Against pacifist sentiment and calls for isolationism, Reinhold Niebuhr insisted on a realistic Christian response to political crises, one willing to dirty its hands to avoid catastrophic evil. However, his dialectic between love and justice produces a catastrophic paradox.
On April 2 at Providence’s “Islam, the Middle East, and Christian Engagement with the Middle East” event in Middleburg, Virginia, Chris Seiple spoke about how Americans and Christians could use soft power to engage with various communities.
If America wants to constrain tyranny and prevent anarchy in ways that are both just and sustainable, it must resist the temptation of empire and embrace again a vision of international collaborative peacekeeping.
More than a third of self-identified evangelicals support Donald Trump, who touts a false story about an American general executing Muslim terrorists with bullets dipped in pig blood. These numbers suggest that American evangelicalism has a serious discipleship problem when it comes to the ethics of war and peace, and the name of that problem is not pacifism.
A Wilderness of Mirrors: Trusting Again in a Cynical World is by no means a defense of Christian realism, nor an appeal for a bold and strong America in the world, but it does offer a positive contribution to those ends by making a number of crucial observations about broken trust and its effects on society.