Monday, August 28, 2006

Faith and 9/11: Five Years Later

Five years after 9/11, apparently our faith hasn't changed despite a brief surge immediately after the attacks according to the latest Barna survey. Called Five Years Later: Attacks Show No Lasting Influence on Americans' Faith, the study found that of 19 key dimensions of spirituality and faith, none showed any statistical change from the summer before the attacks.

I remember that time very well, and I certainly thought that there would be a revival. That's certainly what seemed to be happening at the time. People took time off work to go to memorial services, and my church's attendance shot up. But it turns out it was just a spike.

But what's really interesting about this study is that it found that what changed in faith at the time was rather than people becoming more orthodox, they actually were less orthodox. Data for the month after the attack found that "Americans were less likely to feel a responsibility to share their faith; they were less willing to reject the notion that good works can earn salvation; they were more likely to believe that the devil is merely a symbol of evil; and they were slightly less likely to believe God is the perfect, all-powerful creator who rules the world."

So in other words, for a brief moment after the attacks America actually became more emergent.

In all seriousness, the upcoming five-year anniversary of the attacks has been bringing up a lot of memories for me. The initial news reports, the confusions, listening in disbelief to the radio in my office as the first tower fell, watching the planes get stopped dead in their tracks at Orange County airport from my office window, telling a coworker that we were going to war, watching the horrific scenes on television... and lying in bed late that night listening to fighter jets patrol the skies over my home, unable to take it all in. If I wasn't reading about 9/11 now I might be able to convince myself it was all just a Hollywood thriller.

8 Comments:

At 8:39 AM, Blogger dorsey said...

What does faith have to do with 9/11? The government provides for and protects us, not God.

I remember watching TV that morning. As we were trying to get our heads around it, a friend asked, "How does a nation respond to something like this?" I told him, "The first move they make will be to take away some more of our freedom, and the nation will beg them to do it." It didn't take a prophet to see the Patriot Act coming.

My church was full that Sunday. I opened the service with a prayer that our response as believers, despite our shock and our grief, would be so counter to the culture that the world would not be able to help but take notice. Yeah, that worked.

Probably didn't help that I said "amen" and then led the congregation in "America, the Beautiful."

 
At 7:52 PM, Blogger jeff said...

Yeah, I remember leading our congregation in prayer, just after the attacks.

I prayed for comfort... (got lots of 'Amens')
I prayed for peace... (got lots of 'Amens')
I prayed for protection... (got LOTS of 'Amens')
I prayed for justice... (I think a few people spoke in tongues)
Then, I prayed for the muslim people and the hearts of the terrorists... (cricket*cricket*cricket)


[Save the Mona Lisa]

 
At 10:25 PM, Blogger shelly said...

Then, I prayed for the muslim people and the hearts of the terrorists... (cricket*cricket*cricket)

Dude! I don't think my church did that at all. I can imagine they prayed for GWB, the safety of the country, and that sort of thing; but I seriously doubt any prayers were offered in regards to the terrorists involved or the Muslim community. (I spent that mid-week service in the bathroom in tears as the shock of what'd happened had finally hit me.)

 
At 9:24 PM, Blogger Mrs Zeke said...

"Americans were less likely to feel a responsibility to share their faith; they were less willing to reject the notion that good works can earn salvation; they were more likely to believe that the devil is merely a symbol of evil; and they were slightly less likely to believe God is the perfect, all-powerful creator who rules the world."

So in other words, for a brief moment after the attacks America actually became more emergent.

?huh?

 
At 6:49 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

The emergent movement is a response to traditional evangelicalism that empasizes flat, informal organization structures and a non-systematic approach to theology, among other things. What you often find in emerging circles is a less orthodox take on theology and hence the little joke about how America was more emergent after 9/11.

 
At 8:06 PM, Blogger Mrs Zeke said...

ok babe I am still confused but that's cool I am used to it when it comes to this stuff anyway

Love you

 
At 5:22 AM, Blogger jeff said...

The emergent movement is a response to traditional evangelicalism that empasizes flat, informal organization structures and a non-systematic approach to theology, among other things. What you often find in emerging circles is a less orthodox take on theology

Ooooohhhh! Now I get it.

I thought "Emergent" was just an excuse for democrats to be christian, and smoke cigars/drink beer while discussing religious stuff

Man! I'm sooo close. I just don't own a Mac yet (still running Fundamentalist XP).

 
At 11:17 PM, Blogger shelly said...

'Salright, Jeff. I've been running "Fundamentalist XP" for a couple of years now...and I've never considered myself a Fundie.

I thought "Emergent" was just an excuse for democrats to be christian,

I thought it was an excuse for Christians to be anything but Republican. ;)

 

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