What has changed with this tragedy is people’s willingness to recognize that religion really does make people do terrible things.

This is from the latest New Republic, the author means that as the Charlie Hebdo slaughter happened, our opinion changed with regard to the relation between religion and terrible behavior. I can figure out his meaning, but am not sure about its semantic sense. How can the “is” link up the subject of change with the result of change. It seems to me what he exactly means is like “what comes into being because of the tragedy is..”. Does “change” also means “come into being”?

1 Answer 1


Before the tragedy, people's willingness was low. The tragedy raised their willingness. Since the tragedy, what has changed? Their willingness. Their willingness is the the thing that has changed.

If you replace "What has changed" with "The thing that has changed" in the sentence, it might be clearer.

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