America’s Difficulty in Shaking Off Christian Values   Leave a comment

I am very thankful that some of our core values as a culture still have much of their life from the deep roots of Christianity.  We have a long history of befriending and helping those who have fought against us.  I’m impressed that as a whole we remain so accepting of Islam.  Many have commented how 9/11 was a “game-changer,” and it is true since that day I have an easily triggered anxiety about large scale terrorist attacks, almost expecting it to happen.  I remember watching on TV as the towers collapsed and the wave of disbelief that washed over me with a new sense of vulnerability.  It may have changed us in some significant operational ways, but it did not change our values. 

We were not sucked into intolerance and hatred of Islam or Middle-easterners.  As any individual who is attacked by another, we naturally became suspicious and cautious, but as a whole we worked conscientiously and hard at maintaining our value of equality and acceptance.  I know I personally worked at learning empathy for the the terrorists and those behind them, to try to see things from their perspective.  As a country we have a history of reconciling with our enemies–Germany, Japan, Russia.  I love this ability our society has owned of leaving bygones behind instead of teaching every future generation to hate.  Of course, we have usually been in the position of winners, which makes such a position so much easier, but we have done so in the case of the Viet Cong as well.  In some ways it is a value that is easy and costs little for the powerful and privileged, but it is still an attribute for which I am grateful.

I can also understand the hugely insecure and vulnerable perspective of those without power and the anger springing up from feeling deprived of what they would choose for themselves if they had more control.  Like individuals who have little power in a relationship, the only recourse to stand up for themselves is not direct confrontation, but guerrilla warfare.  From one angle, perhaps 9/11 did what was intended by the terrorists and was for our ultimate good, an opportunity to see how our positions in power are hurtful to others. Some have suggested that Muslim youth are starting to take a new approach which does not embrace terrorist acts.  I hope for all concerned that that is the case, that somehow a new mutual respect, understanding, acceptance, and even support however limited, might characterize our futures.

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Posted September 11, 2011 by janathangrace in thoughts

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