything you say is certainly true,

and this is how the great civilizations fell,

I think there's still hope.

- There is, I honestly-- - For this great experiment.

- We have children, I mean, we can't give up.

- We have to hope. - We have to hope.

- And our hope, it seems to me, and I'll conclude with this,

and it's why, Hamza, I have such esteem for you

and what you're doing. - Thank you.

- Our hope is in

people of good will,

believers in the great truths of the Declaration,

joining together, across the lines

of historic theological divisions.

- I agree.

- And standing as brothers.

- Yeah, we need an alliance of faith.

- Yeah, that's right.

Faith in God, and faith in reason.

- Yes.

- Because, you notice they're both,

- Because reason, no, absolutely.

- They're both being undercut. - They're both being undercut.

Completely, totally.

- Tom, thank you, so much.

Hamza, thank you. - Ladies and Gentlemen,

thank our guest.