The Impact of Bin Laden

One thing that has always struck me about Osama Bin Laden and the entire crew of 9/11 hijackers is how such a small group could alter world history. We like to tell ourselves that one man can change the world, but almost all the time, that is not true. Even in this case, I suppose we could talk about societal forces, trends, conflicts within modernity, and so on. But at the end of the day, about 20-40 main people managed to attack us and that slaughter led to two wars, massive upheavals in society, billions or trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost or maimed.

While most Americans can’t be bothered enough by their religious commitments to get up and go to church on Sunday, Bin Laden took his religion seriously. As Thomas Fleming just wrote, “He sacrificed everything, wealth, social position, reputation, and ultimately his life for the religion in which he believed. Deluded by the evil commandments of a false prophet, he arranged the murder of people he had never met in order to retaliate against a government that oppressed his co-religionists.”

Perhaps it is easier for a small group of people to influence the world for evil, rather than for good. In most cases, it seems like efforts for good occur on a small scale, barely noticeable over time, but producing great long-range results. My hope is that Bin Laden’s attacks on us will in turn open up the entire Muslim world to the spread of the Gospel over time. Certainly, Muslim forces have experienced nothing except defeat, from Chechnya to Iraq.

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