The Theist Dilemma
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13-02-2014, 01:34 AM
RE: The Theist Dilemma
(13-02-2014 12:04 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I would immediately be suspicious of my friend in such a situation. If he is so intent on suicide, why is he cooking a meal, and why has he forgotten to purchase ammunition? When one is intent upon death, food is not so helpful as ammunition. He may very well believe that death is god's will, but he doesn't seem to be fully committed to suicide. He is obviously seriously mentally unstable.

I would not remove the bullet from the pistol. It is not my responsibility to make such an important choice on behalf of my friend. His life is his own, to dispose of or live out as he chooses.

In either case, whether obviously suicidal or just plainly mentally unstable, I think that the moral imperative is still to remove that threat until such a time as your friend can think clearly about such things. A bullet to the temple is a terrible answer to a chemical imbalance in the brain.


(13-02-2014 12:04 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  Even if I imagine myself, for a moment, to be his superior in good sense and moral judgement, enough to take the bullet from his gun, is he now stripped of means to end his life? Could he leap from a bridge, or cut his own wrists or throat? Could he overdose on pills or throw himself into a busy intersection? How much power over my friend's decisions do I really hold? It appears that the god who seems bent on his demise has assisted him in obedience by means of granting freedom of choice. If this supposed deity does not see fit to curtail his freedom for his own benefit, how can I presume to do so?

From the view of a potential theist? This is a test not just for your friend, but for you as well. It would be very easy to then frame anything you did to help your friend and prevent his potential suicide as a part of 'god's plan', even if you leave the bullet in the gun. How many others would blame that 'leave the bullet in the gun' voice on Satan to create a cognitive loophole?

From the view of a potential atheist? Fuck what he or I think god said, he's my friend and I care about him; and I don't want to lose him. It's a simple combination of empathy and selfishness.


(13-02-2014 12:04 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I cannot help but ask myself in such a situation, what right do I hold to restrain a person in this life, when he so vehemently desires its ending? Am I to make private judgement upon his decision, without knowing if it is well thought out, or reasoned at all? Some may say that contemplating suicide is a sign of an unstable mind. To that I say that this is an unstable world, and there are worse things than mere death. Which of us would not end our own misery rather than live through agony at all hours of the day? If we knew we were destined for the grotesque tortures of the famous Inquisition, followed by death, with utterly no possible means of escape, would we not rather hang ourselves from the bars of a cell, than live to experience it? Who am I to judge the life of another, when I do not know what horrors await him should he return home, rather than ending his life. Perhaps someone this very moment is experiencing the ravaging pain of cancer, knowing full well the reality of impending destruction. What am I to say to such a person regarding his desire for the agony to cease? "No no. You are not sound of mind. Stay here and suffer a while longer." The whole affair be damned. I will do no such thing. The bullet can remain in the pistol until it is put to one use or another.

Without additional evidence that is not provided by the example, I still think the moral decision is to protect your friend from himself; if it indeed appears that your friend has a potential to do harm to himself. I agree that given the proper circumstances, such as suffering from terminal cancer, that a clean death may be preferable to a continued life of pain and suffering. However this information simply isn't provided in the example he's asking us to work with. I agree however there there are all sorts of shades of grey, and that in a similar real life scenario, the answer may not be anywhere near as easy to come by; nor our decisions nearly as easy to live with.

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13-02-2014, 01:50 AM
RE: The Theist Dilemma
Quote:A friend of yours lives alone and invites you over to have a serious discussion.
You discover your friend is suicidal and has a revolver on his bedside table with one bullet in it.

You both discuss the gun and you find out that he purchased it at a gun show today, but forgot to buy bullets. When he arrived home, he discovered the gun had a single bullet in it.
That was when he called you.

He says to you "That single bullet seems to be a sign from god that my death is all part of his plan"
He then leaves the room to check on some food cooking in the oven.

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13-02-2014, 03:49 AM (This post was last modified: 13-02-2014 03:55 AM by Mathilda.)
RE: The Theist Dilemma
I wouldn't frigging touch the gun. I wouldn't want any of my DNA or fingerprints on it and it wouldn't do any good anyway. After all, he's been alive all this time he could easily go out the next day and buy some bullets. Removing the bullet is not going to change anything.

On the other hand, I would stay there to offer support. Having been suicidal myself in the past I don't actually see suicide as a bad thing per se. But I don't like to see people suffer and I'd feel that I would be able to help in that situation. I wouldn't come out with the usual platitudes that I had to put up with when I was suicidal because I know that they don't work. I would be aware though that their brains are very narrowly focused on certain aspects of their lives and would try to give them a more balanced perspective.

All the other stuff about the burglar is irrelevant because you cannot know at the time that his house will get robbed.
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13-02-2014, 06:28 AM
RE: The Theist Dilemma
(12-02-2014 09:15 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  A friend of yours lives alone and invites you over to have a serious discussion.
You discover your friend is suicidal and has a revolver on his bedside table with one bullet in it.

You both discuss the gun and you find out that he purchased it at a gun show today, but forgot to buy bullets. When he arrived home, he discovered the gun had a single bullet in it.
That was when he called you.

He says to you "That single bullet seems to be a sign from god that my death is all part of his plan"
He then leaves the room to check on some food cooking in the oven.

While he is gone, do you take the bullet from the gun ?
Yep. Not much of a dilemma. Took me less than a second to make a decision.
Quote:Whichever choice you make, how did you arrive at the decision you made ?
I don't want my friend to shoot himself. Pretty simple.

Quote:If you take the bullet from the gun, you discover the next day that a robber had broken into your friends house and killed him.

If you leave the bullet in the gun, you discover the next day that your friend committed suicide by shooting himself with the gun.

How do you decide what is the morally right thing to do ?
Is it morally right to leave a bullet in a gun with a person who is suicidal ?
Is it morally right to remove a bullet from a gun when it could be that person's only means of self defense if there should be a robbery ?
How is this a dilemma specific to theists?

If an atheist takes the bullet and the friend is killed by the robber, does the atheist say, "That's too bad, but since I'm an atheist it doesn't really bother me"?
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13-02-2014, 07:03 AM
RE: The Theist Dilemma
(13-02-2014 06:28 AM)alpha male Wrote:  
(12-02-2014 09:15 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  A friend of yours lives alone and invites you over to have a serious discussion.
You discover your friend is suicidal and has a revolver on his bedside table with one bullet in it.

You both discuss the gun and you find out that he purchased it at a gun show today, but forgot to buy bullets. When he arrived home, he discovered the gun had a single bullet in it.
That was when he called you.

He says to you "That single bullet seems to be a sign from god that my death is all part of his plan"
He then leaves the room to check on some food cooking in the oven.

While he is gone, do you take the bullet from the gun ?
Yep. Not much of a dilemma. Took me less than a second to make a decision.
Quote:Whichever choice you make, how did you arrive at the decision you made ?
I don't want my friend to shoot himself. Pretty simple.

Quote:If you take the bullet from the gun, you discover the next day that a robber had broken into your friends house and killed him.

If you leave the bullet in the gun, you discover the next day that your friend committed suicide by shooting himself with the gun.

How do you decide what is the morally right thing to do ?
Is it morally right to leave a bullet in a gun with a person who is suicidal ?
Is it morally right to remove a bullet from a gun when it could be that person's only means of self defense if there should be a robbery ?
How is this a dilemma specific to theists?

If an atheist takes the bullet and the friend is killed by the robber, does the atheist say, "That's too bad, but since I'm an atheist it doesn't really bother me"?


You conveniently left out a bit...

Quote:If you say that you prayed to god to give you the answer, then I'm going to tell you that god replies with "Leave the bullet in the gun".

So if you pulled a WLC and your self authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit told you to leave the bullet in the gun, would you really defy the voice in your head that you interpreted as the expression of your God's will?

That's what appears to be the crux of the thought experiment.

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13-02-2014, 08:14 AM
RE: The Theist Dilemma
Thank you all for some really great replies.

The reason I called this a theist dilemma is because I wanted to get to the root of how a theist makes a moral decision.
When a theist is conflicted about a choice to make, do they pray and get an answer or like the rest of us, do they consider for themselves what the best course of action they can take given the available information.

There are some theists out there who see every death as part of god's plan and feel that interfering and attempting to prevent a death is going against god's plan. From this point of view, can you really say that this kind of person has any morals at all ?

So, as a theist, if you are considering all aspects of the situation and then making the best decision you can, then your morals are coming from you. If you are only listening to the voice in your head that you call god, then you have become a puppet, losing all empathy and accepting whatever happens as all part of god's plan. The choices you make are no longer rational. You have given up your free will in favor of doing what the voice in your head wants you to do.

Life choices can be difficult at times, especially when it comes to choices involving a life or death situation.
Some situations in life are unforeseeable and that's part of the attraction to believing in a god because you then believe that you have access to future knowledge, that you have access to a good source of information that will lead you to making the best choice possible.
But when the results of all that future knowledge, that you thought you had access to, didn't go the way you wanted, you then make up reasons in your head like "god is mysterious and it all happened the way god wanted".

I like the responses that said they would take the bullet out of the gun and also take the gun, staying with their friend over night.
If something unforeseeable should happen like a person breaking into the house, then you have that protection with you.

I also liked Dark Phoenix's reply with "I would not remove the bullet from the pistol. It is not my responsibility to make such an important choice on behalf of my friend. His life is his own, to dispose of or live out as he chooses."

Theists, are you making your own choices with your own free will based on the information you have at hand or are you shaking an imaginary crazy 8 ball that you think has infinite wisdom ?

http://www.indra.com/8ball/front.html

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13-02-2014, 08:35 AM
RE: The Theist Dilemma
I don't see how there is a dilemma here -_-

No one on his right mind would leave a suicidal person alone with a GUN!

Dreams/Hallucinations/delusions are not evidence
Wishful thinking is not evidence
Disproved statements&Illogical conclusions are not evidence
Logical fallacies&Unsubstantiated claims are not evidence
Vague prophecies is not evidence
Data that requires a certain belief is not evidence
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13-02-2014, 08:36 AM
RE: The Theist Dilemma
I find it hilarious (and good) that both theists ignored this line:
If you say that you prayed to god to give you the answer, then I'm going to tell you that god replies with "Leave the bullet in the gun".

Sounds like god's creatures are starting to question his morality...

If Jesus died for our sins, why is there still sin? If man was created from dust, why is there still dust? If Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?
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13-02-2014, 09:00 AM
RE: The Theist Dilemma
(13-02-2014 08:36 AM)guitar_nut Wrote:  I find it hilarious (and good) that both theists ignored this line:
If you say that you prayed to god to give you the answer, then I'm going to tell you that god replies with "Leave the bullet in the gun".

Sounds like god's creatures are starting to question his morality...
I didn't ignore this line. I replied that "it doesn't matter what YOU say". I don't need to pray to God for ah answer in this case. I already know the answer.
I would pray IF I didn't know the answer.

English is not my native language.
that awkward moment between the Premortal Existence and your Resurrection
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13-02-2014, 09:04 AM
RE: The Theist Dilemma
(13-02-2014 12:37 AM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  
(12-02-2014 09:15 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  If you say that you prayed to god to give you the answer, then I'm going to tell you that god replies with "Leave the bullet in the gun".
(12-02-2014 09:23 PM)Alla Wrote:  It doesn't matter what YOU say.

Alla here, serves as yet another example of one of the many annoyances of discussing anything with a Theist, the inability to understand or tolerate the hypothetical. It is impossible to miss the irony of her outrage at what she would deem to be speaking for god, when one realizes that the source of the hypothetical answer to prayer is god himself.

(12-02-2014 09:15 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  If you say that you prayed to god to give you the answer, then I'm going to tell you that god replies with "Leave the bullet in the gun".

She is, yet again, like a child having a tantrum while being too ignorant to notice that she has already got her way. All of this is presented in her usual tedious style, with randomly capitalized words to emphasize the most meaningless portions of its squalid drivel.

It is fortunate that she is here to remind us all of our arrogance for presuming the mind of god, otherwise we might not care to notice when she promptly presumes his mind, his plan, and all of our roles within it. Never mind our rigid adherence to logic, which requires us to begin with bullshit the religious have provided on the nature of god. Our reasonable desire for celestial consistency is simply too much for her to bear. She might approve better if we all plunged our hands deep into our asses to locate anything we might wish to use as god's revelation to us. At the very least, the quality of our claims would match her own, in origin, and in practice.

It is always a pleasure to witness the legendary humility and meekness of Christians. Only the truly humble seem able to cast aside the motivations and ideas of others, with the ridiculous claim that they, and only they, have rights to such ideas. Their word goes, and the words of others are meaningless. In case of emergency, should this charade be questioned, we hear, "It is not I who makes all that I say true, but my imaginary friend here, who you cannot see, who is bent upon your servitude to him, or destruction and torture. You had best do as he says, by doing what I say."

It is with ease, and it is a pleasure, that I point out the obvious to Alla. It doesn't matter what you say. It matters how you back it up. You have proven yourself quite unable in that regard.
I wish you all the best. And I hope you won't continue to fall more than you already did, Dark P.

English is not my native language.
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