America's Spiritual Response to Terrorism

Following the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, Christians throughout the United States wondered how our nation would respond spiritually to this horrible tragedy. Many outspoken religious leaders immediately voiced their hope that the images of death and destruction etched into our minds would force us to ask questions of ourselves and fill churches in an attempt to forsake our materialistic gods and turn to a Higher Power. Others used the attacks to pronounce a judgment of God upon the sin that has so infected the hearts and lives of the American people in the hope that Americans would suddenly cease their immoral behavior simply because a national tragedy occurred. Others, such as myself, believed that no terrorist attack would cause the American people as a whole to become more spiritual or to turn to God. We realized that national or worldwide revival would not become a reality because God is not a “quick fix,” and true revival is based only upon truth, not national disasters or emotional trauma.

How has America responded, spiritually, to this tragedy? Fifteen years later, we have an answer: Religious pluralism, inclusivism, and relativism have become America’s new gods. Of course, this subjectivism and religious ecumenism has been infiltrating our homes, families, and churches for many years now, but the terrorist attacks have placed these “-isms” on the fast track to the very center of America’s thought. Religious leaders of all stripes are now calling on all religions to abandon their “war language,” their exclusivity, their insistence upon claiming to know the truth. “God is greater than any one truth or religion” seems to be the mantra of the American public. Especially since September 11, 2001, Christians are being forced to either change their message or tolerate the possibility that other paths to God are just as valid as our own.

As Bible-believing Christians, we must see America’s new “collective conscience” for what it truly is—a call for us to deny Jesus Christ. For us to lend any credence to the belief that other religions or other faith traditions are just as viable as our own is to deny Jesus Christ. It does not matter whether such denial results from active participation in interfaith services or multi-faith gatherings or through passive silence when Jesus is belittled or placed on par with other deities—when we embrace the attitudes and philosophies prevalent within today’s society, we deny Jesus Christ. We must not allow this to be a part of our lives, churches, or ministries. Let us make sure that we are declaring the truth in love without compromise. Let us make sure that we are serving as ambassadors of Jesus Christ in a world that needs the gospel. We must never allow the world to dictate our standards for ministry or silence our proclamation of the truth. — Matt Costella