1

Can God create a situation in which a Christian has to face a moral dilemma and go for "the lesser sin"? (I.e. to choose the smaller evil) Or should the Christian look for a third alternative that he/she cannot see at that time, to do only good?

In Bible is written that the will of God for a life of a Christian is to abstain from every kind of evil.

But in life there are moral dilemmas..

Here is Google's definition of a dilemma: "a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, especially ones that are equally undesirable"

1
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Ken Graham
    Sep 24 at 21:10
2

I think there are three suppositions that the bible lays down that help us think properly about sin.

First, the Bible treats sin as something indwelling in us. We are too easily drawn into sin from situations that do not force it.

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (Jas 1:13–15). NIV

Second, in almost any situation we can find a way out and in terms of situations the Bible says:

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. ((1 Co 10:12–13). NIV

Third, we must acknowledge that we actually sin every day, if not every hour, or minute. Nobody loves God perfectly and we must pray each day:

11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, s but deliver us from the evil one.’ ((Mt 6:11–13) NIV

In conclusion the common need to choose the lesser of two evil situations, does not justify choosing to sin less than our other sinful desire. However, if we have fallen into a lesser sin, we must not imagine for a second that this means its just as bad as doing the greater sin – God forbid! In this sense, yes, it is far better to only fall under a smaller sin and get back up, knowing we are forgiven by faith and therefore avoid the bigger sin that tempted us also.

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1 Pe 5:8–10). NIV

1

What is Christianity’s view on moral dilemmas?

What is a moral dilemma, in the first place?

Moral dilemmas are situations in which the decision-maker must consider two or more moral values or duties but can only honor one of them; thus, the individual will violate at least one important moral concern, regardless of the decision. A distinction between real and false dilemmas. The former are situations in which the tension is between moral values or duties that are, more or less, on equal footing. In a real dilemma, the choice is between a wrong and another, roughly equal wrong. The latter are situations in which the decision-maker has a moral duty to act in one way but is tempted or pressured to act in another way. In a false dilemma, the choice is actually between a right and a wrong. - Moral Dilemmas

This question reminds me of the chapter within the Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 3, On Calling the Brethren for Counsel:

On Calling the Brethren for Counsel

Whenever any important business has to be done in the monastery, let the Abbot call together the whole community and state the matter to be acted upon. Then, having heard the brethren’s advice, let him turn the matter over in his own mind and do what he shall judge to be most expedient. The reason we have said that all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best.

Let the brethren give their advice with all the deference required by humility, and not presume stubbornly to defend their opinions; but let the decision rather depend on the Abbot’s judgment, and all submit to whatever he shall decide for their welfare.

However, just as it is proper for the disciples to obey their master, so also it is his function to dispose all things with prudence and justice.

In all things, therefore, let all follow the Rule as guide, and let no one be so rash as to deviate from it. Let no one in the monastery follow his own heart’s fancy; and let no one presume to contend with his Abbot in an insolent way or even outside of the monastery. But if anyone should presume to do so, let him undergo the discipline of the Rule. At the same time, the Abbot himself should do all things in the fear of God and in observance of the Rule, knowing that beyond a doubt he will have to render an account of all his decisions to God, the most just Judge. But if the business to be done in the interests of the monastery be of lesser importance, let him take counsel with the seniors only. It is written, “Do everything with counsel, and you will not repent when you have done it.”

This it makes common sense that whenever and if possible, moral dilemmas should only be made, after having taken into account the council of all other possible professional, before making a decision. Nevertheless, some decisions must be made with little to no time to take into account the council of others. During a battle, decisions must be made in an urgent manner in order to safeguard the troops and if possible gain a victory. It not an easy affair to unravel.

There are by far too many possible scenarios to deal with; so how does a Christian deal with the subject matter of moral dilemmas? Here follows a very basic outline to aid one in making a decision on some moral dilemma:

A lot of teaching on business ethics is built around exploring significant case studies and is developed in response to profound moral dilemmas; in particular, the challenges that come when important principles clash and seem to point towards different solutions. The attempt to address such problems tends to start with emphasizing the importance of developing a method for moral reasoning in the face of such challenges. Such a model usually emphasizes the importance of considering relevant rules and calculating likely outcomes with the aim of comparing and weighing these to discern the best option for action in that particular context. The emphasis on virtue and character in this case relates primarily to making sure that enough motivation and resolve is found to ensure that appropriate action results.

The sort of method that is recommended usually looks something like this:

  1. Gather all the relevant facts.

  2. Clarify the key ethical issues.

  3. Identify rules and principles relevant for the case.

  4. Consult the important sources of guidance — especially the Bible, with sensitivity to the best way of reading the Bible to address this situation. But also consult other relevant sources.

  5. Ask for help from others in your community who know you and the situation. This will help you avoid self-deception and paying too much attention to your particular biases.

  6. List all the alternative courses of action.

  7. Compare the alternatives with the principles.

  8. Calculate the likely results of each course of action and consider the consequences. Consider your decision prayerfully before God. Make your decision and act on it.

  9. Create systems and practices that shape the organization/society’s character, so that it tends to do what you have determined is right as a matter of course.

  10. Find ways to continuously practice the activities inherent in doing what is right, as you have determined.

Solving Major Moral Dilemmas Theology of Work

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.