Monday, December 04, 2006

N.T. Wright on War, Looting, and Terrorism

I have just finished reading N.T. Wright's Simply Christian. The book is well written, argued, and is very helpful in most everything he says. But one of the most glaringly faults of the book is Wright's view of war, criminals, and terrorists.

On page 225, Wright asserts, "When people with power see things happen of which they disapprove, they drop bombs and send in tanks. When people without power see things happen of which they disapprove, they smash store windows, blow themselves up in crowded places, and fly planes into buildings."

That is an alarmingly simplistic view of the world for a writer of Wright's caliber. In a world with a war in Iraq, post-Katrina looting, and 9/11, these are the inescapable allusions he is making.

Wright commits the sin of moral equivalence by treating President Bush and Tony Blair with the same (extreme by comparison, yet mild by inference) scorn as he would looters and terrorists. It is appalling that he actually believes this. I deeply admire much of Simply Christian and Paul: Fresh Perspectives, but this amazes me. How does one that should understand and recognize the depths of human sin find such reprehensible comparisons between the Christian leaders in Bush and Blair and Katrina-criminals and mass-murderers?

As I have said before, Wright is not a perfect scholar or theologian. He has his blind sides, just as we all surely do.


Noah said...

I too am a big fan of Wright but have taken issue with some of his more contemporary views. If you didn't like the comments that you mentioned, you definitely would not enjoy parts of his most recent book "Evil and the Justice of God". You can read my review for a taste.

Anonymous said...

Your politics is showing. If NT Wright is guilty of moral equivalence, it's only b/c he refuses to assert that the violence committed by Bush and Blair (the powerful) is WORSE than the violence committed by Katrina-looters (powerless). Both have sinned, yes, but Scripture always strongly condemns the misuse of power--this is the very definition of injustice. (Just so you don't make any unwarranted assumptions about me--I am politically conservative and opposed to the NPP theology). Whaaaa?!!

John said...


"Showing my politics" is something I do in virtually every political post on this blog. I don't understand what your purpose in pointing that out would be, nor am I ashamed of that.

I also don't think I understand your argument. You are a self-proclaimed conservative, yet your statement makes it clear you are opposed to the War in Iraq.

That shows your politics, and makes me think you are finding a moral equivalence between Bush/Blair and terrorists and Katrina looters.

Am I off the mark?