Lesson: Going Against the Crowd
Use this one, make up one of your own, or use a Biblical story such as Joshua
President Bush said Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator and
he has weapons of mass destruction such as biochemical agents, and he must
either give up his weapons or be forced out of power by military force.
The U.S., along with Britain, are ready to go to war with Iraq to achieve
his goal. Many people around the world, including many Americans, don't
think we should go to war, and millions have protested against the war in
the past few weeks. When asked by reporters on why he doesn't listen
to the protesters, he said that he understands why some people don't want
to go to the war, but he sincerely believes that what he is doing is right
and he will not change.
1. What will President Bush gain or lose by not listening to
As a leader in a democratic country, he will probably lose the
votes of those protesters when is up for re-election.
2. Isn't killing people sinful? Then why would a president who claims
to be a Christian authorize the military to go to war?
He believes we need to take out Hussein who has used poison gas
against his own citizens before. Going to war is our last resort and
now it seems that other options are just not working. The Old Testament
is full of instances where God told Israelis to destroy enemies in order
to remove evil. God judges our intentions, and knows that we fight
reluctantly in order to promote what's right and not our own interests.
3. What makes President Bush think he is right to take necessary measures
to remove Hussein, including the use of force? The U.S. also has weapons
of mass destruction (WMD), and so why don't we get rid of ours first?
Hussein has shown the world that he does not care for people's
lives and welfare, but only his own glory and power. President Bush
knows from history that brutal dictators must be stopped before they get
enough resources to do more harm, and Hussein could have those weapons shortly.
He believes that the danger of Hussein in the future is far greater than
the danger and sacrifices of a war today.
We don't use WMDs except in self-defense and only when absolutely
necessary. During WWII, we were shocked to see the Japanese kamikaze
attacks and realized that if we had to invade the main islands of Japan,
millions more people would die. Using atomic bombs actually shortened
the war and saved many lives.
4. Wouldn't it easier for President Bush to just follow the crowd and pretend
Hussein is not a threat to humanity? Why work so hard to be unpopular?
He believes he is right, and doing the right thing sometimes
means doing the things that are not popular because others are wrong.
The French and Russians don't want to fight Hussein because Hussein owes
them billions of dollars for weapons and other things. Their opposition
to the U.S. effort to topple Hussein has much less to do with their convictions
and more to do with their wallets.
Definitions of the key word: "Absolute" (n./adj.)
"Absolutes" are things that are not seen as "relative" to something.
They are considered to be perfectly and precisely defined. Often when
we refers to "absolutes," we refer to something that’s bearing the specific
quality all the time, everywhere, for everyone, and under all circumstances.
In contrast, "relative" things are things that have meaning only when it's
compared to something else from which a temporary standard is set.
For instance, Shaqille O'Neal is tall, but Yao Ming is taller. So Shaq
is not so tall relative to Yao Ming. But compared to you and me, Shaq
So, is there absolute morality? In other words, are there things that
are always right, and things that are always wrong? The world today
likes the concept of "relativism," which means there's no absolute right
and wrong. Something is "right" if you think it's right. A result
of this concept is the trend of "following the crowd," or "jumping on the
What's wrong with following the crowd?
- The crowd could be wrong
- The crowd may not share your morality
- The crowd could be manipulated by someone else with a certain improper
purpose in mind
Joshua & Caleb
Joshua & Cable were the only two adults (aside from Moses) who wanted
to follow God's lead and go take the land of Palestine. All the other
adults listened to the other ten spies and didn't want to fight the "giants"
of Palestine. For their opposition to the popular position, they were
almost stoned to death. But God appeared and told the people that Joshua
and Caleb are right and all of the other adults won't be able to enter into
the Promised Land.
Did Jesus go with the crowds?
- Throwing merchants out of the temple -- it was wrong to collude with
priests and make money from selling replacement sacrificial animals
- Choosing unpopular people (such as Matthew, a former tax collector)
as disciples -- God judges the heart, not the occupation, of the disciples
- Criticizing Pharisees, the popular and prestigious religious leaders
of the day -- because they misinterpret God's teachings and misuse their
position for their own gains
What is the crowd doing nowadays? What's wrong with these?
- Sex before marriage, extramarital affairs
- Drugs, alcohol, smoking
- Cheating, stepping on others to get ahead
This lesson was developed by George Huang. Got a question or want to
publish this lesson? E-mail me.
Last updated: 3/8/03