N.T. Wright has written a new book called Evil and the Justice of God. It is extraordinary. Over the next few weeks I’m going to be writing about it and pulling some choice paragraphs here and there. And while I realize this isn’t the most Thanksgiving-like topic for today perhaps it actually is because one of the things to be thankful for is “deliverance from evil.”
In discussing evil, Wright’s premise is simple – we don’t understand evil, when we see it we are surprised by it and react poorly to it. It is in his discussion of how we react poorly to evil when we see it that he makes some rather startling statements:
“One of the most obvious and worrying instances of this phenomenon [reacting to evil in ‘immature and dangeous ways’] was the reaction to events of September 11, 2001…. That appalling day rightly provoked horror and anger. But the official response was exactly the kind of knee-jerk, unthinking, immature lashing out which gets us nowhere.”
He goes on to underscore the evil of the day and the atrocity of it as well. But then writes:
“But the astonishing naivety which decreed the United States as a whole was a pure, innocent victim, so that the world could be nearly divided into evil people (particularly Arabs) and good people (particularly Americans and Israelis), and that the latter had a responsibility to now punish the former, is a large-scale example of what I’m talking about….”
Wright is an astoundingly prolific writer, a staunch and convincing defender of New Testament orthodoxy, popular among evangelical thinkers and here presents the outlines of a damning case for the moral and philosophical lapses of the thinking of virtually every politician post-9/11 – remember, after all, that virtually every political leader supported the Afghanistan campaign.
He has much more to write and I have much more to read. I’ll share more in time and meanwhile encourage everyone to buy his book. If you do please comment or email me at email@example.com and we’ll have a bit of a book study on the book.