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Four ways 9/11 changed America's attitude toward religion
Construction workers move steel beam pulled from ground zero rubble into its permanent home at the 9/11 Memorial Museum.
September 3rd, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Four ways 9/11 changed America's attitude toward religion

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - David O'Brien couldn't help himself. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, he became obsessed.

O'Brien read the stories of 9/11 victims over and over, stunned by what he was discovering.

He read about the firefighters who marched up the smoke-choked stairwells of the World Trade Center, though many knew they could die; the beloved priest killed while giving last rites as the twin towers collapsed; the passengers on hijacked planes who called their families one last time to say, "I love you."

"I was obsessed with these stories," says O'Brien, a Catholic historian at the University of Dayton in Ohio. "There were so many stories of self-sacrifice, not just by the first responders, but by people fleeing the building. There was this revelation of goodness."

O'Brien saw an Easter message in 9/11 - good rising out of the ashes of evil. Yet there were other religious messages sent that day, and afterward, that are more troubling, religious leaders and scholars say.

September 11 didn't just change America, they say. It changed the nation's attitude toward religion. Here are four ways:

1: A chosen nation becomes a humbled one.

One man died because he arrived early to work. A woman died because she decided to take a later flight. The arbitrary nature of some of the deaths on 9/11 still sticks with many Americans today.

Yet this is what life is like for billions of people on the planet today, some religious leaders say. A random event - a car bomb, a stray bullet - can end their lives at any minute.

Most Americans had not lived with this vulnerability until 9/11, says Mathew Schmalz, a religion professor at the College of the Holy Cross  in Massachusetts, who once lived in Karachi, Pakistan.

"We had this sense of specialness and invulnerability that 9/11 shattered," he says. "Given that a large section of the world's population deals with random violence every day, one of the outcomes of 9/11 should be a greater feeling of solidarity with people who live in cities like Karachi in which violence is a part of everyday life."

Recognizing that vulnerability, though, is difficult for some Americans because of how they see their country, Schmalz and others say.

They say Americans have long had a triumphalist view of their place in history. Certain beliefs have been engrained: Tomorrow will always be better; we're number one. The term "American" even reflects a certain arrogance. It casually discounts millions of people living in Central and Latin America.

The 9/11 attacks, though, forced many Americans to confront their limitations, says Rev. Thomas Long, a nationally known pastor who has been active in post 9/11 interfaith efforts.

"We're losing the power of the American empire and becoming more a nation among nations," says Long, a religion professor at Emory University in Atlanta. "The world is a much more dangerous and fragile place economically."

How Americans cope with their loss of power is ultimately a theological question, Long says. It's the same question the ancient Hebrews confronted in the Old and New Testaments when they faced national calamities.

The chosen people had to learn how to be humble people, Long says. Americans face the same test today.

"The challenge for every faith tradition is going to be helping people grieve the loss of an image of America that they once had," he says, "and acquire a modern understanding of ourselves on the world's stage."

2: The re-emergence of "Christo-Americanism."

Before 9/11, if you asked the average American about Ramadan or sharia law, they probably would have given you a blank look.

Not anymore. The 9/11 attacks prompted more Americans to learn about Islam. Books on the subject became best-sellers. Colleges started offering more courses on Islam. Every cable news show suddenly had their stable of "Muslim experts."

More Americans know about Islam than ever before, but that hasn't stopped the post-9/11 Muslim backlash. The outrage over plans to build an Islamic prayer and community center near ground zero; the pastor who threatened to burn the Quran; conservative Christian leaders who called Islam evil - all occurred as knowledge of Islam spread throughout America, scholars says.

"One of the sobering lessons of the decade since 9/11 is that religious prejudice is not always rooted in raw ignorance," says Thomas Kidd, author of "American Christians and Islam."

"Some of America's most vociferous anti-Muslim critics know quite a lot about Muslim beliefs, but they often use their knowledge to construe Islam in the worst possible light."

Many of these public attacks against Islam were encouraged by conservative Christian leaders such as Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, who called Islam "wicked," and Pat Robertson, the Christian broadcaster who declared that "Islam is not a religion," says Charles Kammer, a religion professor at the College of Wooster in Ohio.

Kammer says Graham and Robertson helped fuel the rise of "Christo-Americanism," a distorted form of Christianity that blends nationalism, conservative paranoia and Christian rhetoric.

"A segment of the religious community in the United States has been at the forefront of an anti-Islamic crusade that has helped to generate a climate of hatred and distrust toward all Muslims," says Kammer.

Other strains of Christo-Americanism have swept through America before.

After 9/11, some political leaders said terrorists hated the U.S. because of "our freedoms." But America's record on granting those freedoms to its citizens is mixed, says Lynn Neal, co-editor of the book, "Religious Intolerance in America."

In the 19th century, the U.S government passed numerous laws preventing Native American tribes from practicing their religion. Mormons were persecuted. Roman Catholics were once described as disloyal, sexual deviants, Neal says.

"Religious intolerance is not a new feature of the American landscape. Despite being the most religiously diverse nation on earth, despite having a first amendment that protects religious rights...we as a nation and as citizens have often failed to live up to those ideas."

3: Interfaith becomes cool.

Interfaith dialogue - it's not the type of term that makes the heart beat faster.

Before 9/11, interfaith efforts were dismissed as feel-good affairs that rarely got media coverage. The 9/11 attacks changed that.

Interfaith events spread across the country. Mosques and temples held joint worship services. Every college campus seemed to have an interfaith dialogue. The Obama White House launched a college interfaith program.

Becoming an interfaith leader is now hip, some say.

"A generation of students is saying that they want to be interfaith leaders, just like previous generations said they wanted to be human rights activists or environmentalists," says Eboo Patel, who founded the Interfaith Youth Core in 2002.

Patel says at least 250 colleges have signed up for the White House interfaith program, which he helped design. The program encourages students of different faiths to work together on service projects.

"These young leaders will make interfaith cooperation a social norm in America, similar to multiculturalism and volunteerism," Patel says.

These new leaders include people like Sarrah Shahawy, a Muslim-American medical student at Harvard University and the daughter of Egyptian immigrants.

After 9/11, Shahawy says she felt the responsibility to educate people about Islam. She became an interfaith leader at the University of Southern California,  where she noticed a steady increase in student participation in the years after the attacks.

Shahawy says her generation is drawn to interfaith efforts because 9/11 showed the destructive potential of any exclusive claims to religious truth. The 9/11 hijackers carried out their attacks in the name of Islam, but Muslim religious leaders and scholars said that the terrorists' actions did not reflect Islamic teachings.

"For one religious group to claim a monopoly on truth should be obsolete," she says. The interfaith movement doesn't teach people that all religions are the same, she says.

Shahawy calls herself a proud Muslim. "But for me, there's beauty and truth to be found in many different religions."

4: Atheists come out of the closet.

There's one group, however, that sees little beauty in any religion.

Before 9/11, many atheists kept a low profile. Something changed, though, after 9/11. They got loud.

Atheist leaders such as Richard Dawkins, author of "The God Delusion," and Sam Harris, author of "The End of Faith," wrote best-selling books. Atheist groups launched national media campaigns with bold billboard messages such as "Christmas is a myth."

The pugnacious journalist Christopher Hitchens became the public face of a more combative form of atheism as he went on talk shows and lectures to defend not believing in God.

Criticism of all religion, not just fanatical cults, was no longer taboo after 9/11, says Daniel Dennett, a philosophy professor with Tufts University in Massachusetts.

"Atheist-bashing is now, like gay-bashing, no longer an activity that can be indulged in with impunity by politicians or commentators," Dennett says.

Atheists were driven to become more vocal because of the 9/11 attacks and America's reaction, says David Silverman, president of American Atheists. He says many atheists were disgusted when President George W. Bush and leaders in the religious right reacted to the attack by invoking "God is on our side" rhetoric while launching a "war on terror."

They adopted one form of religious extremism while condemning another, he says.

"It really showed atheists why religion should not be in power. Religion is dangerous, even our own religion," Silverman says.

Atheists are still the most disparaged group in America, but there's less stigma attached to being one, he says.

"The more noise that we make, the easier it us to accept us," Silverman says. "Most people know atheists now. They knew them before, but didn't know they were atheists."

Many Americans knew the people who perished on 9/11 as well, but they didn't know they were heroes until later, says David O'Brien, the Catholic historian who compulsively read the 9/11 obituaries.

O'Brien was so moved by the stories he read that he decided to write an essay for America magazine, a national Catholic weekly, entitled, "9/11 Then and Now."

He wrote: On 9/11, "Our people, my people, were tested and, for a shining moment ... they were found worthy."

He said many 9/11 victims didn't panic as their end drew near. They "thought not of themselves, but others ... when the chips were down." They saw themselves not as individuals, but as members of a "single human family."

So should we, he says, as we face new challenges 10 years later. The 9/11 victims aren't just heroes; they're our guides for the future, he says.

"The story is not over, not by a long shot," O'Brien wrote. "Look at all the love that day. Love can still write another chapter and keep hope alive for a better future. The meaning of 9/11 lies ahead, and it's in our hands, and maybe in our hearts.'

- CNN Writer

Filed under: 9/11 • Atheism • Christianity • Faith • Interfaith issues

soundoff (2,180 Responses)
  1. Chris

    Too bad those of us with no religion aren't fairly represented in government... check out this brief blog post.

    http://politicalreligion.tumblr.com/

    September 14, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  2. Clay

    @Reed
    That's violent, cruel, and unbiblical. Nowhere in the bible is anyone forced or threatened into salvation. Regardless of what some branches of Christianity believe, the Bible advocates soul liberty: the right to choose to come to christ or reject him. Too many people take their own violent ideals and try to justify them as 'Christian,' it's no wonder Atheists view us as violent...

    September 13, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      "Free will" is an outmoded concept. Time to purge it from the lexicon. It's proven to be an illusion.
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI1624SwYnI&w=640&h=390]

      September 13, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • Samsword

      Hi! I just have to post here, because I just learned about this. You failed to put in the followup tests and results, that shows we may subconsciously initiate actions... but there is evidence that we can "choose" to stop or prohibit them from happening. So perhaps not "free will," but as some Psychologists have called it: "free won't" =) So there is still an idea of control over our actions.

      September 25, 2011 at 1:11 am |
  3. Maggie McConnell

    I have no idea why anyone would think that Americans felt invulnerable unless they had no knowledge of what was done to the South during and after the Civil War.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:01 am |
  4. Eric

    The article talked about vulnerability early on. As if America never was effected by random acts of violence. I suppose this "catholic historian" hasn't visited many inner city environments. I live in Topeka, KS and every day there is police, ambulances, and fire trucks speeding off towards the east side of town...where the most violence tends to be. Topeka KANSAS! Middle of America. This country has always been vulnerable. This country is just to damned proud and blind to take note of such vulnerability.

    Also, folks should take note that this country was not founded on the basis of christian doctrine. Nor on Catholic doctrine either. Many that fled to this country were trying to get away from the religious idealism of England. Many were heretics, criminals and other such. Yes, there were those that through this was the "new holy land", but even at that time were seen as religious nut jobs. Atheism didn't get any louder after 9/11...just more poignant about pointing out the hatred that religion seems to nurture.

    9/11 did wake us up, to an extent. We have always been vulnerable, that there is MORE to the world that Christians, and that we are just blind and arrogant...i.e. proud...to notice.

    September 12, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  5. faustus

    The sad irony of such a monstrous attack on America is that the founding father highly respected the religion of Islam. Remember, it is the political and economic situations of the terrorists which caused them to use such horrible measures.

    September 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  6. legion

    If men could control the Sun, then I would call God fake and Jesus a liar. But men can't control the Sun, because if they did we would pay a Sun tax, like, "you want it sunny on your Birthday?? Pay up!!" Does anyone feel me? or i must be an idiot.

    September 12, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • greg

      Correct – you're an idiot.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:46 am |
    • AlanMichael

      Idiot, I'm sorry

      September 13, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • papalamepimelos

      You certainly have an impressive way with logic.

      September 16, 2011 at 2:38 am |
  7. Erik

    Religion is the worst invention ever made by mankind.
    The second is money.

    September 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Reed Crane

      The worst invention amde by man is science. Science is a cult designed to lead us away from god and to Satan

      September 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Reed Crane

      You said, "The worst invention amde by man is science. Science is a cult designed to lead us away from god and to Satan"
      If science is so bad, then why are you using technology that was made possible by advances in it? Without science there would be no computers or internet for you to display your ignorance on.

      Science, while not a cult, will eventually lead us away from the backward notion of gods.

      As Colin said so eloquently:
      "As the light of science is increasingly shone upon the natural World, the gods, ghost and goblins are in full retreat. They are forced now to hide in the few dark corners where the illumination of our understanding is yet to penetrate – the origins of the cosmos being one, the uncritical mind of the believer another."

      Source:
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/01/i-lost-my-inheritance-to-the-doomsday-prophet/comment-page-2/#comment-469809

      September 12, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • faustus

      Hardly, religion is a man made creation which was noble in its origin but turned into something different than its original intention. You can make the same claim about communism(ironically an atheistic system). It was noble in its origins, but mutated into something very ghastly.

      September 12, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Unknown

      God, The bible, and Money are all needed. It is selfishness and wicked intentions that corrupts it.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • arthurrrr

      yes religion is evil. That's Why when you come into a relationship with the living God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, you can toss religion into the garbage .

      September 14, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Know What

      arthurr, "...you can toss religion into the garbage ."

      I think you mean *organized* religion... but it's a start in coming to the realization that there is no-one out/over/under there 'speaking' to you - you have a "relationship" with yourself.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • papalamepimelos

      "The worst invention amde by man is science. Science is a cult designed to lead us away from god and to Satan", Reed Crane typed,

      without thinking about the irony of him typing it on his fancy LED-backlit laptop computer with WIFI connection to the internet, sitting in his centrally-heated living room, eating a microwaved slice of pizza that was leftover from yesterday and had been stored in the fridge, after he came home from a day of work in his automobile with airconditioning, FM radio, CD player and GPS navigation.

      ... now notice the irony of your words? If science is so evil, why don't you ban it and the results from it out of your life? You may want to start with that computer of yours....

      You, sir, show very little respect for those luxuries you enjoy, and the people who made them possible. Hint: the people who invented and engineered them were not your priest.

      September 16, 2011 at 2:36 am |
  8. AnAtheist

    For starters, what a bunch of nut cases we are out here. It's painful to read these comments. But if you can't beat them, join them, so here is my 0 cents worth...

    I suppose I agree to some extent with the re-emergence of Christo-Americanism, but it seemed to be plenty prevalent in the politics of Reagan, Jerry Fallwell, the neoconservatives... Perhaps 9/11 inspired some selective education in order to better attack Islam, but Christo-Americanism has always seemed present to me.

    The emergence of interfaith being cool might be happening as well, but not being a college student, this is the first I've heard of it.

    Points 1 and 4 don't seem at all true, however.

    Our Nation has not become humbled at all. The author seems to suggest that it needs to, but I think the effect of 9/11 has been the exact opposite of humbling. I see nothing but a revitalized, sometimes reflective, other times rabid nationalism.

    And 9/11 has nothing to do with Atheists coming out of the closet. Atheists react whenever the banner of God is wrapped around anything. In the pledge of allegiance, on currency, where ever. This is not new, it's just seems more prevalent because internet comment boards like this one both encourage an open debate, allow anonymity, and make a record of every crazy, blog-rage inspired thing that gets said out here.

    September 12, 2011 at 3:26 am |
  9. HB

    Wow... All I see in these comments... is a bunch of silly, pointless, pathetic arguments...
    your all morons. just saying, though I will say a few made some funny off the top sarcastic comments that had me laughing.

    America's Religion: WHAT EVER AMERICANS WANT IT TO BE. Good Lord, the ones of you who keep saying were a "Christian" country... well, Christian is a very loose word. It means believing in Christ. Which I can agree with, to some extent as being one of the top contenders in our country. But, Our four fathers laid the value of "Freedom of Religion" for Everyone, Yes, this includes Islam. And Atheist *sp
    And everything else between. Those of you arguing... are still idiots in my book, You keep posting your views like its going to "Seriously" affect someones life... this. is. the. internet. you can proclaim you love and worship of Lamas for all anyone really freakin cares. Srsly!

    This article has some interesting points. Scary, and disturbing mostly. But valid points, it's respectable, and informative. Our nation is still feeling the effects of 9/11 in horrible ways, and in some good as well, overall, I think we will pull through this, change is inevitable and most of the time everyone bickers throughout the entire process, but it will hopefully be for the better in the end. So long as, at the end of the day when we all have to put our prejudices aside, we remember one important thing. We are Americans, we must stand united. No not all of us agree on beliefs, or really much of anything. But were all brothers and sisters of this great nation, in light of such a horrible event if we can remember that, I think we are making a right step towards a better future.

    The only real thing I care to say after all of my fun wall of text is, God bless America, Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. And may we never forget what happened 9/11/01.

    September 12, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • JLS

      What?! How did you find out about the worshipping of Llamas?! Was supposed to be a secret D': Can't tell anyone anything anymore.... Ok, was obviously kidding, but on a more serious note, I agree with you totally. 🙂

      September 12, 2011 at 6:50 am |
  10. bird

    Just one question Mr. Blake. How many people Jesuschrist kill, and how many people Muhamed kill? How many people Stalin kill, how many people Jesuschrist kill? Simple. To the atheists, I don't like pizza, therefore not think about pizza., you see what I did there? rolleyes.jpg

    September 12, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @bird: But we don't send unsolicited pizza to your house. Or tell you that you're not allowed to dispose of that pizza because all pizza is sacred. Or attempt to force your kids to eat pizza at school lunch every day.

      See what I did there?

      Moron.

      September 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Ida

      Why are athiest so mad, no one if twisting their are to believe in Jesus. You weren't believing in him before 9-11 and you can go on not believing in him after 9-11. So go about your life and mind your own self.

      September 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  11. Adegoke Ephraem

    America has done much for humanity. America's Henry Ford set up the first motor assembly and gave motor cars to the world,(but today other people has turned them to weapons of destruction) America's Wright Brothers launched humanity into sky by introducing the first aeroplane as a faster means of transportation

    . This great country has advanced humanity in many areas- medicine,agriculture,engineering, technologies,philosophy,politics,economy,freedom. Now at the fore front of war against the global agents of killing and destruction. The list goes on and on. Today marks 10 yrs. when the evil men turn the aeroplanes (one of the greatest human achievements, which continues to marvel me) into weapon of mass destruction and targeted it at America.

    I and the entire peace-loving Africans join the grateful Masai tribe of Kenya to commemorate the 9/11/2001 attack on America . We feel and share your pain. May the blessings be on America, May the blessings be on Nigeria and Africa in general.

    September 12, 2011 at 12:30 am |
  12. RichardSRussell

    The likelihood that America is a Christian nation is directly proportional to the number of occurrences of the words "Jesus", "God", "Bible", and "Christianity" in the US Consti-tution.

    September 11, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
  13. shortie

    To me it seems here in america, that atheist are the most intolerant people to any other religion. They attack any believer or any statement that has any religious aspect to it, no matter what religion it is. I don't see Christians putting up signs saying buddhism, hinduism, Confucianism, islam, Judaism, Toaism, or even primitive religions are false and their Gods do not exist, and that all who believe in those religions are all insane and ignorant.

    That statement i just posted is from my experience with any atheist i have ever came across directly and indirectly over they internet. And im saying atheist have posted signs or comments on all those religions but some you have. Why Cant yall just go about living yalls lives and stop attacking religious people directly or indirectly.

    September 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • shortie

      I ment, and i am NOT saying atheist posted signs or comments on all those religions.

      September 11, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Know What

      @shortie, "I don't see Christians putting up signs saying buddhism, hinduism, Confucianism, islam, Judaism, Toaism, or even primitive religions are false and their Gods do not exist, and that all who believe in those religions are all insane and ignorant."

      Here are just a few found in a two-minute google:

      http://www.lo-onwatch.com/2010/06/anti-muslim-billboard-islam-rising-be-warned/ [remove the – out of lo-on, before trying the link]

      http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/1407899/

      http://marcovilla.instablogs.com/entry/churchs-anti-islam-sign/

      http://www.demotix.com/news/125097/controversial-anti-islam-signs-rile-university-town

      September 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Suzi

      If you want to see why people see Christians as intolerant, look no further than Reed's post just before yours.
      He wants to defeat liberalism and make people worship Jesus. He believes forcing people's political and spiritual beliefs is freedom. He wants to defeat islamofascism and enforce christianfascism.
      Scary stuff, it's enough to turn any reasonable person against religion to see such a warped view supported by his religious indoctrination.

      September 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • shortie

      Know What
      none of those say anything about what i had posted. None of those say for people not to believe in islam, just that we don't like it. Most of the ones I found of atheism is saying Don't believe in God, and Some saying Atheist don't believe because they are smart, therefore implying all believers are ignorant.

      Suzi,
      yes there are intolerant christians, but as far as i am concerned and as i read post online from atheist, on sites like these or in forums they always attack any religious person and any sign of religious statements and harshly too, instead humbly debating. Oh and bigot is not necessary ever. That is a discriminative word, its the same as heathen in christian terms which i personally never use. You guys have your right to not believe we have are right to believe, why be so harsh on believers?

      September 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • shortie

      alright, actually i think i mis understood bigot, but every time i have seen it used has always been against religious people. Therefore it came across as a very discriminating word towards religious people.

      September 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Reed Crane

      The US is a Christian nation, not a Muslim nation.
      Christianity does not have the same history of violence as Islam

      September 11, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • July Faction

      Why shouldn't we attack? This life is a war. They are the enemy. Islamic beliefs are the reason 9/11 happened. And Christians coddle both Muslims and Jews in the face of growing Atheism today. We are getting stronger. I hope America is a strong Atheist nation one day. Then there will be no reason to not drop a nuke on both Israel and Palestine. This war never ends. ATHEIST FRONT

      September 11, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • shortie

      July Faction

      ". I hope America is a strong Atheist nation one day. Then there will be no reason to not drop a nuke on both Israel and Palestine. This war never ends. ATHEIST FRONT"

      Keep dreaming, this will never happen.

      September 11, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Reed Crane is wrong about 2 different things:
       
      (1) The United States is most definitely NOT a Christian nation. Read the 1st Amendment to learn more.
       
      (2) The history of Christianity is absolutely RIDDLED with atrocities committed in the name of serving Jesus, and the only thing that makes Christianity's incredible roster of genocide, murder, torture, slavery, intolerance, anti-intellectualism, book-burning, etc. seem even remotely humane is if you contrast it with the unbeLIEVably loathsome practices of the Old Testament Israelites.

      September 11, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Dekaiyatsu

      Why can't you just go about living your life and stop attacking atheist people directly or indirectly.

      September 11, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • shortie

      Dekaiyatsu,
      "Why can't you just go about living your life and stop attacking atheist people directly or indirectly."

      I am trying, but its impossible when I get attacked, every time I mention God, Lord, Jesus, etc. and i'm not even talk to atheist or to anyone just stating my opinion of feelings. So how about you stop attacking any comment that mentions anything about religion if the person is not debating with you. You are not going to convince any religious people, their god is not real, especially if you are always attacking them. That is the same as a religious person trying to shove their beliefs down your throat.

      September 12, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  14. sid

    Is it not true that more Americans converted to Islam after 911?

    September 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • shortie

      I agree, plus i have studied a little about islam and it is a very violent religion, and after 911 i despise it even more. I don't hate muslims i just hate their religion.

      September 11, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  15. Reed Crane

    The US is first and foremost a Christian nation. The 9/11 atttacks was an attack on Christianity. The only way we will truly be able to defeat Islamofascism and liberalism is to make people worship jesus

    September 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I certainly hope you are being sarcastic.

      September 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Bob

      Crane: Hitler was a devout Christian. He probably thought he was "freeing" all those Jews into accepting Jesus via the gas chambers.

      September 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Reed
      "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—"
      – Treaty of Tripoli – 1797
      Yours is not and never has been a Christian nation.
      Sorry.

      Furthermore, the assertion that one needs to profess fealty to anyone – be they celebrity, king, or demi-god – in order to be "free" is a ridiculous fallacy.
      Obeisance is the exact opposite of freedom.

      September 12, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  16. shortie

    tallulah13,
    I don't think dragging God into this is the same as the terrorist did. Christians yes have killed in the name of God, but this war is not the united states going and fighting in the name of God. Also i agree there have been many errors made by the US regarding this war.

    You can believe the armed forces was built off tax money, but different beliefs come with different world views. However, I don't think the Greatness is a result of tax dollars, I think it is in the heart of those who sign up for the most part. Also, back to the revolutionary war, We didn't have much and we still won. Inexperienced farmers, however i know it was on our homeland and Britain's leader was not supporting its own army well, but from a christian point of view, God was in the background helping the unites states all the way, and somehow lead the people to making the right decision picking their leader, George washington. I'm sure your going to think this is crazy talk and insane, but thats my christian view.

    September 11, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • J-Rock

      "but this war is not the united states going and fighting in the name of God." Tell that to the millions of Americans that think that fighting wars is doing god's work.

      September 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • shortie

      J-Rock,
      "Tell that to the millions of Americans that think that fighting wars is doing god's work."

      I've never heard of such a statement as what you just made.

      September 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Actually, a lot of Americans seem to forget that we also had a LOT of help from the French during the Revolutionary War. I am not making light of the contributions made by the citizen soldiers of the Colonies, but they did not fight alone. As for George Washington, he was a great leader but not a terribly religious man. He seldom attended church and never took communion.

      Stop trying to give divine blessings to a war started by men. You have no idea if this is what your god wants. You just want it to be what your god wants, just like the terrorists, just like the Nazis, just like almost every other army in the history of humanity.

      September 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • shortie

      tallulah13,

      "Stop trying to give divine blessings to a war started by men. You have no idea if this is what your god wants. You just want it to be what your god wants, just like the terrorists, just like the Nazis, just like almost every other army in the history of humanity."

      Im not giving divine blessings to this war. Every evil thing starts in the heart of man, And i'm sure God doesn't want murder and lies and fighting in this world. So i doubt he wants this war to go on, but it is, and when bad things happen he does not necessarily stop them, but helps us through the hard times. Which in the end only make us as individuals and as a nation stronger.

      September 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I'm curious how you see "god's blessings" in all of this. Two futile wars have left the nation on the brink of financial disaster with a deeply divided population. Our military is seeing a horribly high rate of suicide, and those soldiers who do make it back face unemployment and poverty. The country's infrastructure is falling apart while our politicians are only concerned about their own reelection. Does it really look like god is on our side? What good does it do to claim god for our side when reality exposes it for the lie that it is?

      September 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • shortie

      tallulah13,
      You did not read my post correctly obviously
      I posted
      Im not giving divine blessings to this war.
      Why don't you reread my post and this time trying to understand it instead of trying to find something to argue about.

      Im not giving divine blessings to this war. Every evil thing starts in the heart of man, And i'm sure God doesn't want murder and lies and fighting in this world. So i doubt he wants this war to go on, but it is, and when bad things happen he does not necessarily stop them, but helps us through the hard times. Which in the end only make us as individuals and as a nation stronger.

      Blessing 1 A more united Nation
      Blessing 2 other nations are being reformed for the better
      Blessing 3 militant forces that are causing pain and suffering over there are being slowly but surely being suppressed.

      September 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • shortie

      tallulah13,
      "Does it really look like god is on our side? What good does it do to claim god for our side when reality exposes it for the lie that it is?"

      You are only looking at present time. It always looks bad in the present, its not till later when one looks back that he sees the good in the hardship that has happened to him.
      one guy said he got medically discharged from the navy, he was upset, he loved the navy, but then he said, "hey if that had not happened i would not have a wife and a kid." Bad things always happen for a reason, a reason that one will not realize till later in life.
      I have had plenty hardship in my life, looking back it was all for the good of my character.

      September 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So how exactly is god helping anyone through these hard times?

      I don't see the hand of god here, and I don't see it throughout history. I do see a lot of humans pretending that their god has given them permission to make wars. Excuses and belief do not a god make.

      September 11, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • shortie

      tallulah13
      "So how exactly is god helping anyone through these hard times?

      I don't see the hand of god here, and I don't see it throughout history. I do see a lot of humans pretending that their god has given them permission to make wars. Excuses and belief do not a god make."

      You can't see it because you don't want to see it, and your not a believer.

      September 12, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Or perhaps shortie, I don't see the hand of god because there is no hand of god. What I think it happening is that you tell yourself that god is watching over you and it makes you feel better. But if that comforts you, fine. It's just very sad when adults need an imaginary friend to get through their lives.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  17. Daniel

    Explain to me why muslims in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Chechnya, India, Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Algeria, Thailand, and Egypt have comitted religious murders just in the last MONTH.

    September 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Epidi

      Daniel, for the same reasons Christian Europeans murdered people in the Crusades, during the Burning Times of the witch trials, and slaughtered Native Americans by the thousands. Hysteria, stupidity, and arrogance.

      September 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Nocordoba

      The Crusaders are constantly criticized for what they did. But what they did was stop muslims from overrunning Europe. Epidi look at the date, now is not the time to argue debate and call names. By doing so you are worse than all! Your just making it worse and ruining the point of this day and the memorial. Now is a time to take a rest from debate and argument and simpply remember we'll have plenty of time to do this later for now just forget it.

      September 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Norcodoba, so this date if for fomenting hate against other people? Take a breath and read Epidi's words. Try to understand that all religions can be used to hurt others. Perhaps the best lesson of today is that an individual's humanity is a greater indicator of character than their belief system.

      September 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  18. Epidi

    Having the curiousity to learn about other culture and religion goes a long way to alleviate fear of the unkown and each other not just as citizens of countries, but as world citizens. Even if one is an athiest who has no "faith", understanding why other people do can lead to tolerance and understanding. I've been Pagan all of my adult life (I'm in my 50's) but before 9/11 you wouldn't see me saying so to my coworkers or many other people if asked what reilgion I was. Paganism in it's many forms was considered as bad or worse than being an athiest since most people ignorantly assumed we were all "Devil worshippers". Seeing how the Muslims and Arabic people as a whole were treated by so many afterwards made me both sad and angry. It was no better than the way people of color were treated during the Civil Rights Movement – and tho very young I remember some of that. Shame on the people of little or no tolerance for others different than themselves. Shame on your arrogance thinking you are above other creatures and your hate mongering and turning a blind eye to the plights of your fellow human beings. Didn't the terrorists teach you anything about how such horrific acts upon one another can happen because of those very things?

    September 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  19. shortie

    How can Athiest expect us to just sit around while we get attacked? This is a nation under God, He is on our side but that does not give us the right to be lazy and not go and defend our home town. God has equipped the United States with the best military in the world and he also shows through out history he has been on our side by the amount of battles we have won, that allows this national to have the freedom of religion even including the Athiest. You guys now have the freedom to not believe.

    September 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Real Deal

      shortie,

      "How can Athiest expect us to just sit around while we get attacked?"

      - Where did you get that idea? Atheists don't believe in a god. That has nothing to do with pacifism or warmongering. Would you like a list of Christian pacifists: Start with Quakers, Amish, Mennonites, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, certain Pentecostals, and go from there.

      "This is a nation under God, He is on our side but that does not give us the right to be lazy and not go and defend our home town."

      - Where did you get that idea?

      "God has equipped the United States with the best military in the world and he also shows through out history he has been on our side by the amount of battles we have won..."

      - You are joking, right?

      "You guys now have the freedom to not believe."

      - Ok.

      September 11, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • shortie

      "Atheists were driven to become more vocal because of the 9/11 attacks and America's reaction, says David Silverman, president of American Atheists. He says many atheists were disgusted when President George W. Bush and leaders in the religious right reacted to the attack by invoking "God is on our side" rhetoric while launching a "war on terror.""

      by invoking "God is on our side" rhetoric while launching a "war on terror."
      So This statement is not a bother to you that We (majority of the people) believe God is on our side but then we go and declare war to defend are homeland and our way of life?

      Explain to me why is that excerpt such a bother?

      September 11, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • shortie

      "This is a nation under God, He is on our side but that does not give us the right to be lazy and not go and defend our home town."

      They fact that, this nation is mainly christianity, which all believe in God. Also it has been that way since the "United States" was founded regardless of the branch or form of christianity that had the greatest amount of followers at that specific time.

      September 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Real Deal

      shortie,

      "American Atheists" is a group of approximately 2200 members... an organization, a club, a coterie of atheists who happen to live in America. There is NO general atheist congregation. "American Atheists" do not speak for all atheists any more than the "American Methodist Episcopal Church" speaks for all Christians in America.

      September 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The terrorists also claimed that god was on their side. What atheists want is what I hope all people would want: A sane response to insane actions. Instead, we had a gung-ho president attacking a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11, taking resources from the war in Afghanistan, where our actual enemies had taken root.

      America is a military power because of a lot of tax money, not god. We have a large population and a within that population is a courageous group of people who are willing to enlist. These people are not just christians; they represent many religions. Even atheists are willing to fight for their rights.

      By dragging your god into this, you are acting just as insanely as those who attacked us. War is man-made. All of it.

      September 11, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • shortie

      fair enough, i still don't see why it is such a big deal that we or the president state that "God is on our side" and then go declare war. This war is not christians vs muslims (its not suppose to be), we are just stating "God is on our side" because We christians and at the time, George W. Bush believe that God will protect and help us defend our way of life.

      September 11, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Do you have proof that god is "on our side"? Every army in the world has claimed that (outside of communism), including the Nazis. Saying god is on our side is just an excuse. The war in Afghanistan was a just war against our enemies. The war in Iraq was an attack on a sovereign nation justified by lies. What does that say about Bush and his use of your god's name?

      September 11, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • shortie

      tallulah13,
      What does it matter, This is america, we have to right to believe what we want, If we believe God is on our side then so be it. What you are saying is from a non christian point of view, from a Christian point of "God is on our side" is, God is going to protect us as we defend our nation and fight against the those who have done wrong to us. Again yes i know there was errors made regarding the war and Bush, but I also understand, we are not perfect, Humans make mistakes, and yes that was huge one, and hopefully we never repeat that mistake latter on down the road. Also, you don't think the war on Iraq was all bushes fault do you? What about the "intelligence" organizations?

      September 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • apostate

      "Humans make mistakes"

      And religion is one of them.

      September 11, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • shortie

      apostate,
      That statement only applies if you don't believe God created Christianity. Which it appears you don't.

      September 11, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • apostate

      Man created gods and religion.

      September 11, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • shortie

      apostate,
      That also only applies if you don't believe God created humans. Therefore humans could not have created God, yes they create gods of all kinds, but not God.

      September 11, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Suzi

      Jesus does not want us to go to war, kill 2000,000 Muslims,innocent men, women and children, kill and maim our own troops, poison the earth with depleted uranium in our ammunitions,torture...Jesus would not approve of any of it. I know enough of Jesus teachings to know that.

      September 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @shortie: I'd say we've gotten our pound of flesh by now, yeah?

      September 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Reed Crane

      The core agenda of the atheists is to denounce Jesus/GOD. They are apologists for Islam, as Islam is a guise of Satanism. I really wish our policy in Raq and Afganistan would change to give the people there a choice- Accept jesus in their heart, or accept a bullet in their heart. A Bible or a bullet. The choice is their to make.

      September 12, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • shortie

      SeanNJ
      "I'd say we've gotten our pound of flesh by now, yeah?"

      i dont really know what you mean by "our pound of flesh"

      September 12, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  20. Dean from Texas

    One can have all the conviction of faith, but without the compassion of faith it is a useless thing.

    September 11, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • Abe

      I couldn't have said it better myself! Thank you, my friend.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:56 am |
    • John Salerno

      Faith does not have a unique claim on compassion. Anyone, including non-believers, can be compassionate, and they also can do it *without* the supernatural "convictions" of faith.

      September 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.