Ethos Education

The Lone Ranger: Facing the Truth

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Assembly Objective: 

  • Must we accept the truth, even when it’s inconvenient? This assembly explores the Bible’s teaching that truth sets us free.

Film: 

  • The Lone Ranger (Disney, 2013, certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible: 

Supporting Values Education:

  • The value of Individual Liberty affirms each person’s right to self-determination, but the values of Democracy, Respect and Tolerance call us to live as part of a community. This assembly encourages pupils to consider the nature of truth, and its impact on the community around us and on our individual values and choices.

OPENING ACTIVITY

The Truth about Ostriches (something to think about)

Download the Ostrich PowerPoint for use with this activity.

  • Explain that you want to take a few moments to talk about an extremely important topic: ostriches, then talk your way through the PowerPoint.
  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Ostriches: how much do you really know?
    • Most people know very little about ostriches, just that they bury their head in the earth when faced with danger. But there’s a lot more to ostriches than that.
  • PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Ostrich eggs can weigh up to five lbs, and a she-ostrich can lay eggs every other day.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Ostriches have very small brains – about the same size as their own eyeballs.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Ostriches can run at speeds of up to 40mph for sustained periods of time. [click to make Ostrich exit at speed]
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Ostriches dig holes in the ground as nests for their eggs. Both male and female ostriches take turns sitting on the eggs and regularly turning them over with their beaks.
    • If a predator comes near to a nesting ostrich, the bird will run away. They aren’t abandoning the nest, they are drawing the predator away from the vulnerable eggs, confident that they can outrun and outlast their hunter.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • And finally… ostriches don’t bury their head when scared. That misunderstanding probably comes from someone seeing one digging its nest.
    • You can go on thinking that they do that, but only by burying your head from the truth like an ostrich…doesn’t.

True or False (quiz)

Download the Belief Believe it or not PowerPoint for use with this activity.

  • PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Ask one or more students to guess whether each of the ‘facts’ you put before them are true or false. You could either ask the entire audience to guess, raising their hands to indicate what they think, or you could get a student to come up to the front to answer on behalf of everybody else. If you want an element of competition, either split the room in half and play one side against the other, or bring two volunteers up to the front
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Worldwide, more Monopoly money is printed each year than real money. [click to reveal:] True.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Human eyeballs remain the same size from birth through to death. [click to reveal:] True.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Women are scientifically proven to be worse drivers than men. [click to reveal:] False.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Wayne Rooney is the youngest player to score a goal in the Premier League. [click to reveal:] False. He was, but his record was beaten by James Milner, then of Leeds United, on Boxing Day 2002.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • Julius Caesar is thought to be the first person to undergo open heart surgery and survive. [click to reveal:] False, though he is thought to be the first person to be born by Caesarean section.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • George Washington, first President of the United States of America, had wooden false teeth. [click to reveal:] True.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • Genghis Khan’s troops lived by the motto ‘Can we kill them? Yes we Khan!’ [click to reveal:] False.
  • [PowerPoint slide 9]
    • The King of Diamonds is the only king in a standard set of playing cards not to have a moustache. [click to reveal:] False – only the King of Hearts has no moustache.
  • [PowerPoint slide 10]
    • The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows. [click to reveal:] True.
  • [PowerPoint slide 11]
    • A jiffy is an actual, quantifiable unit of time. [click to reveal:] True – it is 1/100 of a second.
  • [PowerPoint slide 12]
    • The average person eats the weight of six elephants over the course of their lifetime. [click to reveal:] True – approx 60,000 pounds of food.
  • [PowerPoint slide 13]
    • One quarter of the bones in your body are in your feet. [click to reveal:] True.
  • [PowerPoint slide 14]
    • Melted cheese contains twice as many calories as raw cheese. The least calorific way to eat cheese is grated. [click to reveal:] False.
  • [PowerPoint slide 15]
    • The legendary American outlaw Billy the Kid was so called because of his resemblance to a goat. [click to reveal:] False.
    • Assuming that nobody managed to get every single answer correct, congratulate the winner(s) and comment that sometimes truth can be a very difficult thing to grasp. Explain that in today’s assembly you are going to be thinking about the relationship between truth, beauty and excellence.

FILM CLIP

  • Play the clip from The Lone Ranger (Disney, 2013, certificate 12)
    • Start time: 1.40.06 (in chapter 16 of the DVD)
    • End time: 1.42.13
    • Clip length: 2 minutes and 7 seconds
  • The clip starts with John Reid (Armie Hammer) pushing Latham Cole (Tom Wilkinson) into a train carriage at gunpoint. The first line is John, surprised, saying, ‘Danny!’ The clip ends with Captain Fuller (Barry Pepper) asking, ‘Who the hell are you?’
  • If the above dialogue is inappropriate for your students, you could stop the clip at 1.42.00, after Cole asks ‘Are you capable of that?’ This shorter version of the clip finishes before Captain Fuller makes his choice.
  • The clip shows Captain Fuller being forced to decide between two contradictory versions of the truth, and choosing to believe the one that is least inconvenient for himself.

TALK

Download the Truth Lone Ranger PowerPoint for use with this presentation.

Scripted Talk

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • What do you do when you start to realise that the world isn’t the way you thought it was? If you begin to suspect that you’ve been mistaken about something, do you start to dig for the truth, or do you gloss over your suspicions and just carry on regardless?
    • We’re going to watch a clip from the film The Lone Ranger, where one of the characters is faced with precisely that kind of dilemma. John Reid, aka the Lone Ranger, although confusingly for us he’s not wearing his mask in this clip, has discovered that railroad boss Latham Cole is really a very bad man, and is in league with outlaw Butch Cavendish, who everyone knows is a very bad man. The two very bad men have faked a series of Indian raids on farmsteads and used the so-called Indian aggression as an excuse to build the railroad across Indian land, conveniently making themselves filthy rich in the process. In the scene that follows, look out for a cavalry officer being forced to decide who is telling the truth.
    • Play the clip from The Lone Ranger:
      • Start time: 1.40.06 (in chapter 16 of the DVD)
      • End time: 1.42.13
      • Clip length: 2 minutes and 7 seconds
    • The clip starts with John Reid (Armie Hammer) pushing Latham Cole (Tom Wilkinson) into a train carriage at gunpoint. The first line is John, surprised, saying, ‘Danny!’ The clip ends with Captain Fuller (Barry Pepper) asking, ‘Who the hell are you?’
    • If you are unable to play the clip, say, ‘Captain Fuller had to decide whether Cole or Reid was telling the truth. The problem was, if what John Reid said was true, Fuller realised that would mean that he himself had done terrible things – could he bear to think of himself as the kind of person who did things like that?’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • It’s quite a dilemma, isn’t it? Who to believe? Did you notice what criteria Captain Fuller used to make his decision? He didn’t ask himself which of the two stories was actually true. Instead, he thought about the implications for himself. If John Reid was telling the truth, that would mean that the attack on an Indian village that he led wasn’t a legitimate act of war, it was an appalling slaughter of innocents. Captain Fuller couldn’t bear to think of himself – and to have others think of him – as someone who could do such a thing, so he blinded himself to the truth and decided to go with Cole’s version of events. [If you used Opening Activity: The Truth about Ostriches, refer to it here]
    • The thing is, Fuller made the wrong choice. That’s clear to anyone watching the film, as we’ve seen that John Reid – aka the Lone Ranger – is in the right and that Latham Cole is a scheming, lying, murderer. I suspect that deep down even Fuller realised that – he certainly knew that Cole’s associate Butch Cavendish was a wanted outlaw – but Fuller couldn’t live with the implications of that truth. He buried his head in the sand and kidded himself that he had done nothing wrong.
    • Sometimes it can be tempting to do the same thing. People ignore medical symptoms, refusing to go to a doctor because they are afraid of what they might be told. The trouble with that approach is that it doesn’t change the truth. Not knowing that you’re ill doesn’t make you any better, it just means that you don’t get the treatment you need. For Captain Fuller, choosing to ignore the truth doesn’t make things better, it meant that he carried out more and more actions, fighting against the innocent John Reid and aiding and abetting ruthless killers like Cole and Cavendish.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • That’s not the way truth should be. Jesus had this to say about truth:
    • Jesus said to the people who believed in him, ‘You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ John 8:31-32, New Living Translation.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • The truth will set you free. That’s a lesson that Captain Fuller would have benefitted from hearing. Embracing the truth is always a better option than living a lie. For one thing, it’s simpler – you don’t have to remember the lies you’ve already told in order to be consistent. For another, it’s better for you. Psychologists have a word – praxis – for the relationship between what we believe and what we do. In a nutshell, it’s bad for us to believe something but to live as if we believed something contradictory. Doing that imprisons us, whereas living out the truth of our beliefs releases us. In that sense, the truth really does set us free.
    • Jesus is talking here about people following him, living their lives his way and being faithful to his teaching. When people do this, he says, that’s when they discover true freedom. The truth will set them free.
    • Captain Fuller couldn’t bear to accept the truth, because it would also mean accepting that he had done terrible, terrible things to innocent people. If what Jesus said really is true, it may involve lifestyle changes from people who come to believe in him. Sometimes the cost of making those changes can be daunting, but if we’re not going to behave like Captain Fuller, we have to ask whether the cost of not making them is even greater.

Headings and Bullets

Download the Truth Lone Ranger PowerPoint for use with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • What do you do when you start to realise things aren’t the way you thought?
      • Look for the truth?
      • Ignore suspicions and carry on regardless?
    • Introduce clip from The Lone Ranger:
      • One character faces precisely this dilemma.
      • John Reid has uncovered a plot by Latham Cole and Butch Cavendish.
      • Cavalry officer has to decide who to believe.
    • Play the clip from The Lone Ranger:
      • Start time: 1.40.06 (in chapter 16 of the DVD)
      • End time: 1.42.13
      • Clip length: 2 minutes and 7 seconds
    • The clip starts with John Reid (Armie Hammer) pushing Latham Cole (Tom Wilkinson) into a train carriage at gunpoint. The first line is John, surprised, saying, ‘Danny!’ The clip ends with Captain Fuller (Barry Pepper) asking, ‘Who the hell are you?’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Notice Captain Fuller’s criteria for making his decision.
      • Not ‘which story is true?’
      • But ‘what are the implications for me?’
      • Fuller chose the ‘truth’ that didn’t make him a war criminal.
      • Refer to Opening Activity: The Truth about Ostriches if you used it.
    • Fuller made the wrong choice.
      • He probably knew that.
      • He couldn’t live with the implications of the truth.
      • He buried his head in the sand and kidded himself he’d done nothing wrong.
    • Sometimes we’re tempted to do the same thing.
      • People ignore medical symptoms, afraid of the diagnosis.
      • Not knowing you’re ill doesn’t make you better.
      • Captain Fuller ignoring the truth didn’t make things better, it made them worse.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Jesus said this about truth:
      • Jesus said to the people who believed in him, ‘You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ John 8:31-32, New Living Translation.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • The truth will set you free.  A lesson Captain Fuller would have benefitted from.
    • Embracing truth is always better than living a lie.
      • Simpler – don’t have to remember what you made up.
      • Better for you – praxis: the relationship between what we believe and what we do.
      • Living a lie imprisons us.
      • The truth really does set us free.
    • Jesus is talking about people following him and living his way.
      • He says people who do this discover true freedom.
      • The truth will set them free.
    • Captain Fuller couldn’t bear the truth.
      • If what Jesus said is true, it might involve lifestyle changes for people who come to believe him.
      • The cost of those changes can be daunting.
      • The cost of not changing may be even greater.

Photo Copyright for Ostrich PowerPoint: all images from iStockphoto.com

Photo Copyright for Truth Lone Ranger PowerPoint: Slide 1 Disney Enterprises / Slide 2 Peter Mountain, Disney Enterprises Inc and Jerry Bruckheimer Inc / Slide 3 image 4 LUMO Project / Slide 4 iSockphoto.com


RESPOND

Prayer

  • Dear God, thank you for giving us minds that are capable of reasoning, of working out what is true and what isn’t. Help us to recognise the truth when we see it, and to live our lives in accordance with the truth. Give us the courage to recognise when we have been mistaken and to change things accordingly. Amen.

Reflection

  • Do you find it easy to admit it when you realise that you’ve been wrong? What difference does it make for you to act on what you believe rather than to hide your true thoughts?

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. The Lone Ranger (Disney, 2013, certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. Belief Believe it or not PowerPoint.
  3. Ostrich PowerPoint.
  4. Truth Lone Ranger PowerPoint.

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