Before the world-changing events of 9/11/2001, Americans’ exposure to terrorism was mostly secondhand—perhaps watching video images of a bombed-out Oklahoma City building in April 1995, or reading newspaper stories of a botched World Trade Center bombing in February 1993. Millions, however, on that momentous Tuesday morning of September 11, were watching live television coverage of one burning skyscraper, when another jet suddenly appeared—and then crashed into the second WTC tower!
In one gut-wrenching moment on live television, viewers understood that the two impacts were not a coincidence—and they saw just how vulnerable their nation had become to terrorist attacks. Four commercial jet aircraft had been hijacked and sent on suicide missions, laying waste to prominent symbols of wealth and power in the United States. Many Americans for the first time saw firsthand the impact of God’s warning to a disobedient nation, “I will even appoint terror over you… I will break the pride of your power” (Leviticus 26:16, 19).
Some, in hearing about 9/11, found solace in reports of heroic acts by United Airlines Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer, New York Fire Department chaplain Mychal Judge, and many others whose bravery went almost unnoticed. Others, however, typifying post-Watergate distrust of the “official story,” have continued to offer mutually conflicting conspiracy theories in which villains of all sorts abound.
And what of the “War on Terror” declared by U.S. President George W. Bush? Earlier this year, U.S. Navy SEALs in Afghanistan proudly proclaimed the death of Osama bin Laden, yet the West after a decade seems unable to win a decisive war against ragtag crews of Muslim extremists. Meanwhile, at home, millions of Americans’ main experience of the war is literally at the hands of the Transportation Safety Administration, a powerful new government agency that treats every air traveler as a terrorist suspect, subjected to scanning and poking and prodding in what some derisively call “security theater.”
As we go about our daily business, we might at first not recognize just how much the world around us has changed since September 11, 2001. But consider the analogy of the frog and the pot of boiling water. If you drop a frog into the pot, it will jump right out, unable to bear the heat. But if you put the frog in a pot of lukewarm water, you can raise the temperature slowly—and soon you will boil the frog to death!
In September 2001, the U.S. unemployment rate had risen to 5.4 percent. Ten years later, that rate stands at 9.1 percent, with unofficial figures (including “discouraged workers” and the underemployed) at nearly double that number.
In September 2001, “same-sex marriage” was a fringe issue, firmly opposed by the vast majority of Americans. Ten years later, six U.S. states allow same-sex marriages to be performed, while another dozen states allow “civil unions” granting essentially all the privileges of marriage to same-sex couples.
In September 2001, U.S. public debt was just over $5.7 trillion. In September 2011 it stands just over $14.7 trillion.
Since September 2001, more than 14.5 million unborn babies have been aborted in the United States.
One could go on and on pointing out so many changes over the last decade—often occurring gradually, in small-but-steady increments, day by day. So, how is the temperature in our pot? At this somber anniversary, Americans might do well to look at the world around them, then look back a decade and ask: “Ten years ago, is this what you thought your nation would become?”
At Tomorrow’s World, we want to help our viewers understand the times in which we live, as well as the biblically prophesied future. Since September 2001, across the U.S. and Canada, the Tomorrow’s World telecast has been viewed in more than 19.3 million households, which have made more than 1.61 million requests for one or more pieces of our free literature. Read our article “Nine-Eleven Plus Ten” for information about some of the troubles now facing the United States. And take heart that your Bible foretells the soon-coming millennial rule of Jesus Christ on planet Earth, over a society governed by God’s law of love, as explained in our inspiring free booklet, The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?