The Tendency to Softness in Postmodern Attitudes about God, War, and Man -- By: Mike Stallard

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 10:1 (Spring 2006)
Article: The Tendency to Softness in Postmodern Attitudes about God, War, and Man
Author: Mike Stallard

The Tendency to Softness in Postmodern Attitudes
about God, War, and Man1

Mike Stallard

Professor of Systematic Theology
Baptist Bible Seminary, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania

As most thinking and informed Americans know, there is a debate at the popular level (and scholarly level as well) about the cause and solution to modern terrorism, especially of the Islamic variety. Is America to blame for the rise of such terrorism? Is Israel to blame? Or both? Or can we identify the entire Western culture as the culprit that is responsible? Questions from that side of the debate tend to anger political and moral conservatives who see such questions as at best peripheral and at worst a missing of the point entirely in such a way as to make the solution to Islamofascism harder to come by. Are not, such conservatives ask, the terrorists themselves the guilty parties? Are they not responsible for their own actions? From this side, there should be no switching of the victims. The Islamic radicals are not the victims. They are the predators who prey intentionally upon innocent civilians, including women and children, believing there to be no such thing as true civilians when jihad is in the air (and it always is). Conservatives would caution those who would want to turn such wicked men into the real sufferers:

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter; Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight ... Who justify the wicked for a bribe, And take away the rights of the ones who are in the right! (Isa 5:20–21, 23)

Conservatives would point out that those who are “soft” on terrorism sometimes give the impression that Islamofascists can be reasoned with and dealt with like an ambassador dialoguing and negotiating a peace. Conservatives would hasten to add that the terrorists need to be confronted and defeated. They do not need therapy.

I know that at the outset my presentation is coming across sounding like an op-ed piece for some newspaper (probably not the New York Times which would have little interest in my conservative outlook). But the issue of “softness” versus “hardness” in our culture is what I want to get at. Another way to say it is “positive” versus “negative” in our understanding of certain features that make up the public square and its ongoing debate about directions and doctrines for the future of Western Civilization. To look explicitly ...

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