WL: So the problem of evil that you talked about, the problem of evil in the world, in aligning one’s self with Jesus, you’re saying that perhaps the way that some of the systems are confronting evil in the world may not be really a kingdom methodology, for instance Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Middle East?
N.T. WRIGHT: It’s hard to speak simply about these things because they are very complex issues and as with personal problems so with international global problems it takes a while to get into the depth of such a problem and it’ll take at least as long to get out the other side. You know when you’re counseling somebody that’s often the first thing you say that “You’ve come to me now, but you’ve actually been digging yourself into this hole for two or three years and it may well take two or three years to get you out.”
There’s no one with an instant magic wand. Having said that yes the Western world has gone about the way it’s done Middle East politics by the classic methods that the Roman Empire employed. We have superior firepower. We have heavier artillery than you. Therefore we’re just going to impose our will on you and that will be that. And we have learned nothing either from history or from the gospel that that isn’t the way that real change happens in human beings or in societies. That merely breeds resentment and fresh waves of stories being told of martyrs, which then sustain the next generation of terrorists.
And we have created in the last ten years far more terrorists in the Middle East than there ever were before. And there were a lot of people who warned ten years ago that that would be what would happen if we did what we were planning to do. And we’ve done it and it has happened. And we just seem to have learned nothing. And you know, okay, the empires of the world do what they do, but if a nation says explicitly or implicitly that actually the way of Jesus is the way we should go, then there have to be radically different ways of going about stuff.