1. Let’s say it’s April 2020. You are taking a walk through the park during this era of the COVID-19 pandemic, when you see a group of friends hanging out in very close proximity with one another (less than 6 feet apart). It is quite obvious that this group does not all live in the same household, and you notice that none of them are wearing masks.  In fact, the friends are laughing, singing, talking loudly, and occasionally giving each other hugs.  As you walk past this group, you overhear another passerby say, “Look, maybe they’re from one of those other countries or cultures who see things differently than us.  Who am I to criticize their perspectives and their ways?”  Considering what we have learned about cultural relativism and justice, how might you assess this situation, and what do you think you ought to do?
  2. Bajors are a minority population within the nation of Cardas. The Cardas people take great pride in their history and culture; however, part of this greater culture includes treating many minority populations, especially the Bajors, with fear and suspicion.  You are a Vulca, which is another minority population within Cardas.  Generally you come from a subculture that is more passivist – you are taught to work hard, but mind your own business and never bring attention to yourself.  You are walking down the street one day when you notice that a Bajor is being roughed up by several Cardas SAs (Security Authorities).  The Bajor looks afraid and appears to be in a great amount of pain.  He is pleading with the SAs, but they do not seem to be easing up on him.  A few SAs look up and see you staring at them.  One of then responds, “Be a good model citizen and don’t make any waves, now.  This Bajor broke the law. This doesn’t concern you.”  Considering what we have learned about cultural relativism and justice, how might you assess this situation, and what do you think you ought to do?
  3. The Romuls are an aggressive, militaristic and slaveholding culture. Its members believe that their gods have granted them the divine right to invade and subjugate, and enslave other cultures.  The Betazed, on the other hand, are a pacifist culture that holds strictly to the codes of cultural relativism. They believe that each society should have the freedom to do whatever they think is right, even if that thing they are doing seems wrong to the Betazed themselves. One day the Romuls, on the counsel of their holy seer, decreed that the gods have granted them the authority to invade Betazed territory.  As strictly cultural relativists, how should the Betazeds respond to this potential invasion? Based on our readings on cultural relativism and justice, how do you think they ought to respond?
  4. Your friend has just been released from prison, where she had been serving time for a crime she had been caught committing. When she comes out, she tells you that she had “experienced God,” and was committed to living “a moral life.”  You question your friend further on the meaning and motivation behind her apparent change, and she tells you that her prison experience led her to believe that “needed God” to help guide and motivate her towards a life of flourishing.  She strongly believed that, without God, she could not live a fully moral life and be truly happy.  Based upon what you have read on God, knowledge, and morality, how you would respond?
  5. In 2002, Columbian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt was kidnapped by the guerilla group, FARC, and was forced to march and wander around in the jungle. While in captivity, she was chained by the neck to trees, locked inside of a box, starved, beaten, and raped. She also nearly died more than once due to illness and disease. During this time, her beloved father passed away, and her two children were forced to grow up without her.  Betancourt was finally rescued in 2008 alongside 14 other captives. While she attributes her survival to God, others may not be so sure.  After all, why would a loving and powerful God allow this terrible evil to happen to her and others in the first place? How might you respond?
  6. A friend of yours tells you that he sometimes goes through these frightening experiences at night, when he seems to be in bed but cannot move a bone in his body. He even goes so far to say that he is certain that aliens or some dark force seems to tug on him and take him elsewhere.  He says it almost feels like an abduction.  You are initially skeptical, but your friend is adamant about this.  He tells you, “I could see, feel, and hear things.  It’s got to be true because I experienced it.  This was real, and it really happened to me.”  Given what we have learned about knowledge, beliefs, and reality, how might you examine your friend’s claims and experiences?