“No, We Can’t: Radical Islam, Militant Secularism, and the Myth of Coexistence,” by Robert Stearns, is destined by both the political and religious tone of its title to appeal to a certain kind of reader while it simultaneously repels another. It’s highly unlikely that many Muslims or self-declared Secularists are going to read this book, and that’s fine, as it is intended for a Christian audience. Within that Christian audience I predict that there will be a wide range of opinion on the merits of Stearn’s work, and I’m basing that on my own wide-ranging opinion of it. “No We Can’t” began with a basic layman’s overview of the three dominant worldviews; Islam, Judeo-Christianity, and Secularism, and Stearns made a compelling case for the importance of understanding how these three worldviews will increasingly form the basis of socio-political interaction-and conflict-in America and throughout the world. But just as I thought the book was off to a good start, I hit Chapter 2. It took me two attempts to make sense of this chapter and how it fit into the overall context of the book. I suppose because I’m not much of an alarmist, I was a little slow on the uptake; the first time through I felt like I was reading an adult version of Chicken Little and his mantra, “the sky is falling”. I got it the second time- that’s how determined I was to give this book a chance- and I admit, Stearns makes a good point, though he could have made it much more clearly; if we fail to understand the Muslim or Secular worldviews and the beliefs that form them, we will also fail to correctly interpret and understand the socio-political behavior of Islamic or Secular states. Rest assured, I have no intention of giving a chapter-by-chapter review of this book. From Chapter 2 on it was generally touch-and-go; some good points made, but often wrapped in weak, superficial presentation. From time-to-time some good illustrating examples, but overall there seemed to be a dearth of these, and I was left with the sense that it wasn’t for lack of them, but rather lack of time spent researching them. So, my thoughts are this; if you’re interested in expanding your understanding of international relations, particularly from the angle of how worldview shapes world affairs, and especially if you’re also interested in strengthening your own Judeo-Christian worldview, than this book will be a helpful and valuable tool. However, “No We Can’t” is probably not going to satisfy those with more advanced interest in the subject, though you’ll pick up a few good insights here and there.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.