Volume 95, Issue 33
Wednesday, October 31, 2001
Panicked masses seek salvation
City residents turn to the Bible for answers
By Erin Conway-Smith
Books about Armageddon, Nostradamus and the Islamic faith have been hot sellers locally, as Londoners turn pages to quell fears about the threat of terrorism.
Area book stores said there has been increased interest in books about world religions and end-of-the-world prophecies following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
Kevin Bodlay, owner of London's Creation Christian Bookstore, said there has been a recent increase in people inquiring about the beliefs of other religions, though he noted there has been only a slight increase in the sale of Bibles.
Bodlay said there has also been interest in books about "end time," including Armageddon, tribulation and rapture.
"People are rehashing what they believe and what they don't believe," he said.
The BookStore at Western also reported higher than normal sales of books about the Taliban and the Middle East following Sept. 11, said Lyn Wilbur, general books buyer.
While the BookStore has since put out a special display of books about Islam, Wilbur said she has not noticed a huge spike in special requests, because Western's store normally carries a wide variety of books on world religion and other relevant topics.
Stephen Cribar, manager of Chapters in Masonville, said he has received requests for books about Osama bin Laden and noticed an interest in books about Islam and Nostradamus.
"The attack was unexpected this caused people normally taking their lives for granted to question the future," said Susan Brown, a religious studies professor at King's College. "People are trying to make sense of life."
Brown said there is a certain sector of the Christian population that is fundamentalist and interprets the Book of Revelations as blueprints for the future.
"[These individuals] are expecting, by connecting this book and news reports, they can predict the future," she said.
It is a positive thing people are purchasing books about religion in order to better understand religious aspects of the terrorist attacks, Brown added.
This recent trend could mean people are trying to give themselves a feeling of control over their lives through knowledge, following the events of Sept. 11, said Rod Martin, a Western psychology professor.
"Any feeling of control can reduce the feeling of threat the 'stressfulness' of the situation," he said.
Martin said books about religion may also give people a sense of connection with a higher power, which can also help individuals deal with stress.
Copyright © The Gazette 2001