"The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge." ~TNIV

Sunday, October 9, 2011

To Torture or Not ...Part 2 (cont'd)

I again was shocked after several of my fellow classmates also stated that they would willfully, with or without regret, torture an innocent seven year old girl to possibly save millions. I might stop now to explain that I received the maximum amount of points for both my original post and my replies to fellow students.
The follow are two of my replies in regard to their decision to torture (I have changed their names):

Dear Margaret,

While I do respect your opinion, I continue to assert that the preservation of greater good (the lives of many for the sake of one) is a product of humanistic thinking that is rooted in "the ends justifies the means." This type of thinking is not built upon Biblical principles rather it is the result of our human nature. This is an age old philosophy debate between utilitarian (what is best for the greater number) or deontological (moral principles prevail) philosophers. However, as an individual with a Christian worldview, there is no way that I can make a moral decision based on the thoughts of men, I must take into account what God's Word has to say about it.

In addition, what is the greater good to one man may not be the greater good to other men. Who defines what is the greater good? Who in society sets this moral code of conduct? What price do we place on the value of human life? If the value of one human life is important, then is it only important when the number of people is large enough? What then is the value of a human when the number is reduced, is a person worth less?

There are precedents that have proven this way of thinking is wrong. History is full of examples of people who believed they were serving the greater good, and some of these believed it with strong moral conviction. A primary example is Adolph Hitler. He truly convinced himself that he had a moral obligation for the greater good to rid the world of the Jewish Nation. The early Roman Catholic Church felt it had a moral obligation to persecute and kill the small number of Christians present at that time in order to save mankind (the greater good) from what it believed as blaspheme.

For me, the final outcome of my moral decision boiled down to this… This moral dilemma is not so much based upon whether I could actually kill someone as much as would such an action be socially acceptable if I did. I would rather do what I believe is acceptable before God rather than to do what men perceive as acceptable.

Again, this has been a great discussion and I appreciate your thoughtful insight. May God bless your home, your health, and your studies.

Dear Frank,

I noticed that you concluded that the young girl would not die from being tortured because the scenario did not state this. However, it did not state that she would live either. How much torture is too much for a seven year little girl? How long would you have to torture her to see if her father would break. I contend that she would die? After all, her father is the leader of the terrorist cell and with such a sinister nature it seems evident that he places little value on human life.

Your decision included how you believed all fathers would react if it were their daughter. However, I do not believe it can be argued here that this father is like all other fathers who would feel compassion for the suffering of his little girl. In addition, he should not be compared to all other men for the most obvious reason; most other men are not intent on the mass destruction of human lives. I conclude that perhaps he would feel bad for his daughter, but he would not relent. In many terrorist religions and/or radical beliefs, it is honorable to die or have one of your family members die for what is believed to be the greater good- for the cause.

I do though agree that there is no easy answer to this or most situational ethics questions. Howbeit, at the same time, I believe there resides a deeper moral issue here. That is, should an innocent person be tortured so that other innocent people are allowed to live. This is not a simple matter of numbers but it addresses the of value of all human life. How valuable is one life in the eyes of God?

In closing, you stated that though the act of torturing her would haunt you for the rest of your life, you would torture her nevertheless. I believe the reason you know you would be haunted by such an act is the same reason I believe it is morally wrong- because a seven year old girl is an innocent victim. Myself, I would not want her life whether by torture or death to be required at my hands.

To all who read this blog...
One last thought on this subject of greater good (the ends justifies the means.) When faced with any moral dilemma, before you act, ask yourself..."Just what would Jesus do?"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

To the Lady Screaming Over the Radio...

To the Lady screaming over the radio in an attempt to persuade Houstonians to join the out-of-touch folks at Occupy Houston:
I don't care how many people agree with your opinion- numbers don't make you right. I don't care how loud you can scream- screaming loudly doesn't mean I should believe you. I don't care how much you think you know- it doesn't mean you know what you're talking about. In fact, the more ill opinionated you are as you scream at the top of your lungs regarding things you are obviously wrong about-- the more likely I am to ignore what you are saying as I group you in with the mentally hapless wondering the streets. And stop saying you are speaking for all Americans--- you are NOT speaking for me!
I do not want to financially support anyone other than my own family-unless you are old or helpless- and that includes all those abusing the bloated system we have now- I have no desire to live in a socialist republic. I am not asking for a free educational ride, just a reasonably priced one- again, I have no desire to live in a socialist republic. I do not believe because you become successful that you should be punished, taxed ruthlessly, or pay more than your share. I do believe we should do away with most tax loopholes but still offer corporate incentives or we can kiss many major U.S. corporations goodbye. And while I'm on taxes, I believe all the lazy slobs, from the lower class to upper class, who are cheating and lying their way out of paying any taxes ought to pay up or shut up. I work hard for what I earn and I pay my taxes. What I am tired of are those parasites who feast on the hard working classes, expecting more and more while being determined to continue doing nothing at all. I am not asking for free health care coverage and I am tired of paying for the free coverage of others when my own son, a minor, gets zilch. I like social security retirement, disability for the truly disabled, and veterans assistance programs. So stop saying you are speaking for me, because you are not.

If our U.S. economy crashed what would happen among the socioeconomic classes? The wealthy would make a way through it, the middle class and the even harder working lower middle class would make it through it, the lower class who work hard and long hours doing work no one else wants to do--they would make it too. But those that live off the backs of others...do you know what they would do? They would rob, maim, steal, destroy and do whatever they had to to get what they "believe" was theirs. Why? Because that is all they have ever done and this generation now believes it is owed to them. Work is a strange word to them. Its sound is foreign to their ears and even more foreign to their minds.

So please stop saying you speak for ALL Americans when it is clear you do not. You are speaking for those who believe America is a place to cash-in, lay around, collect all you can, and contribute nothing. Go to Greece and find out exactly how that type of society ends up!
I still advocate that we return to the rule "If you are able bodied and you don't work, you don't eat."
Nuff said.

To Torture or Not to Torture

This past weekend I posted a situational ethics question to my friends and family here on FB. The question had been assigned by my Philosophy professor (see my wall for the details- it involved torturing a seven year old girl to save millions.) I want to thank all of you who responded on FB, those that called me (lol) as well as those that I called or hunted down for additional insight. I just submitted my short response paper and felt since you so graciously gave- so should I. Here is my paper:

I believe the appropriate moral response to this situation would not include torturing the seven year old girl. I do not believe the shedding of innocent blood serves any greater good; not by God's standard anyway. Moses, in Deuteronomy 27:25, charged the people saying that the shedding of innocent blood (of people) was a curse.

I actually read this discussion board requirement last week and this situational ethics question really got me thinking. I asked my self one question, “What is the greater good- not by man’s understanding or reasoning, but by God’s?”

I posed this scenario to many of my friends, both Christian and non-Christian. I was truly surprised at the number of people, including some of my Christian friends, who said they could torture the child. The sentiment seemed to be the sacrifice of one life for the lives of many would be similar to what Jesus had done.  However, that did not set well with me because it seemed they had their thinking backwards. Jesus died for the sins of the entire world not for one man’s sin. To me, this seemed to be a human nature idea of justification. Should this one innocent child be a sacrificial lamb? Was she not as innocent as those in the city?

Then, compelled to find deeper spiritual insight, I spoke with several ministerial friends. The consensus here was a bit mixed and each side presented scripture that supported their opinion. This caused me to languish as I wrestled with what my moral response would be.  I kept wondering what would Jesus do?

I tried to think about all the people living in the major metropolitan city who would never realize the danger they were in; people, family members, and/or friends I might know myself in potential danger of being disintegrated. Next, I put myself in the interrogator’s position. I couldn’t help it; I was continually reminded that this is a seven year old girl, not an adult, not a convicted criminal, and not her father. From all understood regards, she is innocent- as innocent as the millions who will perish if she is not tortured. If the father was willing to be tortured and see millions of innocent people die, would he really be moved that his daughter might suffer? I reasoned he probably would not. Should she pay for her father's sin? Should I, a student of the Word of God and partaker of its truths, become like the terrorist and willfully engage in shedding innocent blood?  I thought of every Bible story and parable and looked up scripture after scripture to find a moral compass to direct my heart toward the best moral answer. At last, I have humbly prayed and asked God; I found my answer.

You see, I could never do it. I could never torture the child even if it meant the deaths of millions of people because her innocent blood would be required on my hands on that final Day of Judgment and the innocent blood of the millions in the city would be required on the hands of the terrorist. I was reminded by a wonderful youth pastor that God is the defender of the defenseless. In this case, not only are the millions of people in the city defenseless, but also the little girl. Would I be willing to work against God? My final answer was “No I would not.”