July 05, 2005

John 18:12-14 / C

... it was better to have one person die for the people

The religious leadership believed, according to this passage, that it was better to kill Jesus and save countless lives in a possible riot and Roman response. This is an understandable position, but ...

This is a kind of utilitarian thinking which reduces the worth of human lives to that of widgets ... two lives are worth more than one, five lives are worth more than two. Life doesn't come with a price tag. And if you believe that killing is wrong, the fact that the killing will save others doesn't make the killing ok ... this reduces one's morality to "the ends justify the means".

When you choose the lesser of two evils, you're still choosing evil.

Crystal, who is now waiting for David's situational ethics response :-)


At 6:47 p.m., Blogger david said...

Situational Ethics: Now if we are going to do situational ethics right we must consider the whole situation. Which for people such as us is the conviction we are children of the Most High and disciples the Lord with the whispers of the Holy Spirit in our ears and the law of god written upon our hearts.

At 9:51 a.m., Blogger Larry said...

The priest's statement was a specious rationalization.

However generalizing: Medical people are often forced to make choices such as I'll help you instead of him (triage). Rather than one life being worth more than the other, one life has a higher probability of being saved.

At 1:20 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

Hi David and Larry.

I think I keep mulling over the Bonhoeffer planning to kill Hitler thing. One of my favorite books/movies is the Dead Zone, in which a psychic learns that a politician running for president will cause a nuclear holocaust once elected. He decides he must kill him to prevent this terrible outcome.

On the face of it, it seems like the right thing to do but I cannot make myself believe that Jesus would ever sign off on such a thing.


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