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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Christian Ethical Dilemma - Part II
I am still mega-busy, but since this thought only takes a minute or two, I think I can manage...

In the previous post I presented a scenario that begged the question, if it is within our power to stop another person from committing a sin, and we fail to stop them, are we culpable for the sin they commit.

I would extend that example a bit here, and see what we all think before I take this where it belongs.

Suppose the fellow, upon learning that his roommate is suicidal, determines (in love of course) to "make sure" that his roommate has no opportunity to commit suicide. Although his solution is excessive, he decides the only way to avoid sinning against his brother is to use the most secure solution (the "maximum" effort) available to him - and since he is much bigger than his roommate, he easily overpowers him and thereafter binds him to a chair in their apartment, and for the remainder of his roommate's life, he keeps him bound - though he feeds him and looks after all his needs, yet he never allows the roommate freedom, because he knows that this same freedom will eventually be used to terminate his own life. The fellow acts thus because he feels that if he has the power to stop his roommate from killing himself, and doesn't use it - then he will in fact be in some sense culpable for his roommate's suicide, since it was within his power to thwart it.

Now, surely the fellow has embraced a wacky solution - and some of us would be inclined to criticize the solution as being dumb, or will suggest better solutions that address the situation in a more realistic way. Let's not go there. The point isn't to find the best solution to a made up scenario, it is to answer a question of culpability.

I won't pretend that the example is all that realistic, but it -does- give us an appropriate context in which to ask the question: If a man fails to do everything in his power to stop another man from sinning - is that failure sin? Surely there is room to bicker over where to "draw the line" - and, sure as there was an yesterday, there is some merit in pursuing such a discussion sometime - but let's leave that as an aside for today. Today let us answer the simple question: Just because a fellow has the power to stop another fellow from sinning is he culpable for the sins that the other fellow commits?

We are eventually going to tie this discussion to the doctrine of predestination, if you are curious where we are going...
posted by Daniel @ 10:50 AM  
  • At 12:27 PM, December 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul." Ezekiel 3:17-21 (ESV)

    Though my heart bleed for the one who desires to murder himself, I will and must do what I reasonably can to intervene, but his guilt is only shared if I do nothing.

    [I was in this situation this past summer. I think the person finally decided not to take his life because I convinced him to realize that it was not simply a cry for help, but murder. And God never approves of murder. He believed that since suicide is a sin, he would go to hell. I shared the Gospel.]

  • At 3:09 PM, December 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Even if the roommate prevents the sinful act, he has not in any way prevented the actual sin, which has already occured in the mind of the suicidal one.

    The works of our hands are not sin. They are the fruit of our sin. If I get angry and want to kill you, but don't, I am no less guilty of murder. It is the desire that is the sin.

  • At 3:31 PM, December 12, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    David - the outward act does indeed point to the inward problem. There is no question I think about whether the suicidal roommate is in the transgression - he certainly is.

    Eventually we are going to ask, is God guilty because he allows men to sin - and from there we will ask, is God evil for creating men knowing they will sin.

  • At 5:30 PM, December 12, 2006, Blogger jazzycat said…

    I'm interested and listening to where this is headed....

  • At 12:25 AM, December 30, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "I'm interested and listening to where this is headed.... "

    me too,jazzycat :)

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