moral accountability

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Helen, Jan 16, 2004.

  1. Helen

    Helen
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    I am curious about something: if a human being is in a position where he is able to save the life of another human being, without endangering his own in any way, and if he is the only one around capable of saving that life, or maybe the only one around period,

    and if he refuses to save that life, and instead watches the man drown, or burn to death, or whatever,

    is that man morally accountable for his action? Is he guilty of a type of murder?
     
  2. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Could we please get to the bottom line and let us know what in the world this has to do with the Calvinism / Arminianism debate?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  3. Helen

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    Joseph, let me do this one step at a time.

    Humor me.

    It will have relevance, OK?
     
  4. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Ok, I'll play...

    IMO, Morally, yes to both questions. Legally, I have no idea. Biblically, it would be interesting to know.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  5. Joseph_Botwinick

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    And now, your point is...?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  6. Helen

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    There are two main ways this can go. Here is the first:

    1. The drowning (or otherwise dying) person was predestined to die at that time and in that way. Is the other person now guilty?
     
  7. Joseph_Botwinick

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    The obvious Biblical Flaw is that you are assuming that MAN can save a person's eternal soul. It is God who saves us, not man.

    If, on the other hand, you are questioning God's justice in sending one to Hell, that is something you will have to take up with him. I'd be careful though. God doesn't take too kindly to having people without wisdom accuse him of being unjust. Just ask Job.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  8. Helen

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    You are presuming on me, Joseph. I am not talking about either a man's soul or God. I am talking about moral accountability, man and man. If the drowning man has been predestined to die by drowning on that day and at that time, is the potential rescuer then guilty of some kind of murder in allowing him to die?

    Human life in the body -- not talking about the soul and not talking about hell and not talking about God directly (only implied as the author of predestination, but not part of the moral argument here).
     
  9. Joseph_Botwinick

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    OK. Remind me then what this has to do with the Calvinism / Arminianism Debate. Are you sure this doesn't belong in General Discussions?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  10. Helen

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    No, Joseph. For if a man is predestined for something, and that predestination is of God, then that predestination is good. Therefore someone who would even attempt to interfere with that predestined act is attempting to thwart God's will and therefore is doing something wrong and sinning.

    And yet you, as all of us probably would have, have claimed that the man who would refuse to rescue was morally accountable as some kind of murderer, and murder is a direct violation of the Ten Commandments.

    So what does the Calvinist do with this?
     
  11. Joseph_Botwinick

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    1. My original response was to a question which had no mention of predestination in it, and therefore has nothing to do with your last post.

    2. I did not give a Biblical opinion. I gave my personal, worldly, human opinion. If you have something from Scripture to share, I am all eyes.

    3. God is soveriegn and his will is always done one way or the other. When it is my time to go, I will go no matter how hard you may or may not try to save me. My life is in God's hands, exactly where it should be left.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  12. Helen

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    I would presume that, as a Calvinist, you would assume complete sovereignty of God. Therefore, in setting up the scenario, I offered a situation which could easily occur and in which we would condemn a man who did not go to the rescue of the other. I then asked a moral question about his decision.

    Why should your moral judgment of such a situation differ in any way from a biblically-based moral judgment as you are a Christian?

    It is not a matter of whether or not I could save it, Joseph, but a matter of whether or not I would have a moral obligation to try. In your previous answer you stated that yes, the man had a moral obligation to save, or at least try to save, the life of the other. My life is also in God's hands, but I would deeply appreciate it if I were drowning if someone tried to save me! I would even grab onto that saving device and try to save my own life! It's sort of an instinct, you know!


    Is your worldly, moral answer in the beginning then different from what God would have you choose? If so, then where did our idea of morality come from?
     
  13. gb93433

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    God in His sovereignty created man with a free will. There are some things God has chosen for that person and the rest he leaves up to that person. Man is free to not sin.
     
  14. Helen

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    There are some things God has chosen for that person and the rest he leaves up to that person.

    Can you elaborate on this a bit? Thanks.
     
  15. Yelsew

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    Seems to me the story of the Good Samaritan holds the answer to your delemma.
     
  16. russell55

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    Okay. So far, so good. Every determination of God is for good purposes.

    But none of us know what God has predestined, do we? If we don't know what God wills to happen in any given situation, how can we attempt to thwart it?

    And he is indeed morally accountable for not trying to intervene and save the person's life. He didn't refuse to help because he was trying to do God's will, did he? He refused to help because he was indifferent to the plight of another person. He refused to help because he did not love his neighbor as himself.

    The very same thing the scriptures do with Christ's death. Christ's death occured exactly according to God's plan. It occured exactly when God determined it would happen. At the same time, those who worked to cause his death, along with those who did not intervene were all accountable for their role in his death.
     
  17. Helen

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    Ok, I understand that response; it makes sense to me. Let me ask another question:

    A number of Calvinist/Reformed writers have stated that God's sovereignty means He controls everything: every action, every movement of a leaf, everything. Is this what the Calvinists here hold to?
     
  18. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Do you not believe that Helen?

    Yes, I believe that God is in ultimate control of everything.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  19. Helen

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    Everything you do and say, Joseph? Is it all at HIS determination?
     
  20. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Helen,

    Is God or is he not Soveriegn? Is he or is he not in control?

    Joseph Botwinick
     

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