Here is the third in the three part series on ethical systems and moral dilemmas. In this section, we were to analyze the four case studies according to our own ethical systems and our position on moral dilemmas. We were also to answer the following questions:
- Is this situation an actual moral dilemma? Why or why not?
- What duty/duties are involved in this situation, and how does one know?
- Is this situation a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils, the greater of two goods, or something else? Why?
- Did the person act rightly or wrongly in this situation? Why?
- What role do consequences play in deciding whether what was done in this situation is right or wrong?
Susan, a student in your youth ministry asks if she can speak to you. She has something she wants to tell you, but she makes you promise not to tell anyone. Without thinking, you quickly give your word to Susan. She tells you that Emily, another student in your youth group is experimenting with drugs. Susan want to help Emily, but does not know how. Emily is aware that Susan knows of her drug use and has made it clear to her that if Susan tells anyone, their friendship is over. Susan needs you to trust her. Emily is the senior pastor’s daughter. Do you keep confidentiality with Susan and try to help her help Susan? Do you break confidentiality (your promise) and talk to Emily and/or her parents? What do you do and why?
Michael comes to you for counseling. Michael desires therapy for a condition that is easily diagnosed and for which, through a series of sessions, you could help him. The problem is that his condition is not covered by his insurance. He seriously desired help. A possible solution is to “diagnose” him with a condition that will be covered by insurance (falsify his record), so that you can treat him for his actual condition. What do you do and why?
You have just been called to be senior pastor at
You are on the mission field in
This woman acted rightly, choosing the lesser of two evils. On one side is Paul’s urging to the Corinthians about not marrying unbelievers (2Cor 6:14, 1Cor 7:39). If she had no children, she should not submit to marrying a non-Christian clan member. On the other side is the emphasis throughout scripture to raise one’s children in the knowledge of the Lord (e.g. Dt 6:7, Eph 6:4). If she chose not to submit to marriage in the clan, she would not “defile” herself, but she would also have no influence on her children. Her duty is to her children; their good comes before her own good. 1Cor 7:12-16 also has bearing. This passage refers to couples already married when one of them becomes a believer and that believer choosing to stay in the marriage with the hope of influencing the spouse and having continuing influence on the children. This woman’s situation is similar, though not exactly analogous, because in her culture she does not actually have free choice—she is property.