9/11 Keeping the Faith

Baton Rouge- The terrorist attacks of 9/11 encouraged many Americans to migrate to churches and houses of worship. According to tracking research by the Barna Group, after a few months the intense desire for religious activity returned to its pre-attack levels.Lauren Markoe of Religion News Service states “For many 9/11 families, faith has been the lifeline that sustained them through the loss of a parent, child or sibling. But for others, faith was lost that day and has been a cold comfort in the years since.”

The Barna Group offers a range of customized research, resources and training for companies,churches,non profits and leaders. As the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 approaches, the Barna Group conducted research to track the long-term spiritual profile of Americans. The study shows that within a few months the religious lives of the nation went back to normal.
According to David Kinnaman who directed the Barna Group’s analysis, “Most of the change in spiritual behavior seems to have happened since the middle of the last decade. Church participation in the New York market especially has shifted most since 2004.”

Since the 9/11 attacks, there have been other threats of terrorist attacks, the Wall Street crisis, and the struggling economy. These are issues people have to deal with emotionally and their religious life help them cope with  issues.

“ After 9/11 My church was packed with people, it was standing room only. We all wanted to be close to our families and God. We were afraid.Around mid January 2002 services became less crowded with people.”  said National Guard Veteran, St. Jude Church Member Jonathan Thomas

Researchers say the faith of New Yorkers changed considerably from September 2004 to January 2011. Their spiritual behavior (like going to church, reading the Bible, and praying) started to progressively increase. Church attendance was lowest in 1999 and 2000 (31 percent), but has steadily grown to 46 percent today.

Student, Lauren Crump states, “Even though people were running to get saved i thought that was a beautiful thing…As far as getting saved as a safety measure,i wasn’t really with that even as an eleven year old.”The study shows those who pray, read the Bible and attend church in an average week have increased from 17 percent of the population to 24 percent.

According to Barbara Johnson “ Previous to the Sept. 11 i was not  an active in church. After the attacks it put life in perspective. It also put fear in my mind and heart. I began to attend church regularly.”

The Barna Group’s study shows that a crisis can affect people in different ways.It may draw people closer to God or grow distant. In correlation to 9/11 it bought people to new heights of spiritual activity. Ten years  after Sept.11 people are still reminded of the pain,but  some are’t as dedicated to prayer and worship as they were in after the terrorist attacks.

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