Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The Moral Consequences of Your Decisions
In response to: Being Wealthy Is Not Ungodly
When you have the power to alleviate suffering and chose not to do so is that acting with Christen charity? I don't think it is so easy to dismiss the contrast of a duty to your fellow man and your choice to live lavishly. Those choices should be taken with care and consideration. I strongly feel we in the USA are far to uncaring about the suffering of our fellow man. It is far too easy to isolate yourself and pretend you can't do anything, or that it isn't your concern.
Those are perfectly valid choices. But, I think it is much more difficult to say those are perfectly valid choice for a Christian to make. Christianity has great variation and there certainly are those that do not believe there is anything wrong with essentially not caring about human suffering you could address if you chose to. To me that is stretching the meaning of Christianity quite a bit but that is certainly people's right.
It is no fun to think that I could save people's lives if I just lived a simple life and didn't indulge. But that is the actual fact. You can chose to save people's lives or chose to live as we do in the USA, very lavishly. I make that choice myself. I give to charity but I could give much more if I just chose to do so. I just don't. That is a selfish choice that as a person I am entitled to make. But it is fraught with moral consequences.
In the USA we tend to want to avoid the stark consequences our actions have. When you are rich (and at least 60% of the USA is, probably much more, but I'll be generous - yes those in the USA don't feel that way, but that is mainly a sign of how much they believe the world owes them) you have the ability to help. Which is great, it is nice to have what you need and the ability to splurge on yourself or help others. But it also means you have to accept the moral consequences of your decisions. And it isn't some simple game. People die because of your decision. People suffer greatly because you chose not to help.
It is your right to make that decision. It is not your right to do so without accepting the moral consequences of the decision. And since I understand Christianity a bit better than other religions I know there is plenty of reason to question whether neglecting others to indulge yourself is acting as a Christian should. Christianity expects good acts, not just the avoidance of bad acts. Therefore, choosing to bypass the opportunity to help is not free from consequences. And morally, outside the Christen perspective, I don't see how you can avoid the consequences of your decisions. You have the right to chose. And your actions will show what you value (helping people in need, or say a new HDTV). You may want to pretend you are not deciding but the consequence of your being rich enough to decide is you are responsible for the choice you make.
Related: They Will Know We are Christians By Our Love - Super Spoiled Brats - Giving More Than Money to Charity - You Can Help Reduce Extreme Poverty - High School Team Project to Provide Clean Water - Appropriate Technology - Financial Thanksgiving