Reflections of a Broken Man

In dealing with criticism… by StephenMac
August 14, 2008, 11:53 pm
Filed under: Reflections | Tags: , ,

I had the opportunity at the end of last year to publish a paper on Just War Theory and Legalism ( To my surprise, someone actually read it, and then commented on it.question-mark Elsewhere I have dealt with the criticism (quite simply I think they are wrong…) but it just struck me how vehement my response was. The issue is not academic, rather I took the criticism personally.

This I find to be a struggle, because if I wish to pursue a life in the academic realm, then I need to deal with criticism. But where does academic criticism end, and personal attacks begin? The line becomes blurred when the subject happens to be the outworkings of my faith. See, I desire to look at politics through the lens of Christian ethical foundations. As such, criticism of my politics becomes a criticism of those Christian foundations, and therefore a criticism of my faith. This therefore turns an academic criticism into a personal one.

Even as I write this, I so desire to defend my article, ripping to shreds these comments that were made. And I am torn, because on one level I see it as defending an academic position. Yet if I sit down and think about it, it’s more a matter of pride. I can’t stand to be wrong. I can’t stand to be seen to be weak. I can’t stand criticism, and it’s no longer me defending a position in an argument, but me defending my pride.

Where does it end? Do I concede the point, despite the fact that I feel that I am in the right, as a slap on my own wrist for being proud and arrogant? Or do I stand up for what I hold to be true, academically and theologically? Perhaps it is worth fighting for, but what am I fighting for – me or God?