From Not My God
Tomorrow is the eighth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in history. For many, the events of September Eleventh strengthened their belief in god– for some, in an angry, vengeful god, and for others, a kind, loving god. Others, still, wouldn’t retain their faith in the aftermath of the tragedy. Some of you may be among them.
It is probable that Richard Dawkins wrote the God Delusion and started the New Atheist movement in direct response to the attacks. Would New Atheism have come about if it hadn’t been for the last straw, this one fell swoop that illustrated in the most gruesome way how dangerous religion is?
For certain, many claimed and still do that the terrorists were not acting because of religion. Critics said it was for reasons having to do with the economy or occupation. However, the terrorists themselves believed that they were acting in the name if Islam, and that is what really mattered.
I was an atheist before the attacks and remain so. It wasn’t until afterward did I arrive to the conclusion that, yes, religion is dangerous… that, yes, September Eleventh gave us cruel evidence of that reality. For at least a few years after the tragedy, I was still making excuses. It’s not about Islam, I kept telling myself. Terrorism has nothing to do with Islam.
Finally, I had to call a spade a spade.
How many of you became atheists, or started to lose faith, as a direct result of the September Eleventh attacks? If we count the God Delusion and the resulting New Atheism as indirect results, we can count many, many more.