Sometimes, though, a very special thing happens on the world stage, where two people engage in simultaneous doublethink, accusing one another of internal contradiction while at the same time ignoring their own contradictory behavior. That very special thing happened this week, when Pope Bendedict XVI (in the gold inlay trunks and miter, representing the Holy See of Rome) and Ayman al-Zawahiri (in the goatskin pants and kaffiyeh, representing Al-Q'aeda) squared off in a little drama I like to call: DUELING SHITHEADS.
It all started back on September 12 of this year, when Pope Ratzi was giving a lecture in his native Germany, a nation reunited as one after his failure to fight hard enough for Hitler caused it to be torn in twain. Said Il Papa:
"The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood — and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats. To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death. The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature."
The argument the Pope was making, essentially, is that one comes to religion through reason, and that anyone who would use violence or the threat thereof to spread their faith is acting contrary to God and the nature of the soul. Of course, anyone familiar with the history of the Catholic church, the nature of Christian doctrine, and the relationship between faith and reason is already laughing and doesn't need me to point out how hilarious this is.
Today, in a statement posted on the internet, Mr. al-Zawahiri, one of al-Q'aeda's innumerable second-in-commands and a man who apparently spends his entire life recording bitchy video messages for Western consumption, replied to this speech, which was received by many Muslims as provocative.
"This charlatan," said al-Zawahiri, referring not to his boss but to the Pope, "accused Islam of being incompatible with rationality while forgetting that his own Christianity is unacceptable to a sensible mind."
So, basically, what you have here is the King of the Western Church of Holy Booga-Booga claiming, despite nearly two millennia of his own religion's behavior to the contrary, that religion comes from reason, and that to use violence in aid of said religion is against God and therefore (a pretty fucking big therefore, too) against reason.
And then you have the Prince of the Eastern Church of Holy Booga-Booga, who regularly exhorts his followers to behead their enemies, responding that no, you're the irrational one, our religion makes perfect sense and it's yours that would be rejected by any sensible man of reason.
Which goes to show you that not only can two people engage in doublethink at the same time about the same subject (thus attaining the rarefied state of quadruplethink, but also that these two people can be right and wrong simultaneously even when they are making identical statements. What a piece of