The Great Courses

9-11-12: Don't Let Cynicism Win The Day

Sep 11, 2012 at 7:50 AM
5 years ago

My hope on this 9/11 anniversary is that we do not let cynicism win the day.  For every one of us who remembers vividly those dark events and again feel the cold chill and the muted grief over the memory of the dead and wounded, there are who will mock and jest, assert that the attack was a non-event, or worse yet, it was deserved.

In my mind, I see the attacks of September 11th to be the ultimate faith-based initiative, religion once again motivating humans to destroy each other to appease their invisible deity.  It should not be forgotten.  It must not be forgotten.

9/11 attack

I don't go in for all of the bumper sticker catchphrases so often seen on Facebook/Twitter, but I do see value in taking a serious look back at the day the towers fell.  It's not cliche to acknowledge that it was a day that changed the world, and looking backward has merit as long as we also commit ourselves to moving forward.  

I'd be more cynical myself if we weren't nearing completion on One World Trade Center (I miss the former moniker, "Freedom Tower"), a 104-story skyscraper to be finished in 2013 and standing as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.  From the debris rises a fresh beginning and a bold statement to our attackers of over a decade ago.

one world trade center

And as before, the building will occupy a vast and diverse array of people from all walks of life, from all cultures and from all worldviews.  The victims are largely not represented by a Christian cross (t-beam) placed at a memorial, or by Christian prayers at a Christian ceremony organized by the 9/11 museum.  David Silverman, president of American Atheists, is absolutely correct when he says that "They (Christians) want 9/11 to appear to be an attack on Christianity, and it was not."

Indeed, those terrorists attacks also killed Muslims, Jews, even (gasp!) atheists.  Are these casualties also to be memorialized by someone else's superstitious standard?

9/11 cross

For this reason, I support Silverman and American Atheists in their lawsuit to keep any religion from erecting their own metaphorical revival tents upon the site.  It's an unfortunate battle, but one that must be fought. 

My hope is that we can all, ultimately, see past the conflict and cynicism.  It's a good day to remember the victims, salute the rescuers and citizens who were at their best when circumstances were at their worst, and commit ourselves to create a better world: a world without religion.

-Seth Andrews

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