“Some Few Words that should be Understood, May Mislead, and Serve to Confuse and Fool Us: The words are Sin, Democracy, Opinion, and Tolerance,” by Andrew J. Schatkin
I would like to talk about 4 words that must be fully understood in their meaning and implication and can mislead, confuse, and possibly fool us.
The first word is “sin.” In the modern world, there is little discussion and even recognition of the reality of sin and evil and wickedness. Sin is very much a Christian concept and we trace its reality and continued presence in the world system and stage to the Fall of Man in the second chapter of the book of Genesis, where our first parents fell due to their temptation by Satan who told them they would be as gods and so they gave into their pride. The reality of sin and evil and its pervasiveness is obvious in the face of the many genocides in the 20th century including the Holocaust; Darfur; the Russian Revolution; the genocide in Bosnia; the Armenian Genocide; Rwanda: the Chinese revolution; the Christian genocide in the Middle East; the acts of Pol Pot; and current terrorism in the world. The truth of sin here stares us in the face. The reality of sin is much deeper. It is founded and grounded in the selfishness and self-love of all humanity. Sin in that sense is a disease, a virus, and an infection. Our world can only be rescued from this disease by the love and sacrifice of Christ. The liberal ideology fails to speak to our society on this issue and many trace evil not to sin but to poverty and environment. Our modern world, I think, does not face this issue squarely and provides no explanation or ignores the fact of human moral wrongdoing. I suggest our modern faddish friends take another look at truth and reality rather than ignore it.
The second word I would like to take a good look at is “democracy.” Democracy as a system is the best of all possible worlds. Democracy is nothing more than a system of political equality where each citizen has an equal voting right and role. What has come about and what has been understood about the term democracy is that all people are equal and the same and so all of our citizens views and thoughts are equally valid. This is mistaken thinking and essentially incorrect. If one is not in possession of the facts, their views and thoughts, such as they are, are weak and without validity. In short, I am and nor will anyone else be equal to Einstein, Leonardo, Bach, Milton, Schweitzer, and C.S. Lewis. This misinterpretation of democracy and, if you will, misunderstanding, leads to the mistaken thinking I have just defined and spoken of and the result in our system is that mediocrity and poor thinking and behavior is elevated as equal to the greats and the sorts of excellence I have just mentioned.
The third word that is wrongly interpreted and understood is the word “opinion.” I hear it said all the time that “Everyone is entitled to their opinion.” In our democratic system, that may be so but I think it must be said and stressed that an opinion without factual or, if you will, intellectual basis is without weight and frankly is entitled to no weight. An opinion can be given but if it is not the product of facts and intellectual reflection, it not only has no weight but should be given no weight. Again, another mistake in thinking that every opinion is valid and should be given weight and consideration. The fact that everyone in our system has an equal voting right and have, so to speak, political equality, does not, cannot, and must not lead to the incorrect conclusion that every opinion is to be given regard and weight when that opinion comes not from the intellectually- and factually-informed but from someone who may, due to their background and circumstances, may be in total darkness.
The final word I would like to talk about is “tolerance.” Our American society places great weight on this word but I should like to more exactly examine its meaning and import. Tolerance is said to be one of the great American virtues and the idea behind it is that we should give tolerance in our civil society to all opinions and points of view and all religions and thought systems. This is a good thing. Certainly, we should tolerate most ideas and points of view and so avoid violence, conflict, and gross disagreements leading to trouble in the society. Tolerance and not judging, however, leads to the incorrect conclusion that we should tolerate what is obviously wrong. Should we tolerate anti-Semitism; should we tolerate fascism; and should we tolerate those who would bring about the downfall of our system? Is it advisable in the name of toleration to allow actions that are destructive and basically bad? Should we tolerates child sex or incest? Toleration may be good, but it is only good for ideas and things that are good. I am not, in the name of toleration, prepared to give up my moral judgment.
This ends my discussion and, if you will, studies in some words and I do hope what I say will lead to a deeper grasp of the meanings of these words, or, rather how they have come to mislead and confuse and lead to the misunderstandings have just described.