Friday, May 11, 2007

The "A" Word

Today, in Ottawa, thousands of people will March in the annual "March For Life" in a peaceful demonstration against abortion. You likely won't hear about it in the mainstream media because they seem to have a policy of ignoring any pro-life event. This fact was brought up in an article on the front page of the National Post last week.
I bring this up today because I think it says a great deal about us as a society. Many consider it one of our finer qualities as a nation that we have made tolerance the virtue. I'm not one of those.
First of all, we've lost the original meaning of the word. Tolerance has come to mean the blind acceptance and promotion of ideas and opinions. The Webster's dictionary definition for "tolerate" is "To put up with; to suffer to be, or to be practiced or done, without prohibition or hindrance."
In a free society, there was a recognition that there would be disagreements, we would tolerate, or put up with, the differences between ourselves and others, while maintaining the right to respectfully disagree. That is what we have lost in Canada - the right to disagree without being labelled as some kind of nutcase.
A case in point is the abortion debate. Far from being settled, it rather remains a serious point of contention for Canadians, with a large percentage of the population at odds with the current state of affairs. Yet it is rarely covered in the media, unless a pro-abortionist is doing the talking. There is no public debate because we don't want to deal with it, and we somehow think we should applaud ourselves for this?
It's the same with religion in Canada. Secular-humanist thought has a virtual monopoly in our media and in our school systems and we're all fine with that, buying the mantra that religion should be kept private. But we forget that secular humanism is also a religion. Its worldview makes just as many faith claims as any of the more widely recognized religions. It has positions on origins, meaning, morality and destiny, the basic frameworks of any worldview. What we forget is that ideas have consequences. There is a profound, and I believe negative, impact on our children to deprive them of a solid Judeo-Christian foundation, especially given the historical significance in Canada.
What I argue for is a re-opening of the debate in Canada. Let's stop preaching to each other and start talking to each other. The place to start may be with the whole idea of truth itself. If all truth is relative then what are we really talking about? The fact is, some things are true and some things are false. The law of non-contradiction states that "one cannot say of something that it is and that it is not in the same respect and at the same time". In other words, two opposite statements about the same thing cannot be true at the same time.
We have a ridiculous belief in Canada that we can all believe different things about the same thing and we can all be right. Or another, similar, fallacy, that as long as we're sincere we can believe anything we want. Sorry, but that's just stupid. Believing you're taking tylenol while you're in fact taking cyanide tablets will not make you feel better, it will kill you - even if you're sincere. It's the same with ideas. The wrong idea will lead you to the wrong conclusion.
Let's re-open the debate.
Post a Comment