Frontline "Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero" on WXXI-TV

Frontline "Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero" on WXXI-TV

Wed, 09/07/2011 - 10:00pm

Pictured: The remains of the World Trade Center facade.

Credit: Courtesy of FEMA

FRONTLINE explores how the spiritual lives of believers â€” and unbelievers â€” have been challenged in the wake of September 11.

WXXI pays tribute to the victims and the survivors of 9/11 with an encore broadcast of the critically acclaimed Frontline film, Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero on Wednesday, September 7 at 10 p.m.m on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11). It's been ten years since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and still the questions linger – including perhaps the ultimate question: Where was God on September 11? Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero explores how the spiritual lives of both believers and unbelievers have been challenged by questions of good and evil, God's culpability and the potential for darkness within religion. For a complete list of 9/11 specials on WXXI-TV/HD and WXXI radio, visit

Examining the spiritual aftershocks of September 11th through the reflections of a cross-section of Americans affected by the attacks, the documentary begins with the day itself, as both survivors and relatives of World Trade Center victims recount the shock and the horror of realizing that their friends and loved ones had perished. Almost immediately, it seems, some people began questioning the existence of God. Some, even those who lost loved ones, say the tragedy only affirms their belief in a higher power. Others are neither so certain nor forgiving. In Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero, Frontline speaks with several individuals whose faith and spiritual beliefs have been sorely tested since September 11.

The documentary's final act explores the search for hope amid the rubble of Ground Zero. For Terry McGovern, a lapsed Catholic, the loss of a loved one at the World Trade Center has led her to consider a spiritual reconciliation with her religion. Father Joseph Griesedieck, an Episcopal priest who volunteered at Ground Zero, has witnessed positive changes in the wake of the attacks. "Right after September 11, a good many individuals that I talked to were re-examining their relationships and taking concrete steps to reconcile relationships that were not reconciled," Griesedieck says.

Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero concludes with a brief epilogue in which people recall one of the more indelible images of September 11: the sight of a man and a woman jumping from the burning towers, hand in hand. It's an image that few have forgotten. "To me it was just the bleakest possible image of the whole thing," author McEwan says. "What I saw was utter desperation." Writer and English professor Brian Doyle sees it differently. "They reached for each other, and their hands met, and they jumped," he says. "I keep coming back to his hand in her hand. It's the most powerful prayer I can imagine – the most eloquent, the most graceful. It's what makes me believe that we're not fools to believe in God."

Please note: Due to this program, Charlie Rose will air at 12 a.m.