September 11 and Religion

by Daniel Cayen

     The date, Sept. 11, 2001, will be indelibly seared into the consciousness and memory of the American people for many years to come and written into it’s history books.  The destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center may indeed become a pivotal point in modern history, eclipsing the assassination of John F. Kennedy in its scope and global impact.  A phrase being repeated again and again across the country, if not around the world, expresses the concern that, “This Changes Everything!”  There is one element in modern society, which changes little,  which affected and influenced ancient societies as well, and that would be the religious factor.  Belief systems of various religions have changed little in thousands of years in their basic tenets and dogmas, you might say that they are behind the times. Are we worshipping ancients Gods that are no longer necessary? 

     On the night of September 11, 2001 and for many nights after,  thousands gathered on the streets of New York City encamping about the remains of the WTC complex and in a state of shock and  mourning, and in a certain brotherhood, prayed, lit candles and so on. During these nightly vigils there was a coming together of people from all walks of life. These scenes were not limited to New York City alone, around the nation and in foreign countries gatherings also took place.  In these gatherings there were folks of various religious faiths, those who professed no particular faith at all, agnostics, perhaps atheists, a gay presence was there, skin-heads, children, babies and parents were also among the crowds.  At a gathering like this, religious dogmas and sectarian differences become unnecessary.   This being so, one might contend to call this event a moving of the spirit of man or the spirit of God. Which ever persuasion of language you choose, you cannot separate the two.  History has shown that the many differing  belief systems and  the worshipping of different Gods and prophets, have spawned more wars, more ethnic cleansings and more bloodshed in the annals of history than any other single factor. It was disturbing to watch on national television well known Christian Evangelists exploiting this incredible tragedy by giving the nation an altar call to accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior.  This “call to repentance” is and was a “cheap shot,” taking advantage of an unprecedented time of emotional vulnerability.  It is just this line of thinking that still corrupts faith today and keeps people and nations separated. We hear part of the Islamic world talking about a holy war, or holy wars in the name of Allah.  We can look back into history during the time of the Crusades when Christianity practiced its brand of terrorism, holy wars, for six hundred years as they marched in the name of Christ across Europe and parts of Asia, burning towns and their inhabitants.  A great deal of this terror from the Church was inflicted upon the Muslim people who occupied the  “Holy Lands.” There is a lengthy history of inbred hatred of Christianity and Christians by the Muslim people.  The soil is rich with the blood of thousands of years of destruction of human life in the name of one god or another in these “so called” holy lands.   It is this sectarianism that continues to breed hatred  and  division in the world.  To preach Jesus Christ at a time like this is indeed in very poor taste and totally out of keeping with this momentous event that recently devastated, in part, the American way of life.

Daniel Cayen

Sept. 22, 2001