Ethics as Unenforceable Obligations – The Importance of Being Good for Nothing

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(Presentation for the service on Sunday 17 October, 2010 by Geoff Matthews.)

Taken from the ‘Building Your Own Theology’, I led the group in developing a list of eleven ethical statements from their individual perspective and as a fellowship.  This was a fairly easy exercise.

Then as a group, I facilitated them individually and then in pairs, reviewing a case study of an ethical and moral dilemma – a husband and wife who in the US decide to have another child, against the husband’s initial  wishes, so that the child the wife bears will have a 70% chance of having compatible bone marrow with their teenage daughter who has a terminal disease.

We then considered this dilemma as a group in relation to the ethical statements we had developed and in response to several questions.  Generally the group agreed with the actions of the parents.  The problem certainly generated some interesting discussion.

The exercise  brought out the fact that developing the ethical statements is not that difficult, but when considering them in connection with an ethical and/or moral dilemma that we may face at times in our lives, the decision/s can be quite difficult and sometimes compromises have to be made.