As I’m sure we can all agree, the Bible is our best source for ethical behavior, but not all topics that are not covered specifically in the Bible. In this forum, I will attempt to convey my ethical theory and provide logical arguments for my beliefs. I will not be discussing blatantly unethical behavior, such as not murdering, but more nuanced topics that are more difficult to clearly define. As such, it is my attempt to pinpoint my understandings of ethical behavior by demonstrating my decision making process, rather than a broader approach. What makes a decision an ethical one? In short, an ethical decision is one that does minimal harm (ideally none) which results in maximum good. This can be good for an individual, or good for society at large, but attempts to minimize or do no harm to anyone. This area can be hotly debated and rightly so, which I will attempt to demonstrate in the following paragraphs.
Example: A man, his wife, and three children are living in severe poverty, and they are struggling to obtain basic necessities, such as food. The husband and wife are then offered jobs in which their combined income will adequately provide for their children and afford them a small savings for retirement and a college fund. However, both the jobs are very time consuming and will require them to be away from their children a majority of the time. This separation leads to a breakdown in the family unit and the children’s previous bond with their parents is dramatically reduced, which then leads to behavioral problems. Was the decision by the parents to take the jobs an ethical one? It is my position that the parent’s decision was ethical. While the children ended up facing difficulties later, the parents could not have known that in advance. The parents made a decision, which they believed was in the best interest of the children, and knew would lessen their hardship in some ways.
Decisions don’t always have to have the desired outcome to be ethical. In this regard, the greatest deciding factor in ethical behavior is intent. We are all human and subject to the limitations of being human. One of those limitations is the inability to predict the future. If a person is on their way to pick up a friend that has had too many drinks and hits a child who ran into the road in front of them, was their decision to pick up their friend not an ethical one? Unfortunately, this scenario had dire consequences which originated from an ethical decision. In a counter scenario, a police officer strays away from his assigned patrol area to have a drink while on duty. As he’s leaving the bar to drive back to work, he sees a man mercilessly beating a puppy, which he quickly arrests. Even though his decision resulted in a societal good, his initial decision to drink on duty was unethical. Ultimately, it is our intentions, when the lines are blurred, that define us as a person and define us in the eyes of God.
After reading your classmates’ threads, choose one to which you will respond, then write a reply that interacts with your classmate’s thread and presents a well-reasoned alternative to the metaethic that your classmate is advocating. You do not have to defend a position that is diametrically opposed to your classmate’s position, but you do need to critically evaluate your classmate’s position in a way that points out strengths and possible weaknesses.
The goal of this is to help your classmate to improve his or her theory, so make your criticisms constructive. Be charitable – don’t assume that your classmate is making stupid mistakes, but instead where multiple interpretations are possible, assume that you classmate meant whichever interpretation would make more sense. However, don’t hesitate to point out disputable assumptions, faulty arguments, and alternative possibilities if you are convinced that they exist. In short, criticize politely. If possible, you must reply to a classmate to whom no one else has yet replied. Treat your classmate’s opinion with sensitivity and respect.
Your reply must be 500–600 words.
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