Why 9/11 was good for religion

9/11 strengthened fundamentalism in every global faith – and in atheism too. But it has also led to backlashes against these doctrines wherever they have appeared.

In Islam there have been positive developments. The attacks were repeatedly and clearly condemned by Muslim leaders all over the world. After Pope Benedict XVI’s controversial Regensburg speech, the most notable response was the decision of 137 Muslim scholars to sign a declaration outlining what common values they shared with Christians.

This “common word” declaration is an example of “hard tolerance” – the increasing practice of making theological differences distinct and then talking about them, rather than trying to conceal them in a syrup of platitudes about love and mysticism. The aim is for priests, imams and rabbis to enter imaginatively into each other’s ideologies, rather than simply agreeing.

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