Posted by Bruce Flamm (22.214.171.124) on December 29, 2001 at 23:43:41:
World Trade Center Massacre:
Why did it happen and Where was God?
As the dust settles over New York City we realize that we have witnessed one of the most barbaric acts in the history of civilization. September 11, 2001 is a date that will be discussed and debated in history classes long after the current inhabitants of planet Earth are dead and buried. The wanton destruction of the World Trade Center by intentionally slamming loaded passenger jets into each of the 110 story twin towers created images so vivid that they will continue to shock people for centuries to come.
Today people all over the world are searching for answers. Turn on the radio and you will hear the same questions asked over and over again. Who is responsible for this heinous act? How can we find and punish the perpetrators? How did dozens of terrorists sneak into the most powerful nation on earth and elude the CIA, NSA and FBI? Are there more of them still out there? Where will they strike next? Should cockpit doors be made of thick steel? Should pilots carry guns? These are all valid questions but they do not really get to the heart of the matter. The basic question that intelligent people are asking is not WHO did it or HOW they managed to pull it off but rather, WHY did they do it? What in the world could compel these zealots to massacre thousands upon thousands of innocent people? Other thoughtful individuals are also asking, where was God?
We have heard four very different answers to these two most fundamental questions. Please ponder the following four points of view and decide which one you think is correct. Please think long and hard about what really makes sense to you. This is not a trivial game. The future of our planet depends on what you believe.
The Christian Fundamentalist Answer
Soon after the atrocities in New York and Washington and even before the thousands of bodies had been recovered Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson presented their fundamentalist Christian answer to these two important questions. In their view, the United States had drifted away from the will of God and, therefore, God intentionally punished us by lifting a protective veil thus allowing the terrorists to annihilate thousands of innocent men, women, and children. There is no evidence that any of the victims had done anything wrong but according the Falwell and Robertson, this is the price we must pay for not banning nude magazines and homosexual behavior. Several other prominent television evangelists have proudly stated that they agree with this point of view. However, media reports indicate that few Christians accept this primitive and bigoted answer.
The Muslim Fundamentalist Answer
Essentially opposite to the Christian fundamentalist answer, Muslim fundamentalists believe that the massacre was the will of Allah. Muslims believe that there is only one true God and that God is Allah. They do not believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. They do not believe that Jesus was a God or that he rose from the dead. There are approximately one billion Muslims in the world and in some Muslim nations there is no separation of church and state so the will of Allah is the law of the land. Many Muslims believe, with good reason, that some evangelical Christians want to replace Allah with Jesus and assimilate the entire Muslim population into Christendom. The Holy war between Muslims and Christians began 1400 years ago and is far from over. Some view the recent massacre as the start of yet another skirmish in an age-old battle for world conquest. Although some fundamentalist Muslims believe that the September massacre was the work of Allah, media reports indicate that very few Muslims agree with this conclusion.
The moderate Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Answer
Horrible events like the New York massacre create a real dilemma for most members of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths. Unlike the fundamentalist or extremists in their ranks, they do not believe that their God (the Jewish Yahweh, the Christian Jesus, or the Muslim Allah) would intentionally annihilate innocent people. However, most do believe that God is omniscient (knows everything) and omnipotent (controls everything) so they must strive to understand how their God could have known the airliners were headed for the towers and did not intervene to stop them.
Worse, since God is all powerful and causes everything to happen they must explain why their God actually guided the jet airliners into the towers. Members of the clergy have several possible explanations. First and foremost they point out that we humans are simply not smart enough to understand God's mysterious ways. This concept, which has been used for centuries to explain great disasters and atrocities, was frequently evoked during televised sermons eulogizing those who perished in the World Trade Center. Note that these religious services never allow such theories to be questioned since to do so would be blasphemous. In any case, if one believes in heaven, those who died may have actually been called up to heaven early and hence the devout might believe that their deaths may have been a blessing in disguise.
Unfortunately, this explanation does little to console the thousands of children who lost their mothers and fathers in the massacre. It also does not explain what happened to the terrorists who also perished in the flames. Most Christians no doubt believe they went directly to a terrible place called hell but many Muslims, who also strongly believe in (a different) God, would disagree. Clergymen would point out that there are at least two other possible explanations for why God did not stop the World Trade Center massacre. One is that it was actually not God but the devil who was guiding the aircraft into the towers. However, this seems to imply that God did not have the power to stop Satan and conflicts with the concept of an all-powerful and merciful God.
Finally, some clerics would point out that God did indeed have the power to stop the planes if he wanted to but since he gave humans free will he decided to stay out of it and watch the massacre from the sidelines. In other words, he did not want to interfere with the free will of the terrorists as they guided the aircraft into the towers. However, one might cogently argue that a merciful God would have valued the lives of 6,000 innocent people more than he valued the free will of a handful of terrorist fanatics. Since all of the above explanations may seem shallow to educated people, sermons discussing the New York massacre often end with an appeal for the faithful to simply, "have faith" and "put their trust in God." Intelligent believers will (and in my opinion should) have great trouble accepting this vapid response.
The Atheist and Agnostic Answer
Atheists and agnostics do not believe in the Judeo-Christian or Muslim concept of an all-powerful God. They believe that the New York massacre was not the work of any God, demon, spirit, goblin, or other supernatural being. Rather it was the work of a group of very misguided religious zealots. Many have called these terrorists cowards but that is a huge mistake. Those who march to certain death while fighting for a cause they believe in may be idiots but are certainly not cowards. Willingness to die for a cause obviously does not prove that the cause is right. Many atheists and agnostics believe that the basic or root cause of the World Trade Center massacre was fanatical religious belief. What else could make men do such heinous deeds? What else could instill such hatred?
If you really want to know WHY the terrorists hate us please read the book Operation World by Patrick Johnstone. This book, with probably more than a million copies already in circulation, describes the current Crusade of more than 100,000 evangelical Christian missionary warriors who have translated the Bible into almost every language on earth and are now attempting to achieve the goals set by their Lord Jesus in what is termed Operation World.
This book boldly outlines the current evangelical Christian War Plan (for salvation) and explains the massive missionary attack on Islam aimed at infiltrating every Muslin country and convincing believers in Allah to abandon their God and submit to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Since Muslims believe that Allah is the one and only God, is it any wonder that this blatant attack would anger them? The clearly stated goal of Operation World is to mobilize the Christian Missionary Forces throughout the world (page 29, all citations are from the fifth edition), "take the kingdoms of the world for Jesus" (page 12), and "pull down the spiritual strongholds that still resist the King of kings and Lord of lords" (page 24).
The book warns that, "Islam is the greatest challenge to be faced" (page 39) but boasts that "the last 15 years has been a time of more Muslims coming to Christ than ever before in history." (page 26). The book points out that The Jesus Film which by 1991 had been seen by 440 million people making it the most watched film in history, is banned in many Muslim nations. However, they recommend infiltrating these nations by, "the quiet circulation of thousands of video cassettes (of the Jesus Film) in every part of the Muslim world" (page 605). Operation World also explains how evangelical agencies are using television and radio signals to infiltrate Muslim lands that are closed to Christian missionaries (page 604). Finally, Operation World points out that the majority of sub-Saharan Africa had already been successfully converted to Christianity by "saturation church planting" and other powerful methods (page 36) but notes that other nations in the "Final frontier" remain to be saved (conquered).
Arabs know that a large percentage of the world's Christian missionary force and most of their funding originates in the United States. On top of this, the United States' backing of Israel, bastion of the Jewish religion, has infuriated Arabs in dozens of nations.
Perhaps we can now answer the question WHY this atrocity occurred. These men did not give up their lives and turn their own wives into widows on a whim. They believed, in their hearts, that their actions were righteous and that they were sacrificing their lives for the one and only true God, Allah. Christians believe this is laughable because the fools sacrificed their lives for the wrong God.
But how do Christians know the Muslims are wrong? How does any believer really know for sure which God is the right God? Radio and television personalities relentlessly ask that we pray for the victims in New York City. But who should we pray to? Yahweh? Jesus? Allah? Are millions of Christians praying to the wrong God or are millions of Muslims praying to the wrong God?
Atheists believe that the whole situation is absolutely absurd. During the course of history how many innocent people have died in the name of some God? How many more will die before logic and reason triumph over superstition and religion? If there is a God, and agnostics believe there might be, it would certainly not be the stern father figure that hundreds of millions of people currently worship. It is primitive and insulting to envision a God that would expect people to grovel on their knees begging for mercy and forgiveness while thousands of innocent men and women are massacred. Do you really believe that thousands perished in New York because they did not pray hard enough?
If you believe in God then you must believe that he gave you a brain and that he gave you that brain for a reason. Please use your brain to ponder these four points of view and decide for yourself which one is most logical. The very future of our civilization hinges on your decision. The United States will retaliate with massive firepower. This may trigger further atrocities on our own soil. If we are ever to feel safe again we must ponder the root cause of this insanity. We must not let terrorists get away with murder but we must not pretend that they are cowards who attacked for no reason. If we ignore the root cause of the problem we will never solve the problem. In the age of nuclear and biologic weapons of mass destruction intelligent people can no longer sit on the sidelines as Christian, Jewish, and Muslim fanatics continue their insane Holy Wars. In their efforts to please whatever Gods they worship they will destroy civilization and kill us all in the process.
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