Category Archives: september 11

The Religious Significance of 9/11

The September 11th terrorist attacks happened almost a decade ago. What has changed in the world since then? Since this blog is mainly about my notes or thoughts about religion, I think that I would shine a light on the affect that 9/11 had on religion.

But first, let me go back in time a bit, as is the main focus of my blog: the emergence of Christianity and 2nd temple Judaism.

Judaism as we know it is really a post 2nd temple phenomenon. And as far as I can tell, so is Christianity. But there’s a general trend that I noticed in the major changes in those two religions.

Judaism and Samaritanism split due to a national tragedy: the destruction of the first temple and the exile of the Jewish elite from Judah. Upon their return, the Judean elites put the finishing touches on Judaism and split with their Samaritan bretheren. The Jewish religion before the exile would probably be almost unrecognizable to most modern viewers.

Similarly, another national tragedy happened in 70 CE: the destruction of the second temple, effectively shattering the national pride of the Jews. This national tragedy sparked the more recognizable forms of both Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity.

Now back to the present. My thinking is that the national tragedy of 9/11 will create a similar shift in religious thought in the modern world. It won’t be a new Christianity or a new Judaism. It will be atheism. For most people, 9/11 was encouraged by religious thinking. Without a 9/11, there would have been no “New Atheist” movement.

Of course I’m not exactly the most knowledgable about sociological and historical shifts in religious thought. But the trend in history that I’ve seen is that major religious shifts are brought on by spectacular disasters and shifts in consciousness. The most obvious result of 9/11 to me is the spreading out of atheism, much like the destruction of the second temple in 70 CE led to the spreading out of Christianity.

For good or ill, I think that September 11th 2001 marked the beginning of the rise of atheism.

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Posted by on March 26, 2011 in atheism, september 11

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