Tune in to the day's news, and it's almost impossible not to come face to face with reports of terrorism and violence. Terrorism—defined as the calculated use of, or threat of, fear and violence against civilians—was brought to the forefront of Western thought by the 9/11 attacks, but it's affected other parts of the world for years. Many of our reader live in areas where terrorism is common, or have loved ones who do. And all of us seek an end to coercion and the instillation of fear.

It's easy to feel helpless or shellshocked in the face of such news, since terrorism can seem an intractable, continually threatening problem. But as our contributors illustrate in this issue, there is a comforting, protecting, uplifting response to terrorism—one that is always at hand and that effectively counters fear and violence. Taking a firm spiritual stance against terror strips it of any power to harm or destroy.

In our roundtable feature, News Editor Rosalie Dunbar talks with three Christian Scientists whose work and travel have given them reason to pray about terrorism. As Josh Niles, who served a year in Iraq in the US Army, puts it, "We have to recognize and cherish the idea that God is the only cause.... We can destroy that sense of a lie [terrorism] when we recognize the omnipotent power of good" (p. 16). And Libby Hoffman, who works for reconciliation in post-conflict countries, adds, "The more egregious an example of terror seems, the more my prayers have to be universal and embrace everybody . . . I pray to understand that the innocence of the people who would let themselves be used as perpetrators is in fact more powerful than the pull toward indulging hatred or destruction" (p. 16). And in our other cover story, Vicki Turpen shares how she prayed when a terrorist bombing took place at an airport shortly before her daughter was to fly out (see p. 18).

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December 13, 2010

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