I was interviewed by Kristin Fritz for Signature Reads -- and her questions were so fun to answer. Smart, thought provoking, insightful.
Here's the start of it:
In her new book, Draw Your Weapons, Sarah Sentilles offers a unique perspective and provocative meditation on art and war and the intersection of both. Touching on moments in time from the Holocaust to Abu Ghraib and working in what she’s learned during her time spent with former military people, with students, and others, Sentilles dissects the role of art and the visual in the psychology of violence. On the eve of her book’s release, we corresponded with Sentilles to talk about where we go from here and more.
SIGNATURE: You touch on the intersection of war and faith often in Draw Your Weapons – “baptism” by waterboarding, Bible verses inscribed on USMC rifle sights, and so on. It’s such a tangled knot in this world today. How does one even begin to understand distinctions among widely held assumptions about other faiths, when so much of what we see is indeed caught up in violence?
SARAH SENTILLES: For me, the only way to evaluate faith-claims is by their effects. How do your beliefs shape how you move through the world, how you treat your neighbors, how you treat your enemies? Belief shapes behavior. If we think God killed God’s son to save us, then that will influence how we understand violence. If we think God is all seeing, then that will shape how we understand other all-seeing devices, like drones. If we think God is on the side of the oppressed, then that will shape how we understand resistance and struggles for justice. I had a professor in divinity school who used to say that asking whether or not God exists is the wrong question because it’s not one we can ever answer. But the word “God” does exist, he’d say, so the challenge is to ask what work that word is doing in the world. Whose bodies does it affect and how? What difference does it make? Who does it harm? Who does it help?
To read the rest of the interview, please click here.