Since the writing of my paper in December of 2004 , I have been a strong critic of the War in Iraq. There are myriads of examples that could be listed as to why this war has failed, is failing, and will continue to fail. Nevertheless, it is not my intention to re-hash my usual remonstrance.
I want to bring to your attention a fascinating lecture given by Bishop N.T. Wright in Durham Cathedral some weeks ago. It is entitled: ” Where is God in the War on Terror.” He deals with the problems and possible solutions. Bishop Wright was against the war from its start; I was not. Bishop Wright opposes the war for different reasons than I do (this is clear since he is British and I am not; the Brits always have different reasons for everything).
There are at least two quotes that I thought were helpful in the lecture:
Our politicians and media have resolutely refused to acknowledge that there is a religious dimension to all human life…
Remarkably, only recently have we heard of any religous dimension to this war. The Media has felt comfortable in these last years because they believed that “religion” played no role in the overarching dimension of life. Islam, they thought, is only restricted to certain customs and in some cases a radical fringe that will commit suicide in the name of a Middle-eastern god. Now, at last, they have come to the end of their foolish thinking. “Religion” affects all of life. Islam expresses a worldview that touches on every dimension of their every day. Liberals are only now coming to face this fact. It was Van Til who stressed vehemently that “neutrality” is a myth. The longer the media believes that religion is limited to a mosque, they will not have the answer to solve our crisis. It is unfortunate that even Christians are unaware of their own worldview. How is it possible to apply “true religion” when that religion is so unknown?
Bishop Wright says of America:
They act as if they’d assumed that the world’s problems were basically solved, that all we needed was a bit more free trade and parliamentary-style democracy, and then any remaining pockets of evil would wither away. So the reaction to 9/11 was astonishingly immature: ‘Goodness, there seems to be some serious evil out there after all! What on earth shall we do? I know – let’s go and drop some bombs on it, that’ll sort it out!’ Well, the American people have finally said, this very week, what lots of us were saying back in 2002: that was not and is not the way to deal with things. Evil is more radical and powerful than that; and, what’s more, the line between good and evil doesn’t lie between ‘us’ and ‘them’, but runs as a jagged line through each human being and each human society. We – and I include the churches on both sides of the Atlantic – have often colluded with a spurious and inadequate analysis of what’s wrong in the world and what can be done about it. That’s the first strand in our problem.
The problem of evil is even more apparent today than 9-11. 9-11 was a singular event, Islam is ubiquitous. The problem of evil (theodicy) makes modern America look foolish with their infantile attempts to democratize a nation where democracy is non-sensical.
Invading Iraq was unethical on the grounds that led to the invasion; but invading Iraq without knowing the root of the problem is to strike the heart of ignorance. I certainly do not have the answers to modern technological, bio-chemical, geo-political struggles of our world, but I do know that “evil” is a theological term and therefore begs for a theological answer.
We do not solve “evil” by appointing a military to fix it; we begin to solve “evil” (which is a process only fully solved in the Lord’s Second Advent) by knowing evil. Our answers to the world’s problems ought to be considered on a larger contextual scale. And my contention once again will be that only Christianity offers that context.