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Unpopular Thoughts on 9/11

I want to write some things about 9/11 that most Americans won’t want to read.


Friday, the ninth grade history class that I teach finished a section on the Crusades.  A possible review question was to write about the ferocity of the Crusaders during the capture of Jerusalem.  A student wrote in defense of the Crusaders, “The Muslims were (and still are) against everything they believed, and had taken possession of Jerusalem.  I don’t blame them for their actions.”


As you consider her answer, consider the facts.  According to Christian and Muslim contemporaries, the Crusaders killed men, women, and children indiscriminately in the capture of Jerusalem.  In the Mosque of al-Aqsa all the Muslims, who had surrendered and been promised release upon payment of a ransom, were killed.  The blood was so deep that it reached the Crusaders’ knees.


My student’s response reveals how little our Christian faith seems to influence our attitudes towards Muslims at this time.  Now, don’t misunderstand me.  I do not downplay the horror of the attacks made on 9/11.  They were murderous deeds.  Those that actively planned and supported them were accomplices to murder and deserve to be punished.  Nor do I agree with those who deny the role of their and other terrorists’ Islamic faith or repeat the nonsensical and false mantra, “Islam means peace.”  It means “submission,” and Muhammad himself, besides being a religious leader and brilliant diplomat, was also a successful warrior.


Admitting all this, can we as Christians possibly support the Crusaders’ actions in Jerusalem that at the very least slaughtered innocent noncombatants?  Can we really think that all Muslims are fit for the slaughter?   Now, I am no pacifist.   I don’t even completely reject the validity of the crusaders’ project.  Much of Muslim talk about the Crusades is special pleading.  The Muslims were conquerors of other peoples’ lands, Christian and pagan, and were a definite threat to Europe.  At least in part the Crusades were intended as a counterattack against an aggressive enemy and a war of liberation of oppressed Christian peoples.


Still, none of this is to the point.  As Christians, do we not believe that Muslims are made in the image of God?  Why have we American Christians been more willing to embrace two wars in which many innocent Muslims have been killed than we have been to take up the task of evangelizing Muslims for the glory of Christ?  Are they not part of the world that God so loved that he gave his Son?


Tomorrow, let us grieve for the loss of so many innocent people on 9/11.  Let us honor those who sacrificially gave their lives to save others.  But let us also allow God to examine our hearts.  Let us ask him whether we are infected with the kind of hatred that drove the terrorists to kill all those people ten years ago.  Christians, let us ask ourselves whether we truly follow in our hearts the Savior who commanded, “Love you enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

14 thoughts on “Unpopular Thoughts on 9/11

  1. Thank you, Bill, for knowing enough about the complexities of history to clearly demonstrate that people claiming the name of Christ are equally guilty of bloody hands. It is so easy for us to live in the moment and only see our current pain, along with those who caused it. Forgiveness in situations like these require the power of the Holy Spirit; it cannot come through the flesh.

  2. Hi Bill, good thoughts. Both Muslims and Christians had bloody hands for about a millennium.

    I’m appalled to see Christians blocking the building of mosques in the US. Sad to say, the persecutors of today are in many cases the descendants of those who were persecuted at one point or another in US history: Catholics, Germans, Irish, Jews, Mormons. All of these were linked to a supposed worldwide conspiracy to rob America of its goods or its liberties.

    As amazing is the move in Europe to rob Muslim women of their head garb, a move which has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with statism (or “security”, as it is false-called).

    1. Thanks, Gary. When a society becomes dominated by concerns for security, liberties go out the window. After all, it was the French revolutionaries’ “Committee for Public Safety” that used the guillotine with glee.

  3. Ouch. Hard words to receive. But the bitterest medicine is often the most effective. Good post, brother.

    P.S., “Muhammad himself, besides being a religious leader and brilliant diplomat, was also a successful warrior.” So was David.

    1. Thanks, Kipp. As you may have guessed by now, I’m not the sharpest technological blade in the drawer. I just realized that I was getting comments. With regard to Muhammad, my comment on him wasn’t really a criticism. My point is more that a comparison of his remarkable political and military accomplishments as a religious leader affects Islam’s nature in a way that David’s don’t affect Christianity. There is a difference between a founder who is like Muhammad and one like Jesus who dies on a cross.

    1. Thanks, Roy. Now, if you could just help this technological dimwit. I just realized that I was getting comments on my posts and that the email address I had was out of date!

  4. Billy, Hip! Hip! Hooray! Actually, on the 10 yr anniversary of 9/11, that particular emotion may be insensitive. You know, the Crusades is still an open sore for many Muslims. By exalting the Crusaders uncritically, Muslims may be pushed further away from conversion to Christianity. Question – What was your response to your student? Thanks. Judo

    1. You’ll probably believe this, unfortunately, but I didn’t realize until tonight that I was getting comments on my posts! A technological neanderthal. I told her that she should ask herself whether she thought Christ would have done the same.

    1. Thank you, LeAnne. I apologize for not replying before. I write pretty well, I think, but I don’t blog too well technologically. I just realized that I was getting comments and then that my email address was the old one!

  5. I believe that not only everyone is made in the image of God but everyone after commiting a sin like the terrorists (not the dead ones(obviously)that had planned 9/11 that are still out there (if they still are)are capable of repenting there sins which I know is probably unlikely but still I believe that they can still be accepted into heaven. Also, that Christians such as ourselves would personally be afraid to evangelize to these specific terrorists and or muslums especially if we got a chance to so so, I know that I, personally would be terrified to speak to these muslums. But if i got the chance to ask them one question it would simply be “Why?”

    1. Thanks, Joseph, for your comment, and I agree. As Christians, we must believe that all human beings are made in God’s image and that upon repentance and faith in Christ are assured of a place in heaven. I certainly understand your fear, but the Lord is mighty. It would be good to ask why and listen to the answer. Above all, it is crucial that we pray for them.

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