While we have written articles and reviewed books published since the tragic event of September 11, 2001, we would be remiss not to call your attention to the outstanding book by professor Gene Veith on terrorism. Terrorism is a new form of warfare, at least for those of us living in America, and according to those in authority, it will be present from now on.
This reality places new challenges before us as Christians. New opportunities will confront us in the days ahead. Being a kingdom disciple requires knowing and understanding our world. We are to make disciples not only in the church among God’s covenant people, but also by reaching out to those outside the church community.
Gene Edward Veith has written numerous books that we have been pleased to recommend. Probably his most important book has been Postmodernism. I believe Christianity In An Age of Terrorism will also be an important book to place alongside the others. Veith uses his vast field of knowledge to interweave topics such as the holy wars among Christians and Muslims, tolerance, the Taliban, secularists and terrorism.
Veith does a masterful job of demonstrating how terrorism and self-righteousness are connected. He explains very clearly how terrorists can be very pious and moral about their terrorism. From their position, it is not difficult for them to justify cruelty and injustice. His statistics about Muslims in America are on target; or at least consistent with other books we have read and reviewed. He points out that while Americans have purchased more flags since 9-11, so have more purchased copies of Islam’s Koran.
Veith correctly states “It is impossible to come to grips with al Qaeda and other Islamic radicals without taking their religion and the zeal it inspires seriously.” He also underscores that America’s lack of knowledge about Islam and its weak and worldly religions makes us extremely vulnerable to Muslim evangelism. Islamic terrorists are still mad at western civilization because of past history.
Veith shows the contrast between American Christians who believe that life is not based on what a person has to do but rather on what God has done for us. Islam is a works-oriented religion based not on what God has done but what one must do. The religion of Muslims motivates them to hate those of other religions. Veith clearly underscores, “It is politics when added to religion that makes such an incendiary and dangerous mixture.
The book is very thought provoking. It is an easy read and could be an effective guide for a discussion group. It contains a good summary of the basics of Christianity and “the just war” theory. Veith does not hide his Lutheran background but uses the tenets of Luther’s theology to underscore some important points related to this topic. His grasp of culture adds to the importance of this book. I recommend it as an important book to read.