I’ve been puzzling over writing a “sufficiently athy” post [that hasn’t already been done to death and back] and a conversation tumbled into my lap from social media. I’ll share it here. See what you think.
So, I’m talking to the trifecta of believers; literalist, dominionist, inerrantist, etc. I posed a thought experiment a la street epistimology removing god from the equation but retaining the same criteria surrounding his beliefs.
You discover your child has fallen down a deep hole. This poses an ethical quandary. If I love my child unconditionally, *I* would immediately rescue them. The choices are:
A: Immediate unconditional rescue
B: Offer rescue but only if the child agrees to love and obey me unquestioningly for the rest of their life. If they do not, I’ll pour gas on them and set them afire.
The answer was puzzling at best. Mike tried to put it all up to “choice”. The child could “choose” to be rescued or not, thus being the “child’s fault” for a wrong choice. It was logically and morally, a really poor answer. The child could be unconscious, not able to participate in the rescue. Would it be then permissable to punish the child? What if the child were actively resisting? Children are incapable of predicting consequences because they don’t develop those emotional and intellectual tools until later in life. So, my shrimp on the barbie time? Would I be justified in my judgement?
I’d like to think that people aren’t so removed from compassion that they couldn’t make moral decisions in their everyday life, but I have only to look around me at the folks in the good ol’ US of A to see they can’t if they’re tied to a Bronze Age Death Cult.
One quick added note for perspective for christians: Don’t imagine you are god/the parent in this circumstance, imagine you’re the child.
****Author’s note: TO Mike, feel free to broach any topic you’d like, I’ll discuss anything at length as long as it remains productive. I would like you to tackle the ethical dilemma we originally discussed on twitter at some point.