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Terrorism Through the Eyes of Faith

The events of September 11, 2001, have produced a broad array of conflicting emotions within all of us. We have struggled to know how to think, feel and respond to the attacks. Of course as followers of Christ it should not have come as a total surprise, for we know the world is not the way it’s supposed to be. The words of C.S. Lewis at the outbreak of World War II are applicable to our own situation: “The war [attack] creates no absolutely new situation; it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice..... We are mistaken when we compare war with ‘normal life.’ Life has never been normal” (The Weight of Glory, p. 23.)

But, despite a world view that predisposes us to understand such evil, we are still left reeling within ourselves. As we think about our responses to the new threat of terrorism, it is helpful to recall that our emotions and cognitive processes are ultimately good gifts of God to help us navigate our way in the face of danger, evil and uncertainty within the world. But of course there’s a problem. We are fallen creatures, and thus our emotions and cognitive responses aren’t as God intended. While they are still fundamentally good gifts of God, they are twisted, distorted, and miss the mark of their original intention. As those redeemed by God’s grace in Jesus Christ, we need to allow our emotions and thinking to be transformed. Thus, terrorism through the eyes of faith needs a clear understanding of our natural emotions and thinking, in contrast to the redeemed perspective...

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Dennis Hollinger

Dennis Hollinger, Professor, is the Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is a speaker and author of four books, including The Meaning of Sex: Christian Ethics and the Moral LifeHead, Heart, Hands: Bringing Together Christian Thought; Passion and Action; and Choosing the Good: Christian Ethics in a Complex World. Dennis is a Distinguished Fellow with the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity in Bannockburn, IL, and for many years was a member of the Health Care Ethics Committee at Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill, PA. He received an M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, an M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Drew University, and did post-doctoral studies at Oxford University.


COPYRIGHT: This publication is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.

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