As the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approached, some religious leaders and thinkers were asked about faith in a post-attack world. What have we learned about religion in the past 10 years? What was the spiritual impact of 9/11? Below are excerpts of their responses. 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights advocate:

“If it were possible for anything to be more devastating than the unnecessary deaths that have accrued over the past 10 years, I would argue that the damage that has been done to global relations between the so-called Judeo-Christian and Muslim worlds must be a candidate.

“There is no religion I am aware of that propagates violence, yet many are they who commit violent acts in the name of religion — and who falsely justify cruelty as something that is sanctioned by God. As Kofi Annan so eloquently put it, the problem is not with the faith but with the faithful.

“We failed the biggest test posed by the 9/11 outrage: In our anger and dismay we failed to recognize our common humanity, that we are made for love and that acts such as those committed on that day are an aberration. When we looked at the terrorists we did not see ourselves, we did not consider how our actions and posturing in the world may have contributed to the crime. No. We saw ‘others,’ and we demonized them.” 

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who spent much of the last year under sharp critique for his plans to build an Islamic center near Ground Zero, writes:

“Americans should come away from the last decade understanding that radical Islam is a small and increasingly spent force.” 

Thomas Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

“It seems that much of the post-9/11 renewal of faith has waned in the years that have followed. It should not require tragedy for us to remember God.”

T.D. Jakes, bishop and pastor, The Potter’s House:

“We’ve neglected to comprehend that there is more that unites than separates us.

“In 10 short years, we find ourselves once again on uncommon ground. We’ve reapplied our self-adhesive labels that dichotomize us. We are ardent red and blue states, majority and minority parties, elephants, donkeys, independents and undecideds. 

Deepak Chopra, author:

“Looking back, I feel now the way I did back then, 10 years ago. Catastrophes are not a form of divine punishment, a test from God, evidence of sin or secret messages from beyond. They are part of our divided world, and such a world reflects our divided self.

“The conflict between good and evil, creation and destruction, light and darkness, begins inside. We fight the war every day, and it never ends. Faith is the same as hope. Like a candle in the window, faith is a signal that we want God to notice us. But faith alone won’t suffice. There is a path to walk, an inner path, that begins with hope, uses faith as an ally, leads to experience, and finally arrives at true knowledge.

“The events of 9/11 don’t promise that wars can be won once and for all. They point us toward a path that can take us out of war itself, and that promise is eternal.”