Lost Loves of 9/11 Tested Americans' Faith

ByABC News via logo
September 10, 2006, 7:32 AM

Sept. 10, 2006 — -- For many Americans, the face of evil emerged from the shadows on Sept. 11, 2001, challenging, shaking and shattering some people's spirituality.

But for some, the tragedy renewed their faith in God.

"At times like these, we need to pray with one another," the Rev. James Forbes told his congregation at Riverside Church in New York City five days after the attack.

"People who started with a strong faith, they are able to say this was not God's doing -- this was the doing of some evil, mentally warped, cruel, destructive people," said Rabbi Harold Kushner. "People who were free thinkers and doubted God before that have more evidence to doubt God."

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, hundreds of thousands -- perhaps millions -- of people flocked to churches, synagogues and mosques seeking solace and a way to comprehend the horror.

"This was an intentional malicious act of humanity against humanity," Atlanta-based Rev. Joseph L. Roberts told Ebenezer Baptist Church on Sept. 16, 2001.

"I believe in God," a parishioner at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York asked five years ago. "But, I mean, I know you can't blame God. But how can God let his happen?"

"They need something to hang on to, that they can put their anchor in," the Rev. Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life," told ABC News. "Inevitably, in time of, of crisis, people turn to their faith."

On Sept. 11, Travis Boyd was just 12-years-old. He was very close to his mother Liz Holmes, who was a single mother.

That morning, she went to work at the World Trade Center. Boyd was still home when his cousin called him.

"She said, 'Travis Boyd, call your mother to see what she's doing or if she's safe, and tell her to get out of the building,' " Boyd said. "I said, 'Okay.' So I called, but no one answered the phone."

His mother never made it out.

Raised as a devout Baptist, Boyd turned to God in his grief.

"I simply said, 'God, I will put it in your hands,' " he said. "You know, I was always brought up by my mother, you know, never to question God. God does things for a reason."