On Mon, 25 Feb 2002 10:30:22 -0800 Adrian Teo <email@example.com>
I have to be very careful here so as not to be misunderstood. What I find
inconsistent is your apparent reluctance to apply the bible as a guide
for moral decisions, and yet at the same time arguing that your view is
not unChristian, and perhaps also implying that it is more Christian. I
don't mean to imply that you are not a Christian and I have no reason to
doubt that you are, but I do think that there is a fundamental
inconsistency in your thought process. Both Christian tradition and
Scriptures are agreed on the evil of human death and the necessity to
protect the weakest among us, but you deny both. Perhaps one could make a
case as you do, that the notion of the sanctity of life cannot be derive
solely from the Bible, but the major councils of Christianity have always
taught that, or at least, have never denied that life is an absolutely
precious gift from God. Sure, Christians historically have acted in ways
contrary to this understanding, but then Christians are susceptible to
sin just like any one else. I am not a biblical literalist as well, but
neither do I reject the authority of the bible.
Perhaps you wish to enlighten all of us about your basis for making moral
I think you are misunderstanding Lucy. She is not advocating euthanasia.
She is rather noting that the effects of actions need to be considered.
You have called this "consequentialism" and consider it wicked. But I
note it as a sensible approach. For a simple illustration, I note the
current medical approach to prostate cancer among seniors. It can
certainly be treated surgically, with chemo or with radiation--x-ray or
implantation. But now doctors usually refrain from treatment, for they
recognize that most of these cancers are so slow growing that the patient
will succumb to something else long before the cancer becomes a danger.
They do watch to be certain that the cancer is not one of the relatively
few that grow rapidly, but they no longer rush to excision as they once
did. They view the consequences.
Lucy is saying that we need to consider the consequences of our
"remedies" for social ills. Had we done so earlier, the problems produced
by liberal welfare provisions would have been avoided. We would have
recognized the problems of closing down institutions for the mentally ill
and avoided a great deal of homelessness. A look at consequences will
recognize that the rapid increase in population in third-world countries
makes it impossible to raise capital rapidly enough to maintain their
standard of living, let alone raise it. Further, the end will be famine,
for there is no possibility of distributing enough food to the
exponentially growing populations. What will produce new problems or
exacerbate current difficulties needs to be considered. In other words,
the way we look ahead in planning our lives needs also to be applied in
our stewardship of the earth and its population.
It looks to me as though your substitute for Lucy's view is
sentimentalism. You are determined that you not only do not want to cause
immediate pain but you also want to do away with any current pain, even
through the long term results will be greater pain. This is like saying,
"I won't let them inoculate my child because the injection makes him cry.
I can add to the diagnosis of your problem myopia and tunnel vision.
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