Has September 11 changed us?

(photo courtesy www.chromographicsinstitute.com)

By Spencer D Gear

Has the disaster that struck the USA on September 11 really brought us to our senses? Are we Aussies any different following this shock? Could this really happen here?

As I reflect on these events that shocked the world, I am alarmed by what I see in Australia. I spoke with a man the other day and asked if Sept. 11 has had any impact on him. His immediate response was, “All I’ve noticed are the insurance prices.”

I have not heard words like, “This could be the judgment of God on the USA. We deserve it just as much.”

At a presentation on Capitol Hill, Washington DC, in the middle of the year 2001, researcher George Barna said that, “Twenty-five years from now, historians are likely to say the year 2001 was right around the time when the era of moral and spiritual anarchy began.”[1] Barna’s comments were prophetic. His view was that within the next few years moral chaos would be inflicted on American culture.

Then came September 11.

Why limit the moral chaos to USA culture? We have it here with shocking levels of sexual abuse, out-of-control youth and children, abusive parents, and the killing of about 80,000 unborn children every year.[2]

Now the talk of embryonic stem cell research where the embryo is spoken of as just matter. Queensland Senator, Ron Boswell, told the Australian Senate on August 28 2002 about the

“false claims made by Alan Trounson. I would like to put on the record Professor Trounson’s response. His associate, Martin Pera, told ABC Radio that this is merely a simple mistake and Alan corrected [it] quite quickly.    This is very serious, because a second case of misrepresenting embryo research has come to light today. It is not a case of a simple mistake at all but one that has been repeated. First, the video was proven to be false and now a paper offered as proof that embryo cells work on motor neurone disease has turned out to be wrong as well.”[3]

What has this to do with Sept. 11?

Jeremiah the prophet warned the nation of Judah, “Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the Lord. (Jeremiah 8:7) Jeremiah continued to warn: “But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation. (Jer. 10:10)

What brings on God’s wrath? If you read the books of Jeremiah (chs. 4, 8 & 10), Hosea and Romans (chs. 1 & 2) in the Bible, these are the kinds of activities that provoke the Lord God to wrath against humanity: the evil you have done, idolatry, no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land, sin that “breaks all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed”, “all the godlessness and wickedness of men”; and because of “your stubbornness and unrepentant heart.”

I heard little of this kind of assessment in the 12 months following September 11, 2001. Those who proclaim peace when there is no peace are false prophets who will be brought down with the other sinful people when judgment comes. See Jeremiah 6:13-15. There is a clear link between sin and judgment.

David Chilton explained how this applies to contemporary American culture. He wrote:

A few years ago when I worked with the Institute for Christian Economics, a reporter for a national Christian magazine called. He was polling economists and economic writers around the country, asking us a single question: “If you could change one government policy in order to pull us out of our economic problems, what would that change be?”

“That’s easy,” I said. “Stop killing the babies.”

The journalist’s instincts were keen and he said: “Uh…what?”

“Stop killing babies,” I repeated. “You know, abortion? In case you’ve missed the story, over 4,000 unborn babies are slaughtered in this country [USA] every day. They’re poisoned, chopped in pieces, suctioned, or simply delivered and left to die. Sometimes the doctor strangles or smothers them.”

“Uh, yeah, I know that.” He sounded nervous. “But I think you misunderstood the question. I was asking what economic policy you would recommend to alleviate the country’s problems.”

“Yes, I know that. But you misunderstood my answer. I said that if I could change only one thing to solve our economic problems, I would stop abortion.

That’s not the only thing wrong, of course. Many other things should be stopped, such as the government’s manipulation of money and credit. Confiscatory taxation should be stopped. Protectionism should be abolished. Fractional reserve banking should be outlawed. We could talk about a lot of things. But you asked for one thing. Life isn’t that simple, but I was willing to play along. So I said baby-killing.”

“Wait a minute,” he said, exasperated. “What has abortion got to do with our economic problems?”

“Maybe that’s the real problem,” I replied. “Here you are, a writer for a respected Christian publication, and you don’t get the connection between (a) the legalized murder of one and a half million people every year, and (b) the fact that God is selling us into economic bondage to other nations. It’s called Divine Judgment.

“And it won’t stop with mere economic judgment. Murder is a capital crime.”

       The reporter suddenly discovered he had other calls to     make.[4]

There is something fundamentally important here. God’s law is eternal. His justice works throughout history to fulfil His purposes. Nobody can escape the consequences of God’s absolute and universal law. When a nation breaks His laws, it suffers the consequences.

Australian culture is under a similar sentence of judgment. We have failed to outlaw the abominations that are plagues in our culture. Think about our acceptance of relativism. We create our own values. You believe what is right for you and I believe what is right for me – even if they are contradictory.

Consider the real consequences! If a person chooses what is right for him or her, why should we complain if that choice is the terrorism of September 11, rape, stealing, paedophilia, lying and murder? This relativism, as Frank Sinatra would sing it, “I did it my way,” is leading our nation to anarchy. After all, there is widespread endorsement of this view of ethics today in Australia, “I create my own values.”

September 11 has more in common with Hervey Bay, Qld., Australia, than you could imagine (that’s where I was living when I wrote this article). The Old Testament prophet, Obadiah, gave a warning that is very contemporary, “The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head” (Obadiah 15). Are we listening to God’s message from Obadiah and its application to Australia in the 21st century.

Nations have been warned before by prominent figures:

The Russian novelist, dramatist, historian and dissident, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), wrote:

The strength or weakness of a society depends more on the level of its spiritual life than on its level of industrialization. Neither a market economy nor even general abundance constitutes the crowning achievement of human life. If a nation’s spiritual energies have been exhausted, it will not be saved from collapse by the most perfect government structure or by industrial development: a tree with a rotten core cannot stand.[5]

“When there is no God, everything is permitted. Crime becomes inevitable” said Ivan, one of the characters in Fyodor Dostoyevski (1821-1881), Russian fiction writer, essayist and philosopher.[6]

We must be serious about the implications of September 11. So far, it hasn’t changed us much at all.

Will it take a similar tragedy at Parliament House (when parliament is sitting), Canberra, or a packed-out Sydney Opera House to move us? How will we respond to the terrible and tragic fires that have devastated the state of Victoria, Australia, in February 2009, killing more than 180 people?[7]

We live in a universe with moral laws. The laws are those of the character of God Himself. When we break those laws, we have moral guilt before the Great Judge. The most loving thing we can do is to warn of judgment when God’s laws are flaunted as they are in Australia.

We urgently need another John Bunyan who will show us what happens when we turn to Vanity Fair.[8]


[1] Cited in Charles Coleson, 19 July 2001, Breakpoint Commentaries, “In and of the world,” available from: http://www.breakpoint.org/listingarticle.asp?ID=5135 [Accessed 15 February 2009].

[2] At the time of writing this article in 2005, accurate abortion statistics were difficult to determine in Australia. The government has provided this explanation at, “Research Brief no. 9 2004–05: How many abortions are there in Australia? A discussion of abortion statistics, their limitations, and options for improved statistical collection,” 14 February 2005, available from: http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/RB/2004-05/05rb09.htm [Accessed 15 February 2009].

[3] Senator Ron Boswell, Commonwealth of Australia Parliamentary Debates, Senate Official Hansard, No. 8 2002, Wednesday, 28 August 2002, p. 3908, available from: http://www.aph.gov.au/HANSARD/senate/dailys/ds280802.pdf [Accessed 15 February 2009].

[4] David Chilton, Power in the Blood: A Christian Response to AIDS. Brentwood, Tennessee: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1987, pp. 41-42.

[5] Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 1991, “Our own democracy – the future of democracy in the Soviet Union,” National Review, September 23, Available from “Find Articles,” at: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_n17_v43/ai_11333952 [Accessed 28 January 2007].

[6] Edward Wasiolek, “Fyodor Dostoevsky, ‘If God Does Not Exist, Then Everything Is Permitted’ (argued by character, Ivan, in The Brothers Karamazov), available from: http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Quad/4303/dostoevsky.html [cited 28 January 2007], also quoted in Charles Colson with Ellen Santilli Vaughn, The God of Stones & Spiders. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1990, p. viii.

[7] Australian Federal Police, 14 February 2009, “Australia fire survivors in emotional return to ruined town,” available from: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gfaX8E-DGBMy58pqVAyshLkirP4w [cited 15 February 2009]. See also Bonnie Malkin, 11 February 2009, “Australia bush fires: Residents return to burned out homes as death toll climbs,” The Telegraph [UK}, available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/4578833/Australia-bush-fires-Residents-return-to-burned-out-homes-as-death-toll-climbs.html [Accessed 15 February 2009].

[8] John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress, ch. 6, “Vanity Fair,” available from: http://www.stirbitch.com/cantab/resources/vanity_fair_bunyan.html [Accessed 15 February 2009]. A paperback edition is available as a thrift edition: John Bunyan 2003, Pilgrim’s Progress, Dover Publications, Mineola, N.Y. It was first published in 1678.

Copyright © 2005 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 19 June 2016.