Heartbreaking Video and a Related Global Issue: This YouTube video shows a child that has been killed by a car in China but ignored by those passing by. It is extremely disturbing, to say the least. Ethicist Peter Singer discusses this event and then goes on to discuss world hunger in relation to affluent Westerners. It is difficult to watch emotionally, but Singer wants to make an important point. My college students in my Ethics course are required to watch the video and answer questions about it.
Legolas to Sam and Frodo: After leaving the land of Lorien, Sam and Frodo discussed how time seemed different in that land—a common theme in literature such as Harry Potter and the Narnian series. Legolas then responds: “Yet beneath the Sun all things must wear to an end at last.” This is sobering but so true. In the word of 1 Peter 1:24–25: “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
Christians Need to Understand What Tolerance Is and What It Isn’t: Tolerance is considered one of the most important virtues in 21st-century Western culture. But like the words “gentleman” in English society (cf. the Preface in C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity), “gay”, and “Christian”, the meaning of a word in the public arena can change. How should Christians view tolerance? Is it good? How does our culture define tolerance? All three of these questions are answered in this excerpt from the Pocket Dictionary of Ethics:
Narrowly defined, as an ethical term, tolerance is the quality of being long-suffering in disposition; the putting up with something with which one disagrees. The verb, tolerate, means to allow without opposing; to acknowledge the right of another to hold contrary opinions. Toleration, in turn, is the condition in which beliefs or behaviors—especially religious or political—that do not conform to that of the majority or dominant group in a society are allowed to be present and perhaps propagated without opposition in the form of legislation or the use of force. Toleration did not emerge as a public policy ideal until after the Reformation. Moreover, toleration assumes the dominance of one particular viewpoint. Hence, religious toleration—in contrast to religious liberty—maintains an established church while allowing the existence of dissenting ecclesial groups. Beginning in the late twentieth century, tolerance was elevated as a cardinal virtue, although it is sometimes understood to denote a kind of moral relativism, which transforms it into the disposition that not only allows contrary positions, but deems all opinions (including one’s own) to be equally valid. (Grenz, Stanley J., and Jay T. Smith)