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Book 4 Values

Book 4 Values

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Published by: gojian on Aug 26, 2009
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---―In Sir Walter Scott's ‗Ivanhoe‘, the fool Wamba ridiculed religious prejudice

by arguing, ‗For every Jew you show me who's not a Christian, Sir Knight, I'll show you a

Christian who's not a Christian.' People often spout their versions of religious scripture to

validate their behavior. But their behavior might be quite different from the message they

should derive from their scriptures. In fact what we deem as ‗moral‘ behavior is not as clear cut

as we would like to assume. Our own value decisions quite often jump around from being God

based to self centered, to society based. Few people are consistent, using one basic assumption

for all of their value decisions.

―I am amazed with the political reactions of American lawmakers. Democratic President

Bill Clinton was impeached by the Republican dominated House of Representatives for

charges based primarily on two sexual indiscretions and his perjury relating to them. George

Bush was not impeached for bringing the country to war based on false evidence, for

advocating torture, for spying on citizens and for nearly doubling the national debt. The sexual

activity of a leader is far more detrimental to his country than is leading it to war and to

economic collapse. Of course the evangelical Mr. Bush was being led by God while Clinton

was being led by his gonads.

―Now let‘s look at several major ethical problems and see how you might be for or against

each problem whether you take a self-centered, a God-based or a society-based assumption. In

other words, finding the answers to moral questions is not as simple as many think. While we

may start with a self-, God, or society based assumption we will then add evidence to make our

opinion clearer and stronger. And as we mentioned earlier, that evidence can be empirically

verifiable or historical, it may have been given us by some authority or it may just be our


―As an example, let‘s assume that my opinion relating to mercy killing is based on my
belief in God and the truth of the Bible. Perhaps I‘m not as familiar with the Bible as I might

be, but my minister has preached that mercy killing is wrong. But now my evidence changes

because my mother is incurably ill and in terrible pain, she has asked me to help her die. I love

my mother. It seems that the merciful thing to do is to help her to die. Do I abandon my God

based assumption and become self-centered because I want my mother to rest in peace? Do I

search the Bible for new evidence that would show me that mercy killing is not against the


Scriptures that have been basic to my life? Maybe there is other self centered evidence. My

mother has now used up the five million dollar maximum on her health insurance. If I

mortgage my house I can buy another month of hospital care, but I had planned to re-finance

my house to pay for my children‘s college educations. And remember, my mother wants me to
help her die. She would definitely disapprove of my taking her grandchildren‘s legacy to pay
for more life that she doesn‘t want. Do I ‗accidentally‘ remove her breathing tube? Do I allow

an air bubble to enter her bloodstream through one of her intravenous tubes? Do I simply give

a ‗do not resuscitate‘ order? Do I ask a doctor to give her more than the normal dose of

morphine? Do I leave her to the hospital‘s care, letting it absorb the costs? But what if the

hospital sues me for the money?

―Here we have my self-centered feelings versus what I believe to be a God based conflict.

But often societal values are also important. Most of the greatest conflicts are between the self-

centered values that I want right now and the other values, such as self-centered future values

or God or society values.

―A survey of American physicians indicated that the majority felt that it is ethically

permissible to explain their moral objections to patients regarding contraception, abortion and

euthanasia. Over 80% said that they felt they should explain all of the options to the patient,

but 30% would not refer a patient to another physician who did not share his or her moral

beliefs. Being male or religious was more likely to reduce the chances of the patient being told

all the options or of being referred to a doctor who shared the patient‘s point of view.(44)

People who use God based assumptions believe that they are infinitely superior to self-centered

and society-based values. The problem is that religious values are not universally held.

Buddhist values differ from Jewish values, Christian values of one Christian vary from that of

another equally devout Christian, Muslims differ among themselves. And of course the values

of some atheists will be identical to values held by some religious believers. If all Christians

believed the same, or if all Muslims believed the same, we might be able to formulate a code of

ethics for that group of believers. But while most will agree on not murdering, just look at

Muslims in Iraq killing other Muslims with bombs; look at Israeli Jews killing Palestinian non-

combatives or Lebanese non-combative women and children. Or look at the good Christians

who shoot Christian doctors who provide legal abortions or good Christian Ku Klux Klansmen

who burn down Christian churches and kill Christians of a different color.

―A few years ago a fatwa was issued against a female tennis player who was a Muslim

because she wore short skirts, but no fatwa was issued against al Zarwari‘s killing of Shi‘ite


children or adults in the suicide bombing missions he ordered in Iraq. Should someone of

authority prioritize religious values for every sect?

―People who believe strongly in their ideas of God based values will not accept the

societal assumptions that the society must be based on a constitution and on a government of

laws, because their concepts are superior to society‘s ideas of laws.‖

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