No, We Can’t — the title of Robert Stearns’ latest book — prompts the question, no, we can’t what? His thesis is that we can’t continue on the West’s (and particularly the United States’) path toward co-existence, the attempt to accommodate three competing worldviews (Radical Islam, Militant Secularism, and Judeo-Christianity) and maintain a free society.
He builds his argument by first defining and exploring each belief system (he calls them “houses”). He delves into the role each plays in our society now, the history of each, and their respective forms of spirituality. Along the way he makes many startling observations. Here is a sampling:
“Radical Islam is the dominant force within Islam, and it will never peacefully coexist with the non-Muslim world or with Muslims of different beliefs. All radical Muslims believe in fighting until their version of Islam conquers the world.” (p. 111)
“…humanism has grown and flourished in the nation enjoying all the benefits of a traditional religion without experiencing any of the restraints placed upon conventional faiths.” (p. 119)
“…the Judeo-Christian worldview is the best possible means of providing a platform of liberty for the human race.” (p. 165)
The final two chapters help us to see that Stearns’ motive in writing so provocatively about Islam and Secularism is not to stir up within the Judeo-Christian house hatred toward or fear of Muslims or secularists. Rather, it is to arouse Christians to pay attention to the quality of their own faith.
He challenges readers to become familiar with the Bible, to pray, support Israel, and to live life alert to what is happening in the world around them. As each sincere follower of Christ seeks to do his or her part in influencing the world, Stearns suggests: “God will give us favor, inventiveness, wisdom and strategy if we put our faith in Him alone. We should be people of influence…” (p. 191)
I found No, We Can’t eye-opening and disturbing. Stearns clearly articulates aspects of both radical Islam and secularism that I have suspected but never faced head-on or heard anyone else say. As Robert Morris states in the book’s Foreword: Stearns’ message “…is not easy and comfortable and … will not be popular. It is nonetheless timely, perceptive and accurate.” (p. 12)
I would recommend No, We Can’t to Christians of all denominations who support coexistence as the desirable way to maintain a free and democratic society. They will probably come away, as I did, with the conviction that it isn’t even possible.