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. Sunday

    It is time to get your Hope and Faith renewed.

    You were created with a purpose to be fruitful and do Good, have you thought about your purpose?

    Renew your hearts and minds in Faith today and turn to God.

    September 4, 2011 at 7:39 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Why, does it make difference, if so how? Seems to me that believers and non believers live the same sort of lives, joy, pain, suffering, and hope are dished out in equal portions no matter if you believe or not. What's the difference?

      September 4, 2011 at 7:48 am |
    • BlackSheep


      September 4, 2011 at 7:51 am |
    • mamakas

      I second that "no".

      September 4, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • Aezell

      So you're making a plea for me to become mentally ill, assume a form of schizophrenia, and believe in imaginary people in the sky?

      You're sick.

      September 4, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  2. bob

    I too was disgusted by the typical American response. Neighbors said I was a traitor for defending free speech and for opposing the war against Iraq. Yes, George Bush squandered a ton of good will when he attacked Iraq. That is the day we lost revalence in the world – we were no longer the county that many looked up to. And now the same extremists are working to bring us down further on our knees – yes, the American religious extremists.

    September 4, 2011 at 7:35 am |
    • BlackSheep

      Who do you think looked up to us?

      September 4, 2011 at 7:39 am |
    • Reality

      Some elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

      -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,481 and 924 died in non-combat, 99,901 – 109,143 Iraqi civilians killed as of 3/3/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,141 killed in action, 242 killed in non-combat situations as of 03/03/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

      – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

      – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

      – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

      – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

      – – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

      – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

      – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

      – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.

      – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

      The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

      – the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

      – Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

      September 4, 2011 at 7:41 am |
    • bob

      short people

      September 4, 2011 at 7:47 am |
  3. In the name of Allah, the Merciful

    I'm Muslim, i must admit deep on my heart in my mind that i cancelled all my promise and faith to believe Prophet Mohammad SAW is messenger from Allah. Even i notice that what i have been read is a trap, i already read this and admit it in my mind. I hope

    September 4, 2011 at 7:34 am |
    • BlackSheep

      Spamming? Trolling?

      September 4, 2011 at 7:36 am |
    • Cornelio

      God has only one word and it's not Mohammed 🙂 he gave mankind only one written not many, people like to live in their own terms just because the LAW judges everyone, and those who don't like to be judge just turn their back on the LAW.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:42 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Cornelio, how do you know what God gave or what God thinks? Unless God told you personally you only know what someone else told you they heard from someone else who got it from still another person thousands of years ago. Seriously, how reliable is your knowledge on the subject of God?

      September 4, 2011 at 7:52 am |
  4. George

    It did not change me. It just reinforced my atheism. I have always spoken about my atheisism.

    September 4, 2011 at 7:26 am |
  5. once1364

    Invent a single theory and a decade of fighting will be there for sure.
    I am afraid on how we have been misguided/misused so that our attention is diverted from many other important issues.

    September 4, 2011 at 7:18 am |
  6. Mark Taylor

    ... "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."

    I was also and still am disgusted by that comment – the guy said little in 8 years that wasn't offensive to my ears, but I'm not an atheist. I'm not a liberal either. I am a veteran with just a smidgen left of center views. Atheism is a prison of sorts if you think about it for a while. I don't hassle my atheist friends though they have hassled me with vigor at times (with their silly pirate names and flying spaghetti monster). Get stuck working with a group of active atheists and you might as well be stuck with a group of right-wing evangelicals. They are equally a pain in the rear.

    For those who proclaim to worship at the shrine of Science, see if you can find positive, conclusive evidence of the Higgs boson's existence. You can't and yet until this little particle can proven to exist then everything we believe about Physics is questionable isn't that faith? For those who worship at the shrine of Science – John Polkinghorne, former Dean of Physics at Queen's College is someone you might try reading up on, perhaps on a Sunday morning while lazing about in your jammies (man, I used to love lazing about in my jammies on Sundays). There's a third way that can respect Lemaître's Big Bang, Darwin's Origin of the Species and neither sought to refute the existence of the Divine. Atheists tend to take the work of Science a step further and, using their own unique brand of faith, discount the existence of the Divine. That lack of the Divine simply cannot be proven by Scientific method and yet they will use these theories to proclaim what they believe to be proof.

    September 4, 2011 at 7:15 am |
    • BlackSheep

      No, it is not faith. First, define faith. Faith is belief without any proof. Science is like a stair case. Each step is based on the previously proven steps. Faith is an invisible god is not based on a single fact or repeatable test.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:31 am |
    • bob

      Sir, you have only met the Ayn Rand atheists who are indeed fools. I don't like being around them either, and I am an atheist. There is a different breed of atheist evolving that is well reasoned, congenial and persuasive. Look out America – we are gaining momentum and will eventually be the true and original religion of America.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:43 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Mark Taylor, I think you are misleading people into thinking that, science requires faith, I'm pretty sure that's not the case. Higgs, is proven in the math, we have not been able to verify it in physical space (we may never), that is not faith we have evidence (you can do the calculations yourself) that higgs "should" exist, there is no evidence that God exist (not in math, logic, nor physical space).

      September 4, 2011 at 7:59 am |
  7. chris

    The biggest lesson has yet to be learned. Its taking America a little while to figure it out. Conservative christianity and radical islam are essentially one and the same. They both twist their scriptures to justify violence and feel that God is on their side. They are equally dangerous and equally evil. Its a historical fact that few want to accept.

    September 4, 2011 at 7:11 am |
    • M. DaSilva

      Only people who are ignorant of the persecution of others by Muslims and the worldwide attacks would make comments like that.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:15 am |
    • BlackSheep

      M. DaSilva, have you read the bible? The bible is full of evil laws that 'god' made.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:21 am |
    • Mark Taylor

      Chris – I agree and to the person who answered you first I would say that it is only local and federal laws written by those of more reasonable disposition that prevent ultra-right conservatives from engaging in the same evil practices this writer cites – one only has to point to the era of The Church during the dark ages for evidence. The human condition is impoverished and living any particular faith doesn't make it less impoverished. Any group that takes its eye off of that particular ball is totally out of line with the tenants of the faith it proclaims to be true. In other words, work on your own weaknesses rather than worrying about the faults of others. The far right does not seem to have its eye on the ball.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:29 am |
    • illmatar

      M. DaSilva...only a person who is equally blind to Christian atrocities would lay it all at the feet of the Muslims. Religious zealotry is as universal as any other human bigotry. If you refuse to take stock of your own side, you can't blame the other side for not respecting you. Evil is universal. Look to yourself or become part of it.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:32 am |
    • Henry

      I agree; there is little difference between Christianity and Islam. Equally intolerant of others, supporting the oppression of others, calls to violence. The only difference is that American Christianity perpetrates violence through its government while Muslims primarily do it through smaller groups. We, American Christians, like to talk about our lack of violence; we are cowards who push our government to do it while we pretend not to have a hand in it.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:36 am |
    • Indep3

      Conservative christianity and radical islam are essentially one and the same. I don't think so, Chris. At least, to date, conservative Christianity hasn't embraced the violence of radical Islam. Conservative Christianity has, like radical Islam, tried mightily to impose its beliefs into the politcail process and that is as much a danger as violence.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:42 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Indep3, how soon we forget, Conservative Christianity is why we invaded Iraq, the leaders at the time (and now) were mostly Conservative Christians. How many have died (100,000, 200,000) and the numbers are still rising. You can hide behind the government but that does not change the fact that Iraq and by extension Afghanistan are nothing less than religious wars on the surface and land\resource grabs beneath. Christians are no better the Muslims.

      September 4, 2011 at 8:09 am |
  8. paul

    911 happened because some people, muslims, hated enough to bring about Great Evil into the world. Islam is truly Vile and Cursed and Damned.May God take great revenge on them as he best knows.

    September 4, 2011 at 7:07 am |
    • BlackSheep

      Just because you don't follow the christian bible, don't think for one minute that you are any better than them.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:11 am |
    • M. DaSilva

      Yes, and in the internet age what's going on in Muslim countries is common knowledge–unless people refuse to look.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:13 am |
    • BlackSheep

      Talk about vile!

      Deuteronomy 22:28-29 If a man is caught in the act of rap|ng a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:18 am |
    • Henry

      @ Paul – You are a simpleton with no understanding of history. You just look at the last thing that the "news" channel pushes on its screen and, voila, you have your truth.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:38 am |
    • Blue

      Islam is a blessed religion. It is and always will be well protected by god, the same god of christianity and judaism. I'm talking about real Islam, not the one al-qaida believes in. they viewed religion wrongly, they r violent ugly hearted people who doesnt reflect Islam in anyway. How many r they? one million people? well there are 1.2 billion muslims out there who think they r wrong!

      September 4, 2011 at 7:42 am |
    • mouloud

      stupid americans – Islma is a great religion, very peacefull – i wish they hurt you more lol sons of evil –

      September 4, 2011 at 7:45 am |
  9. Hwyman

    Jesus is lord!

    September 4, 2011 at 7:02 am |
    • jimtanker

      Says you and your moldy book.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:04 am |
    • BlackSheep

      Yes, but I am LORD!

      September 4, 2011 at 7:12 am |
    • Brahim

      Jesus peace be upon him is a prophet like any other prophet, he was born with a mother and no father. he wasn't crucified ,God take him away and saved him before the killers reach him.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  10. M. DaSilva

    I wish 9/11 had changed the view of religion in Islamic countries. There aren't any where other faiths aren't persecuted.

    September 4, 2011 at 7:00 am |
    • jimtanker

      Coming from someone like you who has obviousy never spent any time in the Middle East I will take that with a grain of salt.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:06 am |
  11. Bill

    All of these 9/11 stories CNN keeps running are shameless propaganda. They are taking an issue that people are emotional about and inserting whatever B.S. they want into the content. CNN, you are not supposed to be a cheerleading squad for the conspiracy theories about middle-easterners attacking New York City. How many more 9/11 stories are you going to run up till the memorial to drive this fiction into everyone's skull? Is this supposed to be independent journalism? P.S. You might want to update the pictures on your 9/11 VicSim galleries, they're looking pretty shoddy.

    September 4, 2011 at 6:59 am |
  12. Joey at Purdue

    "The difference between life & death is seconds & millimeters. I can't affect that, so I'm just gonna do my job as best I can." (Captain Nathaniel Fick)

    September 4, 2011 at 6:44 am |
    • scndnv

      Time to move on, no?

      September 4, 2011 at 6:52 am |
  13. dav

    One way it changed me that you left out –I now realize just how deeply sick the employees of CNN really are.

    September 4, 2011 at 6:42 am |
  14. hmm

    the only reason religion, and massive atheist opposition to organized religion, exist is because people, especially americans and koreans, bring up the topic of faith at such young ages. the vast majority of people, because of this, decide their stances before they can even really reason. whether its the kid that grows up to belief that theres no fallacy in the bible whatsoever, or the kid who wants to rebel against everything and ends up being a militant atheist, its just wrong that we expose things like this. any parent worth their salt would wait until their offspring is a young adult before giving them the choice of attending church or what-not. the largest test of religion, according to christians, is free will, after all, and you have alot less free will when youre going to church on sunday at 8 years old because thats all you know.

    i bring up america and korea because i have never been to a country where it, for example, enforcing christian heritage is extreme among families. i mean, heck, for my little brother's baptism in germany, the pastor gave me a book about sharks to read (i was like 6) when he asked what i thought about god ( i said i dont think i believe it). he didnt preach, he didnt try to mold my young mind, he just smiled and let me read about tiger sharks and great whites. whereas in korea, ive seen elementary schoolers pick on buddhist family kids as if they really know anything about the extreme form of protestant christianity that their parents shoved down their throats.

    September 4, 2011 at 6:38 am |
    • Jahoobie

      Hmmmmmm....sooo, parents aren't supposed to bring their children up to believe what they believe, and try to teach them and lead by example? Everyone will evaluate when they get older, and either rebel and reject, or embrace, give THEM some credit for that. I notice you don't extend your twisted views into politics. Should die hard republicans not teach their kids their political views and shove them down their throats so you don't have little republicans running around? Should democrats, libertarians? What EXACTLY are you supposed to teach your kids about how you view the world and the difference between right and wrong??

      September 4, 2011 at 7:23 am |
  15. TruthPrevails

    If we set aside all belief here we get to the common factor...innocent lives were lost that day as a result of these horrific acts. People of many beliefs who did nothing wrong to the sadistic maniacs.
    This impacted a world and made everyone stop and think or so I would hope it did. We as a race are vulnerable. There is not one of us on here who doesn't recall what we were doing at the exact moment this came over the news or in some cases was witnessed first hand. This should now be about bringing people together regardless of belief, setting our differences aside for the betterment of society.
    I have a great distaste for religion of any form but I can set that aside to get to the basis of the lessons to be learned from the tragedy. I know good people who are muslim even though I don't agree with their system of belief; I know good people of almost every belief system. Just because those belief's do not meld with what I believe is reality (and what science has provided astounding evidence for) does not mean I see everyone in those belief systems as evil...you get your good and bad regardless...it's the human factor.
    Maybe setting aside our differences for the betterment would be in order here...have some respect for those who pointlessly lost their lives, family member's, comrades, etc. No-one deserved this and no-one should have to endure their belief's being attacked in order to try to prove who is right or wrong...that is not what this tragedy is about.
    My thoughts are with my fellow man as we remember this day.

    September 4, 2011 at 6:31 am |
  16. John

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

    This is a sick concept. Pathology kind of sick – death has redeeming quality of finding people worthy.

    September 4, 2011 at 6:27 am |
  17. christopher neal

    "Religion is BS!" – George Carlin

    September 4, 2011 at 6:24 am |
    • harmonynoyes

      well, if he said it, it must be true then

      September 4, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
  18. Miss-Muslim

    if u just think for a while... son of Mrs. Mary is a human being! how can u say that he is a son of the lord!!!!!..... think twice before u speak... he is a human not a GOD.... we belive in one GOD,,,, your Jesus is a prophet for us and we respect his mother... stop hating Muslims as u Americans u already hate Black pepole and in Islam black pepole are again human beings..... we all are alike... ADAM and Eve are our parents...so who r u to set boundaries???????? c u

    September 4, 2011 at 6:21 am |
    • BlackSheep

      Who cares what myth you believe in?

      September 4, 2011 at 6:23 am |
    • Joe

      Oh...... I forgot......Arab Muslims haven't murdered Black Muslims in Darfur.

      September 4, 2011 at 6:28 am |
    • to miss-muslim

      So please explain honour killings. A muslim father and friends can hold down his daughter and cut her head off because she dishonoured the family. Thats muslim, that Quaron. Your an evil missintuputation of Religion.

      September 4, 2011 at 6:44 am |
    • wildmangreen

      my fondest hope is to wake up one day and read in the newspapers that all muslims are gone from the earth.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:10 am |
    • In the name of Allah, the Merciful

      I'm Muslim, i must admit deep on my heart in my mind that i cancelled all my promise and faith to believe Prophet Mohammad SAW is messenger from Allah. Even i notice that what i have been read is a trap, i already read this and admit it in my mind. I hope real Allah show me the true way. Amen.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:14 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      No No No...Adam and Eve are not my parents! What a perverse way of thinking...that would thus mean that incest is okay.
      I'm guessing you also believe the earth is only 6000 years old.

      September 4, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • joshua

      Jesus is God, he was born from a virgin birth. Jesus is the only one that has risen from the grave. You choose to worship someone that can't even raise their self from the grave, how do you expect them to raise you. Islam is a dead end if you will.

      September 4, 2011 at 8:11 am |
  19. Joe

    Yup........Islam and the Muslims who follow are all good guys.

    September 4, 2011 at 6:17 am |
  20. Milad

    Post such emotional articles about people dieing everyday because of american fire arms everywhere in world. I condemn 9/11 as much as condemn your brutality everywhere in the world. God bless those innocent people who die because of america s tame dreams.

    September 4, 2011 at 6:11 am |
    • BlackSheep

      Yes, Americans are the only ones making firearms. We are the only ones doing anything wrong in this world. And yet, the world doesn't mind taking our money!

      September 4, 2011 at 6:23 am |
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About this blog

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.