Where was god on 9/11? – Ten years later

We can't go back in time, but we can educate the world and strive for a better future in a world without religion.

We can't go back in time, but we can educate the world and strive for a better future in a world without religion.

You must have heard that line hundreds of times; especially from atheists and skeptics; but when was the last time you heard a believer ask this question to an atheist, and expect an honest answer?

Today I was addressed by a sweet catholic lady, an elder woman, she had one question for me: “Where was god on 9/11?”

She was upset, and rightfully so.

Her local priest brought up the question, and told her (and everyone else attending mass today) that god was very busy preventing hundreds of people from boarding the planes that were hijacked that morning, giving strength to those who crashed the plane in Pennsylvania, giving spiritual support to those who knew their loved ones were inside the Twin Towers as they collapsed, receiving with open arms all these souls into heaven; that this event must have made the world a better place in a way that we, poor humans, cannot understand because god works in mysterious ways.

God was very busy, working in effing mysterious ways.


Exactly how can anyone justify any of this without sounding like a brainless moron? How can anyone justify the hundreds of people who lost their lives trying to save other people’s lives? How can anyone say that the world is a better place because of this, and justify the over 100,000 1’000,000 lives lost in Iraq as the result of years of invasion, triggered by these events?

You can’t.

Is this the best your god can do to comfort you? Really?

Is this the best your god can do to comfort you? Really?

Ten years ago today the entire world witnessed what, in my opinion, was the most revealing account of the real dangers of religious extremism; its effects continue killing innocents today. No, it’s not over, and the world’s psychological wounds have not healed.

We can’t go back in time and change the events of 2001, but we can, and ought to educate the world, help religious people grow out of their ancient fairy tales, and strive for a better future in a world without religion.

My heart goes out to all those whose lives were dramatically changed by the loss of their loved ones, not only on 9/11/2001, but also by all of the aftermath deaths we can hold 9/11 accountable for. This insight might give you comfort.

Instead of asking where god was on 9/11, ask where those hundreds of thousands of people who lost their lives on 9/11, and because of 9/11 would be today if we had lived in a world without religion.

Ten years ago today Islam showed the world what irrational beliefs can do to humanity, on a big scale. Irrational deeds against innocent human beings, in the hopes of irrational rewards in the afterlife. These are the fruits of religious fundamentalism. These are the fruits of faith.

I’ve never seen faith move mountains, but I’ve seen what it can do to skyscrapers.

29 thoughts on “Where was god on 9/11? – Ten years later

  1. Wow that guy is a ‘leader’ in a church. He’s in charge. Feel sorry for good and smart believers. That answer is so childish. I guess pastor brainiac didn’t get the memo that The Mighty New Atheist (many say because of 9/11) are on the scene and have evolved the conversation. We have been calling out believers for saying “mysterious ways” for the last ten years, and some have even ditched the childish answers like that and have become more eloquent in defending their belief or…changed teams. “Mysterious ways….” Please. Awesomeness buddy, 


    ps TeamAtheistForever 

    • I know, right? We can only hope they continue this kind of oxymoronic rhetoric, so that people finally understand how irrational religion is. With this kind of discourse religion wil invalidate itself, at least for the ones who still have a kittle bit of reason within them.
      Thanks for your comment, Kriss.

  2. Thanks Monica, brilliant as always. As I said at my blog, “The images of the smoking towers serve as a reminder of humanity’s ability to destroy one another, claiming righteous truth, but ultimately by just killing each other.

      • Awh marty and monica. y’all should team up (blog) and counter that New Zealand Christian blog M&M. You two could be the atheist M&M. I dunno, I think it would be awesome.


  3. Another result of all this in the name of religion crap; we now have the “home land security” IE gestapo not to mention the rest of the (Patriot? Act).

  4. According to this lady’s priest their god is too weak to have prevented the terrorists from hijacking the planes but was powerful enough to convince some wait for the dead in heaven.  Why would someone worship a god who can’t even cause a plane to break down on the runway?

    On the other hand we shouldn’t forget that the terrorists were Muslims.  Muslims worship the same God of Abraham and Isaac as the Jews and the Christians do.  They have the same prophets and the same origins.  God was powerful enough to give the terrorists strength to destroy the lives of 3000 people.  God was powerful enough to plunge the West and the Middle East into war that have lasting repercussions.  God was powerful enough to bring the West to the brink of bankruptcy.  After all you can’t give God the credit for saving ‘giving strength to those who crashed the plane in Pennsylvania’ and not lay the blame at his feet as well.  If God does not approve then let him step out of his hidey hole and say something.

    What sort of mental gymnastics does it take to believe that a god who is good and loving exists while the world sees a monstrosity like the bombing of the Twin Towers?  What sort of cognitive dissonance accepts the trite explanation of ‘mysterious ways’ when we see images of people falling and we hear the cries of those calling for help or passing on last minute messages to loved ones?  What sort of coward imagines how the world is made a better place by the horrific murder of 3000 people?

    • Exactly. You have to make a lot of rationalization to make that whole thing fit in a sane brain. 

      The person I’m referring to in my post was obviously feeling that discomfort, characteristic of cognitive dissonance. She went through all the whys; she was taught that god could change the course of events by just saying it, or by just wishing it. It didn’t make sense to her, either. 

      Sadly, she decided that, no matter what, she chooses to believe in god, which is kind of dishonest to my eyes. Hopefully one day she will recognize that she’s lying to herself.

      Thank you for your comment.

  5. That last line was particularly striking.

    I’ve got to agree with this post – religion may have been useful a long time ago, but that usefulness is slowly ticking away and we’re left with some pretty bizarre beliefs and actions.

  6. Ughhh you’re so right Monica, but seriously religion gives “God” such a bad name. When people define God as some kind of personality that holds court over the universe, I get sick.

    If god is anything, god is everything…I think that is like the first rule of god according to every religion. So god was in the hearts of the awful terrorists and the heroic responders to ground zero. It has to go both ways, any other interpretation is indefensible.

    If you can accept god as both “good” and “bad”, then you are expanding the definition and it is quite obvious where god was on that terrible day…everywhere!

    Now, I don’t know how useful that definition of god is to people at church, but I find it useful in my life.

  7. “God moves in mysterious ways, his miracles to perform”. Really? To spout that kind of stuff is intellectual cowardice, nothing less.

    The 9/11 is a very sensitive issue. I think the priest should had thought through how his answer would be taken. I am just amazed that we are actually making an effort to go on with our lives though we know that no one could actually ever recover.

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