When we look out the rear view mirror today, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in horror we see two magnificent New York City buildings crumbling, a five-sided Washington, D.C., building on fire, and a plane falling from the sky in the Pennsylvania countryside. A monstrous evil carried out in the name of God.
This earth’s history records massive evils in God’s name–the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the Salem Witch Trials, South African Apartheid based on a racist biblical interpretation, and recently the outrage of Warren Jeffs, to name but a few. Religion, run amok, remains hazardous to human health.
Hatred of others prevails as one of humanities’ besetting sins. Human animosity mixed with religious ideology, unchecked by compassion, produces conflagrations. Our era seems as prone to such disruptions as any time in human history. Technology has expanded the capacity to maim and destroy.
More than 3,000 persons died as the Twin Towers collapsed. Various nationalities, ethnicities, religious commitments and class categories were assembled in those glass/steel towers on that day. Innocent victims? Not exactly. Each bore sins and guilts of one sort or another. But none deserved the fate that befell them.
Such monstrous evil exhibits sheer irrationality. Some have estimated that 265 Muslims died in the inferno, caused by those acting in alleged submission to the inexorable jihadic will of Allah. Surely the 19 young men could have used more selectivity, to say the least. Terrorism chooses its victims at random.
And then in the aftermath, Muslims desire to build a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero. Hatreds flare, as if the general run of Islamic people applaud terrorism. How ironic! Again the irrationality of hatred shows its ugly face. Fortunately wiser heads have prevailed.
An impressive Sean Penn documentary, “Love Hate Love,” showed how victim families of the 9/11 disasters have risen to alleviate suffering in Africa, India and Bali locations. Folk looked from within their various faiths to realize their common humanity, once again to grasp the truth John Donne (1571?-1631) spoke: “No one is an island entire of itself ... . Any one’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in humankind; therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”