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FRONTLINE: Faith And Doubt At Ground Zero

A fireman in despair at the slow pace of the search for survivors at Ground Zero.
Courtesy of ©Copyright 2002 Corbis
A fireman in despair at the slow pace of the search for survivors at Ground Zero.

Airs Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

It's been 10 years since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. For many Americans, those images called more into question than just their own physical safety. For many people, the most difficult questions were not about politics, military strategy or homeland security. They were questions about God, about evil, and about the potential for darkness within religion itself. And for many, those questions haven't gone away.

Our Religions, Our Neighbors, Our Selves

Harvard's Diana Eck, in a web-exclusive FRONTLINE interview, talks about the challenge of interfaith dialogue and mutual understanding after Sept. 11.

As the country prepares to commemorate the victims and heroes of Sept. 11, FRONTLINE returns to Ground Zero, both literally and metaphorically, and explores these fundamental spiritual questions. What was it we saw on Sept. 11? Was it the true face of evil? Was it the face of religion? And where, if one is a believer, was God? Indeed, if one is not a believer, did Sept. 11 make the idea of God that much more of an impossibility? Or was there something in the human response to the tragedy that suggested transcendence?


In "Faith And Doubt At Ground Zero," veteran FRONTLINE producer Helen Whitney sets out to discover how the religious beliefs -- and unbelief -- of Americans have been challenged since the events of Sept. 11. Through interviews with priests, rabbis, and Islamic scholars, victims' families and World Trade Center survivors, writers and thinkers, atheists and agnostics, this two-hour documentary explores whether, and in what ways, Americans' spiritual lives may have changed on that day.

The documentary begins with memories of Sept. 11 as both survivors and relatives of World Trade Center victims recount the shock of the initial attacks and the horror of realizing that their friends and loved ones had perished.

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Video Excerpt: Frontline: Faith And Doubt At Ground Zero