An article in WORLD magazine nearly 20 years ago read, “If Dec. 7, 1941 is a day that will live in infamy, Sept. 11, 2001, is a day that will live in reruns. Like the attack on Pearl Harbor, death and destruction rained from the sky, catching a complacent nation utterly by surprise. But unlike that earlier attack, the mayhem this time was first broadcast live, then replayed endlessly on tape, burning itself deep into the national psyche.”
Do you remember where you were and what you were doing 18 years ago today- the date of this blog post? It’s a fair question to ask in light of the fact that a number of young adults just being licensed to drive today were not even born when a new, “normal” came to the United States, on that fateful morning in which a group of Islamic terrorists led by Osama Bin Laden and his movement known as Al Qaeda, launched an unprecedented attack on American soil, killing more than 3,000 citizens in a series of suicide airplane “bombings.”
I remember that unspeakable and demonically inspired, evil event as if it had occurred today. That event triggered appropriately, America’s ‘War on Terror’, which continues two decades later in some form or another, perhaps interminably.
Although life goes on and should, that task will always be harder for some -like the victim’s families, than others. Today, some of those families gathered with U.S. leaders and emergency responders at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City; the Pentagon in Arlington, Va.; and a field near Shanksville, Pa.—all of the places where terrorists crashed the passenger planes.
After holding a moment of silence at the White House, President Donald Trump and the first lady Melania, attended a private memorial for survivors, family members, and law enforcement personnel while at another ceremony, Vice President Mike Pence remembered the passengers who overwhelmed terrorists and forced United Airlines Flight 93 to crash into a field instead of a populated area potentially saving hundreds of more lives.
Pence noted that a generation “has come of age with no personal memory of 9/11 … so the rest of us, my fellow Americans, must tell the story.”
One of the more interesting stories that emerged from 9/11, was the religious and patriotic fervor which the terrorist attacks initially seemed to inspire all over the nation. Flags at homes were unfurled where they had never been seen before and churches were filling to the brim according to media reports and polls, with visitors seeking God, seeking answers to this massive problem of evil, pain and suffering known as “9/11”, and others seeking salvation from Jesus Christ in increasing numbers.
However, less than a year later, the public’s belief that religion was playing an increasing role in American life had slipped back to pre-attack levels, a poll found. “Religion was in the air after Sept. 11 in a way that hadn’t been the case for a long time and may not be the case for a long time in the future,” said a director of The Pew Research Center. “I’ve never seen such a dramatic change disappear so quickly.”
Although God’s word is clear that he is sovereign over all catastrophes and tragedies (Isaiah; 45; Amos 3), often used in part as wake up calls to slumbering and comfortable masses, the immediate and later post 9/11 world’s attitudes, exerted only modest and short-lived effects on our nation’s religiosity and spirituality.
In other words, America went back to sleep- spiritually. While religious pundits proclaimed the last months of 2001 to be a time of unprecedented religious and spiritual revival in the U.S., research findings suggested otherwise, indicating that no remarkable revival occurred among adults after September 11th, nor at any other time since.
Post 9/11 Lessons:
- America is Sensitive to Terrorism
One of the most practical lessons our nation’s government and military establishment learned, is that we can no longer be – can never be complacent when regarding terrorist threats. The Taliban (possible peace negotiations notwithstanding), is still alive and well. Al Qaeda is still a legitimate, long-term threat and ISIS though lacking a strong caliphate (geographic state) at the moment, hates America and is still determined to regroup and threaten western society.
The United States are more vigilant and more sensitive to terrorist aggression, threats and national security than ever before 9/11, even influencing American immigration policy.
The war on terror should never be considered over, so long as terrorists exist.
- America is Sensitive to Evil
No event could have quieted the voice of atheism and secular humanism’s argument that man is inherently good and only prone to violence due to environmental or sociological influences, more than 9/11.
Al Qaeda’s Satanically fueled hearts are deceitful, wicked and attacked the U.S. because they hate God, Jesus, America, its roots and the culture of the west. To put it mildly, terrorists must be considered “by nature, children of wrath (Eph.2:3)” and whose ‘father is the devil (John 8:44),’ still intent on cold-blooded and premediated mass murder.
The reality of the existence of innate evil present in the hearts of man can no longer be honestly debated, due in large part to 9/11. Some on the left have since acknowledged that.
Post 9/11 Warnings:
- America Still Needs Revival
Our post, Christianity and Patriotism – More or Less? from August 28th, analyzed the results of a Wall St. Journal poll indicating that Americans over the last 20 years, value God and patriotism much less than the previous generation.
The post 9/11 revival that many evangelicals wished for and anticpated, never materialized. Neither the former finding nor the latter, surprise when we remember from our Old Testament readings that Israel, a literal chosen nation of God, called to be a true lighthouse to the rest of the known world, went through centuries in cycles of sin, rebelling against their creator, shepherd and law-giver only to find itself in the discipline of captivity for decades, before Yahweh granted them a merciful reprieve and return to their promised land for a season.
Somewhat similarly, the United States, a nation born of Judeo-Christian values and influence, only 18 years removed from one of its most alarming and tragic wake-up calls, remains largely stuck in neutral, moving closer and closer to a completely secular and post-Christian and gospel society, chained in the captivity of moral relativism and sexual revolution.
Is America beyond revival? Absolutely not, because of God’s providence and goodness, the church of Jesus Christ may revive and help bring a refreshment and healing to our land. What is the key to unlocking the chains of our current captivity that could lead to a time of revival?
- America Needs Repentance
The prophet Daniel expressed this warning and need best when he prayed on behalf of his nation for God to release them from Babylonian bondage (Dan. 9:3-19):
16 “O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. 17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate.
18 O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.” (Dan. 9:16-19, ESV)
May it not take another 9/11 next year or in 18 more, for this prayer to be answered.