Priests, rabbis, an Islamic scholar, a professor of Middle East studies, an
English professor, a British novelist, a psychoanalyst, and the photographer
who documented Ground Zero for the City of New York.
Albacete is a professor of theology at St. Joseph's Seminary in New York, and
formerly served as associate professor of theology at the John Paul II
Institute for Studies in Marriage and Family. Here, he discusses the "two faces
of God" -- the compassionate and the destructive -- and his ongoing quest to
reconcile the two. He candidly acknowledges that he recognized the ruinous
forces of religion in those first moments after the attacks on Sept. 11.
Delbanco, a literary critic and professor of humanities at Columbia University
in New York, is the author of several books, including The Death of Satan:
How Americans Have Lost the Sense of Evil (1996). Here, Delbanco talks
about why he thinks the concepts of "sin" and "evil" should be reintroduced
into public discourse, especially after Sept. 11. He also discusses why Herman
Melville's Moby Dick, one of the classics of American literature, has
acquired a new significance in the 21st century.
El-Fadl, one of the leading thinkers on Islamic law in the United States, is a
professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he teaches
courses related to human rights and terrorism. He has authored several books,
including Conference of the Books: The Search for Beauty in Islam
(2001), and Speaking in God's Name: Islamic Law, Authority and Women
(2001). Here, he discusses Wahhabism, the puritan strain of Islam that Osama
bin Laden practices, and its role in Sept. 11, and says that Muslims haven't
done enough to counter the extremist currents in Islam. El-Fadl, a devout
Muslim who has written extensively and critically about the spread of Islamic
fundamentalism, also talks about the many death threats he has received since
Sept. 11, and offers an unsparing assessment of the extremists who carried out
the Sept. 11 attacks.
Griesedieck is an Episcopal priest in Manhattan who volunteered at Ground Zero.
Here, he talks about being compelled to go to Ground Zero, the horrors he
witnessed, and why the face of God is now a bigger mystery to him. He also
comments on the changes that he sees taking place in himself and others as a
result of the shock of Sept. 11.
Hirschfield, an Orthodox rabbi, is the vice president of the National Jewish
Center for Learning and Leadership in New York City. Here, he talks about the
time he spent at Ground Zero; how he answers the question "Where was God on
Sept. 11?"; and why it's essential to recognize the role that religion played
in the attacks.
Kula, president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in
New York City, lectures and teaches throughout the United States on Judaism and
Jewish life in America. Here, he discusses the "shadow side" of religions,
including his own, and chronicles his own serious doubts about Jewish
traditional scholarship after Sept. 11.
Makiya is a professor of Middle East studies at Brandeis University in
Massachusetts. A native of Iraq, he has written several books, including
Republic of Fear: The Politics of Modern Iraq (1998). An atheist, Makiya here
discusses how Sept. 11 affected his beliefs. He says that the Arab world has
allowed the "dark corners" of religion to flourish, and that the Sept. 11
hijackers represent a new and particularly dangerous form of religious
McEwan is the author of several novels, including Atonement (2001),
Amsterdam (1998), which was awarded the Booker Prize, and Black
Dogs (1992). As an atheist, McEwan does not blame religion for the Sept. 11
attacks. Instead, he says religion is a "morally neutral force," and acts of
extraordinary cruelty are best understood for their human, rather than
Meyerowitz, an acclaimed photographer, was given access to Ground Zero on Sept.
23, 2001, and has documented the wrenching cleanup and recovery efforts there.
(See an online exhibit of his photographs from his book.) Here, he talks about the difficulties of the experience, the paradoxical and disturbing beauty of
the site itself, and why he feels a need to create a photographic archive of
what happened there in the aftermath of Sept. 11.
Ulanov is a professor of psychiatry and religion at the Union Theological
Seminary in New York City. She is the author of several books, including
Religion and the Spiritual in Carl Jung (2000) and The Healing Imagination:
The Meeting of Psyche and Soul (2000). Here, Ulanov discusses the spiritual crisis
that was forced upon so many after Sept. 11, how images of God are being
reconfigured, whether Osama bin Laden is the personification of evil, and,
finally, whether grief can yield a new religious reality.
home + introduction + questions of faith and doubt + our religions, our neighbors, our selves + interviews
discussion + producer's notes + poll: spiritual aftershocks? + video
photo © reuters newmedia inc./corbis
web site copyright 1995-2014
WGBH educational foundation