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9/11 - Twenty Years On ...

The materialist West, led by the USA, has failed. A month before the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the Taliban took over in Afghanistan, after the USA and its allies had spent 20 years pouring money, lives, training and materialist 'democratic' culture to rid Afghanistan of them.

People will fight and lay down their lives for a cause, especially a religious cause like the Taliban have, but most won't lay down their lives for an imported, materialist and hedonistic culture. So the well-trained Afghan army just melted away, and even the Taliban were surprised at how fast and easily they won.


In 'Word' to America, is a message placed on the WWW 24 February 2001, seven months before 9/11, which called upon the USA to repent.
In Why Did God Allow 9/11? is a suggestion that the USA should have repented for the evils that it was responsible for, particularly in relation to its "affluence, arrogance and unconcern". Instead, its leaders chose to 'tough it out' with a "war on terror" and so occupied Afghanistan.
In Trying to Gain God's Perspective on 9/11 (September 11th 2001) is a detailed, but clear, exposition of the Biblical theology behind this view, in tabular form.
In 9/11 - Ten Years On ... is a review of what had happened in first decade after 9/11, and ends with

"Because the USA chose not to repent of its evil (see 2001 'word'), and its leaders chose not to lead the nation in repentance, they have left a more volatile Middle East, a greater bitterness towards the West, a more unstable 'Stan' region along with a financial crisis. Was it worth it?"

This article is 9/11 - Twenty Years On ..., perhaps speaks to what has been called the post-post-9/11 era.


Immediately after 9/11 in 2001, the US President announced the "war on terror" and the US military went into Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, because the country that had sheltered Al Qaeda, which had carried out the 9/11 attack. The USA wanted to remove the Taliban so that it would no longer nurture terrorism. It was a highly successful, almost model, operation, and the Taliban were pushed out. Now, 20 years on, even though maybe the terrorists have not been able to achieve all they wanted, we find:

Instead of ridding the world of "terror" or even suppressing it, the opposite has happened. As Haggai 1:6 says,

"You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."

Toughing it out, declaring war on terror did not work. Nor will the attitude "We will never forgive," which was said just a couple of weeks ago by the President of the USA. [See Note on the USA's Foolish Decision.]

Why Has the West Failed?

[See also longer 'Why It All Happened?' below for fuller discussion.]

As someone has said, "God's ways work; man's ways don't." The secular West despises, reacts against or ignores, rather than understands, religious faith [Note on secularization]. It kills those for whom death is martyrdom and glory!. It is religious faith that keeps people going - for good or ill - whatever religion they follow. Instead, the secular, materialist West looks to weaker things for its answer; military technology and skill, science, education, democracy, freedom, and so on - things that gain their power only from belief.

God's ways work. Truly confessing sin, repenting, seeking God's face and heart, and being changed in heart and mindset by God's Spirit - these are the things that work [Note on revival]. And, after that change, wisdom, right belief and commitment, with love, mercy and forgiveness giving their flavour to justice, leisure and economy, will build up good society that lasts.

Toughing it out, declaring war, declaring (as happened just a couple of weeks ago) "We will never forgive" and, a few years ago, "America first" are the opposite of that. Frankly they are what C.S. Lewis' Screwtape called "the philosophy of Hell." Not that of Jesus Christ. [See USA's Foolish Decision again]

Since calls for repentance went out several times from 2001 onwards, and they have not been heeded, maybe a stronger message is needed now.

A Biblical Perspective?

In the Song of Moses [Deuteronomy 32] we find a description of the apostasy of an Israel that grew prosperous for a time. It is a warning of the way Yahweh God ("the LORD" in capitals) interacts with God's people. Might it apply to the USA today?

"Jeshurun grew fat and kicked;
    filled with food, he became heavy and sleek.
He abandoned the God who made him
    and rejected the Rock his Saviour. ...

They sacrificed to demons which are not God ...

The LORD saw this and rejected them
    because he was angered by his sons and daughters.
'I will hide my face from them,' he said,
'and see what their end will be;
for they are a perverse generation, ...
I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding ...'

They are a nation without sense,
    there is no discernment in them ...
How could one man chase a thousand
    and two put ten thousand to flight
unless their Rock had sold them,
    unless the LORD had given them up?"

Was it not God who allowed the USA to become the world's leading nation, because its people hearkened to the Gospel of Christ, so that the USA prospered and could bless the rest of the world?
Has not the USA become "heavy and sleek" in recent decades?
Have they not "sacrificed" to the demonic philosophy of Hell, of individualism that displaces others [Note: Philosophy of Hell]?
Then, did not the USA become "angry" with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS and others - and might not 9/11 have been part of Yahweh's plan, as I have argued in Why Did God Allow 9/11??
And now, has not the Taliban "chased" the USA and its allies out, more easily than even they had expected?

What is the sin of Sodom that got it destroyed and the sin of Judah that got it exiled? Is it not "affluence, arrogance, unconcern" [Ezekiel 16:49], as we have mentioned above? And is not this the attitude of a large number of American Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians towards climate and environmental responsibility today?

(American) Christians?

This is not just the shame of the American government, but of American 'Christians' too. The "stronger message" is for God's people, the Christians (and also Jews, but I know Christians more so will write for Christians).

God's people are the ones who should lead society, not be led by it [Note on representing God]. Sadly, many have, unwittingly maybe, taken on and absorbed the mindset of "the world, the flesh and the devil" [Catecism] even while trying to be Christian in activity.

What do I mean by that claim? American Christians are hugely generous, and affirming of individuals. Those are great qualities. Yet is it not easy for the wealthy to give "out of our abundance" [Mark 12:44]? Is our activity not tinged with "affluence, arrogance, unconcern." Unconcern especially nowadays for the planet as well as the poor of the Earth, and concern only for our pleasant lifestyles, our finances, our families, our standing in their communities, and the nation remaining top of the pile? For example, why on earth and in heaven, have American and other Western Christians not taken climate and environmental responsibility seriously?!

Instead, popular within American Christianity, and that of nations who follow it, is the dead-end idea of spiritual warfare, personal protection and personal prosperity. Many of this mindset see "environmentalism" as an enemy!

Yet the Earth, created and owned by God, and to Whom we are responsible, cannot support the lifestyles of the affluent nations. One solution to this is to divide the world into nations that live this lifestyle and those that live in destitution to provide the affluent with the means to their lifestyles? I do not believe God applauds that.

Instead, God calls us to willingly and humbly give up our demands for this lifestyle, to find on instead that is like Christ. Then, and only then, will we truly represent Him on Earth.

Yet, Hell is not the victor; Christ is. "May Your kingdom come ... on Earth as in Heaven" is not just for the personal life but for global society and policy too.

Matthew 6:33, and the verses around it, are a very strong message. When will we listen. It is a matter of the attitude of our hearts, our mindset (Greek noos in Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23).

See Also

Why Has This All Happened?

I wrote this to replace the original version above, which I felt did not answer the question "Why has this happened?" This one did. However, I felt uneasy because the new text changed the tone more towards an academic treatise or analysis than a prophetic word. So I reinstated the original text above, realising it actually answers a different question, "Why did the West fail?", which is actually more suited to the question of the entire pace: the past twenty years.

Why did this happen? Three reasons come to mind: evil, faith and God.


9/11 happened because of evil of the secular West - at least as some Muslims see it [Note: were not the Terrorists evil too?].

I'm not talking about freedom and abundance with responsibility and care for the poor, which arguably have their roots in the Gospel of Christ, which was widely accepted throughout the West [Note re Gospel]. I'm talking about what they became corrupted into: license, promiscuity, sexualization of society, greed, arrogance and irresponsibility, and applauding of evils. These things destroy Creation: the world, society and people [Note on Planet, People and Society], directly or, usually, indirectly.

Many in Muslim countries hate these things, the more because Western culture and lifestyle was gaining a foothold all over the globe and had become arrogant. Many were angry and some felt they needed to take action [Note on Anger]. So not only did 9/11 happen, but afterwards militant Islam proliferated in multiple forms, given its mission to counter what they saw as the evil of the secular West.


The failure to curb militant Islam after 9/11 happened because the secular West failed to understand faith, ignoring, reacting against or even despising it.

Secular political and military theory have not understood faith: it kills those for whom death is martyrdom and glory! Nor have the strategies of Western-style democratic, educational and economic theory. They are weak against faith.

Faith concerns what is of utlimate meaningfulness, more important even than life and death. Faith is belief with commitment that leads to action and is at the root of lifestyle. Faith is our expectations and aspirations. Faith is what we presuppose about life and the way it should be lived. Faith determines what we believe is Good and Evil. Faith brings about the best good and/or the worst evil. All these are encompassed in religion [Note on Religion and Ideology].

Faith lodges in individuals, and gives courage to question and the accepted norms and established cultures, and take action. If real faith receives a setback, it does not die; it merely goes underground. Faith perseveres - unlike the Americans who grew tired of their self-imposed mission. Faith multiplies unseen. So it is no wonder that militant Islam has not been curbed by all the secular West has done, but rather has spread and thrived.


Both 9/11 and the subsequent spread and strengthening of militant Islam, and not the takeover of the Taliban happened because God allowed them to happen, as part of God's plan.

Secular humanists ignore God (and atheists believe no-God). But God is real, and God is active (the "Living God"). God loves the Creation and acts in it, to bring about the blessing intended. The Gospel of Christ spread throughout the world to bring this blessing, in all its fulness and all its dimensions [Note on Dimensions of Salvation].

The things in Western society that the terrorists hate, also displeases God, since they destroy the Creation (including humans). God loves Creation (including humans) and so acts.

Usually God is active unseen, through God's people, as a mustard seed that grows into a great tree after some time. Occasionally, especially when God's people refuse to cooperate, God takes action in allowing certain things evils to occur, usually as a warning. Including, perhaps, 9/11. Including, perhaps, the Covid-19 pandemic.

The response of the secular West, especially the USA, to tough it out, was not God's way. God's way is different: to expose evil, call for repentance, and, when true repentance occurs, forgive and restore. Sometimes God brings revival [Note on revival].

When it is God's people who have acquiesced to, or even perpetrated the evil, God is the more angry and acts even more sharply. Because God's people should be the ones through whom God works, and who show God's character and values. As someone has said, "God's ways work; man's ways don't." Many American Christians side with the way American presidents have called for "war on terror" and "America First", but these are not God's ways. They are what C.S. Lewis called "The philosophy of Hell."

Since calls for repentance went out several times from 2001 onwards, and they have not been heeded, maybe a stronger message is needed now.

Notes and References

Note on USA's Foolish Decision. Lise DuSett, BBC's Chief Foreign Correspondence interviewed Afghan-born diplomat, Zahme Halizad, in a programme 'A Wish for Afghanistan' on BBC World Service around 5th September 2021. I have typed it from listening.

LD: There's a story from back then that I've been looking into, because it seems so important today. In late 2001, when the Taliban were on the run, it seems they were looking to cut a deal, to allow them to put down their guns and go home. If the story is true, there might have been a chance to prevent 20 years of war. I've heard about it from the Taliban and from Zahme Halizat himself.

It involves a letter. December the 5th 2001, Hamed Khazi was given a letter from the Taliban in their last ridouts in southern Afghanistan. Why was this letter significant?

ZH: Well, if I understand that correctly, a group of Taliban leaders came to see Hamed Khazi, to say, allegedly, that they, the Taliban would accept this new government and not work to undermine it, to take arms against it, in exchange for being able to live with dignity and honour in their homes, and that the letter was presented to Mr. Khazi. President Khazi did not mention that to me at that time. But it is possible that an important opportunity had become available that was not taken advantage of. And that may be one of the mistakes of the last 20 years.

LD: When you told me about it, you were furious. You said you went to Kabul and said to Hamed Khazi, "We were meeting almost every day in Kabul, and you never told me about this."

ZH: Absolutely, I learned about it in 2014/15. I did mention to him that we used to have dinner five nights a week, literally, during my time as ambassador in Kabul. So how come this important development has escaped your mind?

LD: It's almost tantamount to a surrender letter. But the problem was not with Hamed Khazi, it was with Washington. Donald Rumsveldt, the then Secretary wanted a comprehensive defeat of the Taliban. And Hamed Khazi knew this. So this was another missed opportunity by the United States?

ZH: Of course, in the aftermath of 9/11, there was a great deal of anger in the United States, understandably so, but if the Taliban did offer to cooperate, that certainly was a lost opportunity.

What a missed opportunity! Notice how it occurred because of an attitude that was taken. They wanted "comprehensive defeat" rather than accepting an effective surrender and allowing people to live in peace. (Moreover, the USA was not content on that, but they decided to go into Iraq - and from that time, the USA began to lose the support it had had to go into Afghanistan.) What attitude was that? Was it Jesus' attitude of "Forgive your enemies"? Or was it the humanist-secular desire for revenge (for 9/11)? My whole article is underlain with the idea that God's ways work; human ways don't.

Note: Were not the Terrorists evil too? Of course they were. We all know that. I suspect that most of us tend to see the Terrorists as the Baddies and the West and USA as the Goodies, and overlook that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23]. So, here I am drawing attention to the "have sinned" of us in the West, a kind of sin and evil that is more deeply hidden, an evil of societal attitude of heart rather than of action. And has not God made clear that (a) it is the heart that is important, (b) it is the heart that leads to action and what we say, (c) sometimes God uses disaster, even from outside powers, to warn His people? For a fuller account of this, see the See Also links.

Note on the Gospel of Christ. Whereas Christendom has done many bad things, the Gospel of Christ seems to have been a major and unique source of blessing to the world. In his 2019 book, Dominion, historian Tom Holland argues at length that it was Christianity that introduced into Western society and mindset the ideas of caring for the poor, of self-giving love and so on. Likewise, Shanthi Sunder, in her book 2011 Values and Influence of Religion in Public Administration, argues that, even if British rule of India was exploitative, the values that infiltrated the Indian Civil Service "were based on biblical teachings, starting from Ten Commandments and Christ's teachings and his life. Corruption is strongly condemned in the Bible."

Note on Planet, People and Society. The evils of the secular West result in destruction of both planet, people and society. On one hand, the Western lifestyle, if extended to all, requires two and a half Earths to sustain it: climate change and loss of habitats and biodiversity. On the other - and this is arguable of more concern to Muslims - materialism is rampant, with sexualisation of society's mindset, and the the rampant promiscuity and individualistic selfishness. These are portrayed - nay! promulgated and promoted - through (social) media, film and academic ideas. This corrupts society, in its norms, expectations and aspirations throughout the entire world, which in turn damages the planet and other species.

Note on Religion and Ideology. In both religion and ideology, strong beliefs and commitments are at work. Two possible differences between them are that in religion people usually worship some deity, and most religion has traditions.

Note on Dimensions of Salvation. Traditionally, since the Reformation, 500 years ago, salvation has been seen as becoming acceptable with God through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ. But that is only Dimension 1. Since the Holiness and Pentecostal Movements, from 200 years ago, Dimension 2 has increasingly been rediscovered, the idea of experiencing God here and now, in joy, growing maturity in Christ, and in power, have been a major theme. Nowadays, Dimension 3 is being rediscovered and discussed, in which those who are like Christ care for the whole Creation, with the Holy Spirit's power. The three dimensions are set out in Romans 8; see also a systematic look at the three dimensions.

Note on Revival. Spiritual revivals like the 1904 Welsh revival demonstrate the truth of this. See Why Revival Happens - or Tarries and A New Revival ?.

Note on The Philosophy of Hell. C.S. Lewis, in the words of the demon, Screwtape [p.92, The Screwtape Letters]:

"The whole philosophy of Hell rests on recognition of the axiom that one thing is not another thing, and especially that one self is not another self. My good is my good and your good is yours. What one gains another loses. Even an inanimate object is what it is by excluding all other objects from the space it occupies; if it expands, it does so by thrusting other objects aside or by absorbing them. A self does the same. With beasts the absorption takes the form of eating; for us, it means the sucking of will and freedom out of a weaker self into a stronger. 'To be' means 'to be in competition.'"

Note on Islamic Anger. (1) Whereas politicians and wealthy people in non-Western societies might aspire to materialistic prosperity, and Intellectuals and media people, to values of democracy and individualistic freedom, ordinary people do not. Ordinary folk see through these, to the evil that accompanies them. Some get angry. Islam, being a religion of action and change, inspires some to take action. (2) Of those who were angry, of course people don't like dominance by another, usually foreign, culture or lifestyle, but that is mere national or cultural rivalry. I believe something deeper happened with 9/11, and has fuelled the spread of (what the West calls) terrorism ever since.

Note on Representing God. Through the Scriptures we find the theme of representing God, from humans representing God to the rest of Creation, Israel representing God as a nation among nations, Jesus as God representing Himself among His people, and Christians representing God among and throughout the peoples. We are supposed to demonstrate and show God's ways, which work, as salt and light, and God works with us as we do so. For a full exposition of this, see Representing God.

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About This Page

This page, URL= 'http://abxn.org/discussion/9-11-20y.html', is on-going work, designed to stimulate discussion on various topics, as part of Andrew Basden's pages that open up various things from one of the Christian perspectives. Contact details.

Copyright (c) Andrew Basden at all the dates below. But you may use this material subject to certain conditions.

Written on the Amiga with Protext in the style of classic HTML.

Created: 5 September 2021 Last updated: 6 September 2021 Biblical comparison with the Song of Moses; link to CCGE. 10 September 2021 Why It Happened: faith, evil, God; link to covid19. 11 September 2021 reinstated original 'Why it happened' under different heading and moved new one to after SeeAlso, with explanation. 12 September 2021 added note on USA's foolish decision; bolded notes.