The Real Spiritual Impact of 9/11
Americans don't go to church more often now, but 9/11 was still one of the most important spiritual moments in recent history.
Fighting Islam--or, more to the point, converting Muslims--had been a major Christian cause even prior to 9/11. The Southern Baptist Convention four years ago reorganized its International Missions Board to focus on the part of the world where Muslims live. That year, the Convention published a guide for use when praying for the conversion of Muslims. This year, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary even created a master's degree program to help students minister to Muslims. Some called this the "10/40 Movement", a reference to the latitude and longitude of the Middle Eastern and Asian parts of the world with biggest Muslim population.
The 9/11 attacks gave great new energy to the cause and provided a focal point for millions of evangelicals. A new video, "Radical Obedience: Beyond 9/11," shows Southern Baptists around the world responding to the Sept. 11 attacks -- and reminds them that God's work is not yet finished. "Scripture has called us to be radically obedient, to go beyond language and cultural walls so that allpeoples may know Him," said International Mission Board spokesman Mark Snowden. "Many Southern Baptists have already committed to become radically obedient by praying for the Muslim people of the world. Others havedisplayed their radical obedience by going, in peace, to make disciples in Jesus' name."
And though we are taught to believe that anger can only eat holes in our innards, a study conducted at Bowling Green State University found that those people who viewed the 9/11 attacks as part of a theological war--and that the attacks were Satanically-driven - actually experienced greater "spiritual growth," becoming closer to God and Church.
Anti-Semitism Got New Life
Jews, ironically, may have been less shaken initially because so much of current Jewish theology attempts to deal with the horrors of the Holocaust. "The idea that people are capable of evil things is not news," says Rabbi Mark Margolies of Congregation Beth Am Israel in Penn Valley, Pa. What really upset Jews more was seeing the proliferation of ant-Semitic rhetoric.