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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"No, We Can't" (Robert Stearns)

TITLE: No, We Can't: Radical Islam, Militant Secularism and the Myth of Coexistence
AUTHOR: Robert Stearns
PUBLISHER: Bloomington, MN: Chosen Books, 2011, (224 pages).

I confess. I have all my feelers for any forms of radicalism up high when I read this book. Is the writer biased against Islam? Is there a hidden agenda? What are the facts to prove the author's case? Are the conclusions sound? Reading this book from beginning to finish tells me that Stearns does has a case in point.

The key idea in the book is that Christians need to muster up courage to stand up against the prevailing climate of unhealthy tolerance and half-truths. Well-intentioned ordinary people are buying into an erroneous paradigms coming from primarily the West. Stearns is convinced that the future comprises of three major world views:
  1. Radicalized Islam;
  2. Humanistic Secularism;
  3. Biblical Faith.
These three worldviews form the new world, which transcends people groups, political boundaries, geographical limits, ethnicity, family, and all other conventional delineations. The new paradigm is one of culture and ideological warfare. 

Of Radicalized Islam, the activists are on a crusade that essentially seeks to dominate and will not rest until the whole world turns Islamic. Nothing is spared, even honour killings, to ensure that the purpose is met. Of militant secularism, where humanism is groomed in the public classrooms in the country, forced upon the citizens of the land, and manifests itself through materialism, utilitarianism, and a humanism that seeks to turn humanism into the major philosophy of the land. Of biblical faith, the author argues that it is the last stronghold that stands against the other two major forces. Stearns argues that the very basis of the laws of America are based on the Judeo-Christian tradition.  Stearns calls the movement for co-existence as a myth because 3 reasons.
  1. "Coexistence does not allow for a dominant culture."
  2. "Coexistence is not what every one wants.
  3. "Coexistence denies a Higher Authority."
Modern versions of tolerance and multiculturalism have been distorted beyond all measure. The way ahead is not to trust ourselves in the worldly definitions of tolerating all kinds of error. The way forward is the biblical view of shalom which is the features of the kingdom of God. Through prayer, hope, and courageous sharing of the kingdom of God, the world will be saved from the waywardness and meaninglessness it is digging itself into.

My Thoughts
I find myself progressing from initial scepticism to gradual openness. Stearns talk sense. He is careful not to label all Islam, but to single out radical islam, which is an aggressive (sometimes militant) movement seeking to coerce the world to convert to Islam using the ways of the democratic world: Where majority rules. That is why RI is keen on population growth in areas they are seeking to dominate. Islam is going to be a force, and radicalized Islam will make it even more formidable. Secularised humanism seems to be the mainstay of western society. Stearns makes several powerful observations of the weaknesses of the existing Western model that parades co-existence as an ideal. Unfortunately, this view is not shared by others. It is mainly trumpeted in the West, and forced upon the rest. Only the biblical model can stand against the radicalism of Islam and secularism/humanism. Read this book with an open mind. Do not dismiss it outright. While some aspects may appear exaggerated, do not let them diminish the warnings and the pertinent observations Stearns makes. Yes, tolerance is important. Yes, respecting one another is crucial. Yes, people have their rights. In any of these, truth must not be compromised. Anything apart from the truth, is shallow and on shaky foundations.

Ratings: 3.75 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, without any obligation for a positive review. Opinions given above are freely mine.

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