How I ethically break things down
When it comes to the way I think things through as I go through my life, there is a series of questions I go through often without even realizing it. Usually when met with an ethical decision, I immediately ask myself one question: As a Christian, what would God say about the decision I am about to make? I grew up in the church and have been taught Christianity all my life but I feel as if this question has become the first thing I ask myself more recently and I feel like this is because of a maturity in faith that comes with growing up. Because of my leading question when making decisions, I would say divine command theory is my main ethical system.
Though my God has a major impact in my life, I do not stop there. Often times, though I honestly wish it was not this way, I really care what other people think, this is probably because of the way culture has impacted me. Because I care what other people think, I will often ask "but what will people think of me if I do this? Will they be impressed or disappointed?" I am the type of person who wants to be an example for others, I want to be a "guardian" or someone that people can look at and say "that is a great person, I want to be like him", and I am afraid that this drive in me is from personal pride.
After asking myself what other people will think of me, I will often ask what will happen to me personally as well as others based on the decision I make. I use this form of utilitarianism because I am the type of person who wants to please everyone, I want everyone to be content with anything I can control. I cannot stand fighting or confrontation so I will often make a decision that makes the most people happy, and this question in many ways ties back to my previous question of what will people think of me because I feel as though the more people happy with me, the better the decision.
If when making a decision I have asked the previous questions and just can't decide what to do, I will often either ask my self what my dad would do, or I might even go straight to my dad and ask him directly. My dad has been a steady rock all my life and I have always admired his ability to handle situations, it is like he always knows the right thing to say at the right time so when questions get tough and I really need help, he is my go to.
The final question I will often ask is if the decision I am about make is even allowed, most situations in my life don't really require a question like this because I have never really had to make a major decision that was against the law or any major rules. This question is also often times answered indirectly in previous questions that I ask myself so more times than not I do not have to ask myself "is this legal?" separately.
The John Situation
Upon reading the ethical scenario with John, my mind went through a series of ethical questions, here is how I approached my decision on whether Johns decision was ethical or not. First, after reading I asked how my God would look at this decision and was immediately torn. In the Bible, it is one of the Ten Commandments not to steal but John stole so off the bat I would say it's wrong to do what John did but then I started to think about how in the Bible God tells us of how husbands are supposed to take care of and protect their wives and families, so even though John did break one of the Ten Commandments, he did so motivated by taking care of his wife, which my God said to do.
After being so torn on what God would say to do, I then asked what people would think about John if they found out that he stole the medicine. In my opinion, majority of people that hear the full story and know why John did what he did will understand and will respect Johns decision. Though I know there would be some that would be against the decision to steal and would think down on John, most would either not let the decision to steal affect how they look at John or it will give them a respect for him that they did not have before.
After looking at these questions, I am left with the question what about the druggist? He is obviously not going to be happy so what do I do about that? Since I want to make everyone happy it's hard for me to look over the fact that though most will not be affected negatively by the decision to steal the medicine, one person will be directly affected badly. I also believe that though the story ends with John stealing the drug, the story cannot just stop there, I believe John must eventually pay the druggist back when he gets enough money so that the druggist is not as badly directly affected as before.
In situations like these, the step of putting myself into one of my role models shoes helps greatly. For example, when I replace this decision from Johns decision to my dads decision, I honestly see my dad doing the same thing John did. I feel like if the sick woman was my mom and John was my dad, there is no way my dad would not do whatever it takes to save my mom, so in that sense, I believe Johns decision was not ethically wrong.
The final question I asked was if Johns decision was legal or not, like I said in an earlier essay, this question is often indirectly looked at in previous questions and this case is the same way. I do realize that stealing is against the law, but after asking all the questions I have already asked, if I have acquired enough moral knowledge that is for the decision that is against the law, I will have to say that my beliefs are greater than the law. At the end of the day, I believe John made a moral decision.