Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nine Eleven Normal

Ten days ago, the blog world was abuzz with people relating their perspective on the biggest story of the century so far. Every telling was pretty much the same, it just varied as to where one was and how one heard… most everyone had seen it happen via television.

Ten years ago today, “America: A Tribute to Heroes” aired on all the televisions across America. It represented well the atmosphere in those early days of the post-9/11 world. Unity: laying aside differences and valuing what mattered was the shared state of mind. It is funny how real threats and dangers help people to prioritize things well and see each other as human beings. Sadly, even though we could not fathom life returning to normal, it did not take long for a new normal to set in. This new normal is in some ways worse than the old.

One of the messages people really wanted to emphasize early on was that religion did not cause the attacks. However, religion has always been a big problem in the world. Jesus’ main opponent in His time on earth was religion, and His message was largely about turning away from religion and turning instead to God on His terms. Man-made rules and attempts devised to appease the guilt we all share—used more as attempts to control people and exert power—have always been used by many for evil. In the days since 9/11 we have been witness to some of the worst religion has to offer—on all sides of the argument.

Perhaps the terrorists bit off more than they could chew when they pulled off a large and successful attack on the west. It caused the opposite effect from what was intended at first. Since those days, however, their cause seems to have advanced quite well, chipping away at the resistance held up against it. Religious pride and racial prejudice, not spiritual humility and shared humanity, has grown.

It boils down to people’s inability to handle paradox. Paradox is everywhere in reality. Like the paradox between freedom and security. People feel the need to embrace one side or the other completely. So, we now live in a world of two camps. The arguments and fights between those who want to protect people and those who want to protect freedom are harsh. The wars that resulted from 9/11 are seen as a necessary evil by some, a crime by others, and a cause for celebration to a misguided, hateful few. The way people cross the line between supporting the courage of those who sacrifice their lives to protect our way of life and celebrating the killing of people different from us is disturbing.

Sometimes it feels like we need to go back to those early days post-9/11 and start over forming the “new normal.”

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