|The Falling Man|
Every American has their 9/11 story. We all know exactly where we were and what we were doing when we first heard the news on that terrible morning where 2,977 people lost their lives. They were murdered in an attack from a religious war that has been ongoing since before recorded history. It doesn't matter what religions are involved. It really doesn't. It is the simple us vs. them that gets amplified by supernatural righteousness and imperative.
It was also the day that the final decade of the 20th century died. This first decade of the 21st century has been rife with fear, war and antagonism. The mindset of the 2000’s was created on that day. It inflamed fundamental religion and bolstered conservative politics. It was—and still is—used to justify continued, unfettered global war. It has allowed crimes and atrocities to be committed on all sides with the public looking the other way or not batting an eye. It, as it is said, also created the “New” Atheists; the movement that this blog and most of its readers are involved in (whether we like the term “New” Atheism or not). Non-believers stood aghast at the loss of life, the callousness in which it was planned and carried out, its root cause and realized this cannot continue. Fundamentalist religion can no longer be ignored and religion is the incubator for this irrational and dangerous enemy to all humanity and progress.
I’m not going to feign some enlightened acceptance about the events and repercussions of 9/11. I cannot forgive those that committed the heinous attacks or those that approved of it. I do not have that in me and honestly, I do not see the existential point to that forgiveness. I am disgusted by the Jihadists for what they did and their worldview. It is vile and it is poisonous. I despise anyone that wishes to kill, maim, repress, and discriminate. When done in the name of petty gods and religions we cannot allow excuses to be made for the beliefs that spawn this violence. These are the results of the hateful, weak and stupid minds that grasp onto religion and that religion grasps onto. I have no other way to describe it and I will not apologize for that. It would not only be a lie to deny it, it would be a dangerous lie. We must not ignore the dangers of religion any longer. No other time in history has allowed the poisoned mind that cares not for this world to decimate, destroy and oppress on such a large scale because they think they will have a reward on the other side. It is disgusting. It is false. It is immoral. It would be even more disgusting, false and immoral to allow that falsity to continue with a free pass because of “faith.” Religion shall no longer have that advantage. We can’t afford it. Even the “faithful” can’t afford it.
We must also be mindful from extending the worst of that guilt to others. Obviously, not all Muslims committed that crime or were conspirators in it. Most, I have to believe, were just as horrified as the rest of the world. This is important to recognize that and extend it to all areas of our lives. We, as the godless, the irreligious, the antitheists—the opponents of religion—must be careful to not place blame for religious hate and violence on all the practitioners of religion. Sometimes that isn’t easy. Sometimes I just want to rage against all of them for the stupidity, willful ignorance, uncritical acceptance and discrimination that religion breeds. However not all religious people are these things. To level that accusation is to be as dogmatic and unthinking as those we criticize. Not accepting the truth of another's beliefs is not reason enough to condemn them. Not without rational, logical critical thought. Not unless it is deserved.
We also have to steel ourselves from a cold-hearted indifference to people continuing to mourn 9/11. The cynical use of 9/11 by religions and politicians has left a bad taste in many peoples’ mouths and in some instances even mentioning 9/11 has become groan inducing. Do not allow the fundamentalist reactions, jingoism and nationalism to harden our hearts from the powerful emotions people have. They are real. No one should be told how to grieve. This, however, does not mean we must stay silent when this or any other tragedy is cynically used to further an agenda. The attacks that occurred ten years ago today have left a significant scar on the psyche of the American people. I have no words to suggest what to do about that. What we cannot do is allow others to use it. It is not a resource to exploit. The dead cannot speak to request vengeance. They cannot speak to defend peace. We should not speak for them. We are the living. The dead are gone. We need to move forward on our own without using the past as an anchor to old thinking.