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Christians - Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?

#1Izual_Reborn_Posted 6/8/2013 3:02:55 PM
What does the bible say on situations where tough decisions need to be made where a few may end up suffering so that the majority of people can live?

A hypothetical situation where there is a flood a coming and it is soon going to hit a bit city. Leaving the water to run it's natural course will cause many thousands of people to die. However you have the option of blowing up the local dam which will redirect the water through a small village. Doing so will save many thousands of people but also damn the people of that village to death.

What does the bible say on the options available?

My view on it is that according to the bible you should not take an action which will directly lead to the death of someone. Regardless of if that action would save other people. The idea being that the water hitting the city and killing the 1000s of people is just "bad luck" however if you decide to blow the dam you are making a conscious decision to kill those few people in the village.

Is my interpretation correct?

Also lets assume you have 2 minutes to make the choice and can't evacuate the village or city. Or to put it another way... no smartass answers please.
#2Polish_CrusaderPosted 6/8/2013 3:36:18 PM
This is a baited question. Im not sure if your trying to troll or not. But i will take the bait, just for entertainments sake.

Theres only three examples i can think of in scripture where something similar to this happened- first is with the great flood in genesis with noah building the ark and everyone giving him crap about it for building a giant boat in the desert. Second is with jonah and the almost destruction of Ninevah, where he preached to the people (almost the opposite reaction from genesis with the flood) in the book of jonah. Thirdly, the destruction of Sodom and gomorrah, when lot tried to save his daughters friends and they laughed at him right before they all burned to death (also genesis).


All 3 involved the destruction of massive cities. The first flood involved the whole world. All 3 involved somebody warning a large group of people of impending destruction coming their way. All 3 had completely different outcomes. The key similarity is that God always saves his people. Always.

I dont really have any examples as far as large numbers vs. small numbers. But i guess the best answer is- God always remembers his people. If god wanted people to get out, he would have told somebody to tell them to get out. Its just like the various stories on 9/11 about people having crazy things happen to them that prevented them from getting on those flights that crashed into the WTC. They had tickets for those planes. It happens all throughout history.

I know that didnt directly answer your question. But do you get what im sayin? Basically, God saves his people when they need to be saved.
#3Izual_Reborn_(Topic Creator)Posted 6/8/2013 4:14:22 PM
I know I said Bible but was hoping more for New Testament things rather than Old.

Thanks for the input though. Appreciated.
#4hamsandwich3141Posted 6/8/2013 5:03:38 PM
I'm not a Christian but this is basically the same idea. I think it makes for a good read.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem
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#5DarkContractorPosted 6/8/2013 5:47:30 PM
I don't think he was trying to make a baited question, he was just exploring a very common paralyzing ethical dilema in the context of the Bible.
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#6OrangeWizardPosted 6/8/2013 7:49:55 PM
I believe so. God sent Jesus to suffer so that all could have the prospect of everlasting life.
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#7countzanderPosted 6/8/2013 10:56:51 PM
Yep, this is just a variation on train/trolley wreck problem. There's a runaway train careening down the tracks at a tremendous velocity, and it will smear any hapless man or animal in the way. The engineers are all dead or whatever, you're in the engine, and you have a decision. Up ahead, there's a fork in the tracks, but on either rail, there are people. On the left, there's one guy who's tied to the rails. On the right, there are two people tied to the rails. You can either let the train go left or right. (Not making a decision is a choice.) Either way, someone will die. What do you do?

Treat other people the way you'd want to be treated. If you were the lone guy on the track, shouldn't you willingly give up your life so two others can live? Why selfishly allow two others to die just so you can live?
The lone guy is either selfish or he isn't. If he is selfish, he should be run over for demanding that his life is equal to two. If he's selfless, then he should be run over since he's offering.
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#8IndoriPosted 6/8/2013 11:17:09 PM
The go-to Catholic response to these is the Principle of Double Effect, which grew out of Aquinas' Summa, which provides some scriptural references (but probably not the kind that you're looking for).

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3064.htm#article7
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#9Polish_CrusaderPosted 6/9/2013 5:53:01 PM
DarkContractor posted...
I don't think he was trying to make a baited question, he was just exploring a very common paralyzing ethical dilema in the context of the Bible.


Fair enough. The point i was making was that there is no obvious reference in the bible to picking large group of lives over a small group. The lords salvation is for everybody. Its a silly question, tahts why i thought it was baited.
#10Izual_Reborn_(Topic Creator)Posted 6/10/2013 3:27:01 AM
Polish_Crusader posted...
DarkContractor posted...
I don't think he was trying to make a baited question, he was just exploring a very common paralyzing ethical dilema in the context of the Bible.


Fair enough. The point i was making was that there is no obvious reference in the bible to picking large group of lives over a small group. The lords salvation is for everybody. Its a silly question, tahts why i thought it was baited.


I don't like being accused of being a troll. That being said I forgive you.