A Theological Perspective of the Clash of Civilizations

7150 Words29 Pages
Introduction

On more than one occasion, President George W. Bush has described the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as fostering “a monumental battle of good versus evil.” In this battle, there has been no doubt in his mind (or in ours) regarding who is on the side of good and who is on the side of evil. Though some have winced at the President’s use of such absolute moral terms to portray the tragic events of that fateful day, others have applauded his courageous use of such unfashionable discourse as entirely appropriate, even suggesting that it implies the demise of the cultural scourge of postmodern moral relativism.

Another important way, not entirely unrelated, of interpreting what transpired on 9/11 is to explain the attack of Islamic extremists on the United States of America as a manifestation of a “clash of civilizations.” At the center of this way of looking at these unprecedented events has been an article and book both authored by the noted Harvard professor of political science, Samuel P.

In the summer 1993 edition of the journal Foreign Affairs, Huntington argued that world politics was entering a new phase after the end of the Cold War, and that tensions between civilizations, as the highest cultural groupings of people, would dominate the global scene. He explains the article’s thesis in these words.

It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different ci...

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...vides a basis for that blaze, that vision, and that life. Let us pray and live it out with a sincere heart with a view to God’s glory in the restoration of humankind Solzhenitsyn, “A World Split Apart,” 59, 61.

and the renewal of the earth in an age of a tremendous battle between good and evil and the clash of civilizations.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

And where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may seek not so much to be consoled, as to console. To be understood, as to understand.

To be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
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