Cultural commentators--particularly Christians--have long lamented what is
seen as the hijacking of the sacred celebration of Christ's miraculous
incarnation by commercialism and campy entertainment featuring the usual
nod to some ephemeral feeling called "the Christmas spirit." Now, there is
a noticeable increase in the institutionalization of "tolerance" at
Christmastide, which usually means watering down (or sometimes removing)
all vestiges of even secularized Christmas symbols from the workplace and
public spaces. In Florida, employees-of-color complained that the angel
atop the company Christmas tree was white-skinned. The company's Equal
Employment Opportunity manager related that employees "were just concerned
that in this day and time with everything going on in the world [that]
management would do better and put up something more diverse than a white
angel." Although this case is more about multiculturalism than Christmas,
the Holiday seems to evoke such reactions more than any single event on the
While America wonders what to do with John Walker, the American who fought
with the Taliban against his own country, his past is opened for review.
Newsweek painted the picture of an affluent loner growing up in
hyper-tolerant Marin County, California who became enchanted by the stark
absolutes of Islam. Having been disillusioned with inconsistencies within
even a strict Islamic school in northern Pakistan, he trekked into
Afghanistan to get "a bird's-eye view" of truly Qur'anic Islam--that of the
Taliban and Al Queda. Perhaps this was a radical reaction to the relativism
of his upbringing (e.g., the father had been disturbed by his son's
approval of the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, but kept sending money to him
The primary question to ask oneself is, "Can I actually live in the real
world under my belief system?" In the post-September 11 world, relativism's
lure seems to have been suspended--at least for a time. Several months
hence, we examine the evolution of the term "tolerance" and challenge the
current interpretation in our Special Focus.
—Byron Barlowe, Editor/Webmaster, Leadership University
Truth or Tolerance?
There are terrible implications if truth is relative instead of absolute.
Tolerance has become the ultimate virtue, especially on university
campuses. A Christian response to this alarming trend.
On Not Permitting the Other to Be Other
Richard John Neuhaus
The editor-in-chief of influential First Things Journal takes another swipe
at the book, Please Don't Wish Me a Merry Christmas: A Critical History of
the Separation of Church and State (New York University Press), which he
reviewed for New York Times Literary Supplement. This is the main portion
of his weekly review of the culture.
What Can We Reasonably Hope for?: A Millennium Symposium
Tinder discusses the dilemma of affirming truth in a relativistic culture,
which promises to only increase as an issue.
Open Forums for PostmodernsChapter 4: Thinking About The Questions Seekers Entertain
Metzger walks the Christian apologist through a set of Socratic questions
posed in response to common objections to such concepts as absolute truth
and a good God in the midst of evil. Contains a useful treatment of
relativism and the contemporary cultural understanding of tolerance.
Living in the New Dark Ages
A review of Charles Colson's important book, "Against the Night: Living in
the New Dark Ages." Colson argues that "new barbarians" are destroying our
culture with individualism, relativism, and the new tolerance.
Reaching Youth Today
This is the text of a speech by Josh McDowell on how to minister to
contemporary youth. Its message of reaching young people in an post-modern
culture conveys many of the ideas from his recent book, "Right from Wrong".
Although it is addressed specifically to pastors, this presentation is also
relevant for youth ministers, teachers, parents and all who are concerned
about issues pertaining to young people.
Why We Can't All Just Get Along
Liberalism neither accepts faith nor God as standards for thought. Without
any such restrictions, all questions are open. But are those who do believe
in God allowed to participate in public discussions, or has their faith
Why We Can Get Along
Richard John Neuhaus
A response to Stanley Fish's article, "Why We Can't All Just Get Along."
The author points out the fine distinctions in the relationship between
critical thinking, religious belief and tolerance. This essay was written
in response to a previously published essay.
The Theology Behind Christmas Music
Robert A. Pyne
Most radio stations play some type of Christmas music during the holiday
season, but many of the songs have become so familiar to us that we no
longer consider their content.
Go here to see our past Special Focus features.