Thoughts on September 11, 2011
What would the most productive way to remember that unforgettable day one decade ago be: anger, revenge, isolation?
What would a divine being suggest?
I guess it would depend on the divinity.
Yahweh of the Hebrews would certainly have urged revenge, especially in this case as the reaction to the event certainly helped those who refer to themselves as his chosen, if no one else. But what of he whom Christians claim as Yahweh’s son? After all, it was primarily those who claim to follow him who were originally victimized, and it has been primarily they who undertook a revenge hundreds of times more damaging.
What might he counsel?
I know it’s presumptive, but most people I know engage in similar presumptions when it comes to him; we all seem to know, or at least think we know what he’d think and what he’d counsel. So I’ll take a shot as well (no pun intended). I would guess he’d counsel introspection. He might counsel that we try to understand what caused both the original event and those reactive events that followed, and that we stop and look at the consequences visited on too many of us. Finally, he might counsel us to consider whether or not in the aftermath of our decisions we are leaving our progeny a world in which they’ll live in peace, good health, happiness and prosperity.
I have not been a “Christian” for a long while although I’ve continued to love and admire an image of Jesus as the Prince of Peace, a lover of love and justice. As a child and young adult his spirit infused me every Christmas in a pure and innocent form of love and a profound desire to do good. But then, Christianity seemed to change, to espouse racism, xenophobia and inequality. As I matured I undertook a quest for the divine, studying different religions seeking for their common threads. I studied a great many of them, and I especially studied Christianity in its myriad forms as expressed throughout its millennial history. All too soon I realized it hadn’t really changed, or at least, it hadn’t changed all that much since it took some drastic turns very quickly after the demise of its hero, who perhaps was not really its founder. Hypocrisy seems to me and many others as the hallmark, not only of Christianity, but of all three of the Abrahamic religions; sadly so since all three in at least some aspects espouse beautiful and noble aspirations.
Wouldn’t this anniversary of so tragic an event, and of so many other tragic events that have followed it, be a great day for Abrahamists from all three great branches of what is in essence one faith to engage in a profound self-examination and perhaps, the start of a turn towards their better natures. That just might make both the event and its aftermath worthwhile, although from a very long perspective. To those suffering its consequences perhaps nothing can ever make it worthwhile. Perhaps honest introspection, by Jews and Christians and Muslims might eliminate the profound hypocrisy they’ve all turned towards and create an environment in which their joint aspirations, not different at all in the end, might become realities. Where we would all realize that every other human is our brother, an equal, not an inferior; that a just god, like a just father, would have no favored sons or daughters and would expect us all to help and honor each other, to care for each other, to share his bounties equitably.
Not likely I know, at least not on this tenth anniversary of a period of reckonings and counter reckonings perhaps still to raw; but perhaps someday soon: before it’s too late.
 © Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2011; all rights reserved