Morality in the pursuit of one's health

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  1. profile image0
    jonnycomelatelyposted 9 years ago

    This new line of thought is in reference to a point raised by Deepes Mind in a Discussion raised by paarsurrey which concerned the advancement of health in "Believers."

    A highly technical piece of medical equipment might be needed to keep me alive in the face of a very serious illness.  Such equipment is extremely expensive to install and operate.
    A large number of people could be treated for much less serious, yet life-debilitating illness, for the same amount of money or less.
    I live in the same country as the latter.
    Do I decline the treatment which could prolong/save my life, if my duty as a christian is to consider others before myself?
    If I do decline it, then my own health might suffer.  If I accept the treatment it might mean another person suffers (at my own expense) (edited) for my gain. 

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      It has become popular to believe and behave as if there are unlimited funds for healthcare - that cost doesn't matter as long as we can keep people alive.

      An obvious fallacy as we don't have unlimited funds, but we still continue to act as if there were, and neither does it have anything to do with being Christian. 

      As far as being a dilemma, I guess if you can convince yourself that society always knows best there should be no dilemma at all.  We as a society can afford anything necessary to maintain your life, it is up to you to use it.

      1. profile image0
        jonnycomelatelyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Thank you

    2. manatita44 profile image80
      manatita44posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Well Bro,
      It all depends on viewpoints here. My Spiritual Teacher taught me that one perfect disciple could uplift the whole world!! We may not say that Nelson Mandela, Gandhi or Martin Luther King were perfect disciples, but we read the effect that they had on millions of people!! They could not have done this if they had surrendered to ill health and adversity in the interest of others.
      So firstly, the essence here is the inner value that one puts on one's life.
      Secondly, as a Christian I do not consider others before myself. Self first is very meaningful to me, not in the everyday sense but from the standpoint that I have to receive peace from God before I can serve others. If I do not have, then I cannot give. The spiritual law is always higher than the morale law. This is most important. So inner motive is essential here.
      Your argument is like the argument of non-violence. We cannot avoid killing. We kill so many microbes and tread on God knows what every day!! From my standpoint, the spiritual life is all about sincerity of purpose; inner motive or intent. Life is first governed by the spiritual then the moral and ethical. By dying on the Cross, millions were and are being inspired to serve God. Do you feel this will happen by refusing treatment on moral grounds because of an expensive machine?

      1. profile image0
        jonnycomelatelyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Thankyou for replying.  My questions might prove difficult for some to answer.
        In response to RJB, yes partly theoretical.  It does ultimately rest on personal intentions.
        I was also prompted by experience in East Africa 40 years ago.  A radiotherapy machine had been purchased which would, admittedly, have saved a relatively few lives. 
        At the same time I would see poor men, walking around with elephantiasis, a filariasis desease that causes the scrotum to become grossly extended.  A very embarrassing condition that causes the sufferer often to be ridiculed by his society.
        The cost of appointing a surgeon to treat him, return the size of his manhood to normal and permit him a respectful acceptance in the neighbourhood, would have been far less than the Cobalt machine and helped far more people.  But the radiotherapy machine was more impressive and gained better publicity.
        I worry about out sometimes selfish, unthinking and distorted demands.  And what is the "christian" ethical point of view?  I am not christian.

      2. EncephaloiDead profile image54
        EncephaloiDeadposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Either you have redefined words to suit an agenda or you really haven't defined anything new and are just tossing out a word salad. "Spiritual" has never been shown to exist, let alone 'spiritual law' which would explain why those who place it first and foremost above morals and ethics usually lack them.

        1. profile image0
          jonnycomelatelyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          EncephaloiDead, I might agree with you to some extent if your answer was not so generalising....

          1. EncephaloiDead profile image54
            EncephaloiDeadposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            We can see right here the folks that talk about spirituality more than anything else are the ones lacking morals and ethics.

    3. Cgenaea profile image60
      Cgenaeaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      The inner self (mind/spirit) decides. What does it say? As the earlier commenter stated, you cannot give of yourself if there is nothing to give. So, I would get my machine, if it were my scenario. But not if my spirit was against it. Every time I go against my spirit, I fail miserably and pay dearly.

      1. manatita44 profile image80
        manatita44posted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Thank you, Cgenaea.
        You see the picture. We are all instruments in His hands.

        1. Cgenaea profile image60
          Cgenaeaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          If we allow ourselves to be used. One thing that I love about God is that he allows us to decide. When we say yes to him, he begins the work in and through us. Thanks for your acknowledgment.

          1. profile image0
            jonnycomelatelyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            Always, your emphasis is on that "person outside of you," that you call "god."  It sounds like you are passing the buck onto someone else, because the "you" within you is inadequate to cope with reality.

            When it comes to the human ability/inability to cope with the reality of choice, "pass the buck."  Get "Him" to take the cup from you, "Me."

            On the one hand, there is the calling to put others before one's self.  "I feel guilty when I am not living up to that demand."  It's a very tough calling.  The majority of us will fall short in the effort.  Each of us has in us the survival protect one's own life and sustain it.   A natural and normal tendency that is hard-wired to ensure continuation of life.  Hunger, fear, thirst, selfishness are all part and parcel of this instinct.  So the tendency to, (in reality, when we are not lying to ourselves), put the other person second is also hard-wired.   Such tendencies are only tempered and put into perspective when we use our human brains to manipulate and adapt our auto-responses.

            On the other hand, there are benefits to the individual when refocusing our efforts onto loved ones, or even those who we don't naturally feel a love for, but feel it our duty to do so.  The benefits include a feeling of belonging, (the gregariousness of herd membership).   Safety in numbers, a very primitive instinct, enhanced by doing the right thing by one's neighbour(s).  But it still harps back on the survival instinct.  It is still, at the center, a selfish tendency, no matter how well we wrap it up in the cloak of respectability.

            Putting these concepts into the picture of philanthropy, where we choose who we want to "help" in countries other than our own, it is often the desire to appear "doing good" that drives us.  Very little, if any, pure unadulterated unconditional love.

            Does all this sound too bleak and mercenary?  Too harsh?  Maybe it is, but for me it's much closer to reality, something which I have said before, we try to ignore or avoid.

            1. Cgenaea profile image60
              Cgenaeaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              Your points are valid and very much understood from the perspective of humanness. However, the God I serve is the head of my life. My life belongs to him because he made me and his biblical assertion is that my life is not my own. Self preservation can be a devious monster. We lose our lives by trying to save them. For instance, I have a guy friend who was down on his luck, so to speak.  No job, car, roof nor barely any clothes. He met a girl who survived nicely and had all he could ask for; but there was very little attraction to her aside from the fact that she had that hole. Well, you know what he did, right???  He lied... He told her that he loved her and wanted to be with her. That fixed all his money issues; roof issues; and since she had an extra car, he was rolling too. But...!!! He lied to her daily about his whereabouts. He drove her car to court other women. He "borrowed" money that he knew he would never repay and he broke every promise he ever made to her (they are still together). Self preservation??? Greed???
              My point is that if he was guided by God (biblical principle) he would never have been able to operate in that way. He would have first considered, "do unto others..."
              As for when or how to put others before self is usually guided by spirit. The heart always has the correct response. We may follow or not...
              The method of what you tagged as passing the buck, is in all actuality acknowledgment of the father who leads and guides in ALL things. That ability is not within... I know that many don't "like" that assertion,  but it is biblically true.
              Oh! The good Samaritan comes to mind. In my opinion, there would be a LOT more hungry bellies if there were no God. There would be a lot more killing; a lot more stealing; a lot more rape etc. if there were no God. He told us what good is. Humans do not have a "good" gene. Observe two babies in a play pen. They must be TAUGHT caring, sharing, fairness, and respect for fellows. I have seen a little baby club another baby and think nothing of it...
              For sure I pass the buck. God asks his children for all their "bucks"... He is the bestest buck collector this side of heaven. smile You sure you don't wanna...??? wink Just kidding...

              1. profile image0
                jonnycomelatelyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

                You might care to read The Bonobo and the Atheist, by Franz de Waal.

                Scientists are finding a lot of "human" traits shared by other animals when studied carefully.  And not just in the Apes.  It seems we are genetically wired for those so-called social genes.  It's not just a human thing and not connected with a "God" gene.

                1. Cgenaea profile image60
                  Cgenaeaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                  Again. Good gene...good is not hardwired.  That is a social connectedness responsibility.  We are not born good. We are taught. Though a God gene is HIGHLY plausible. (Are there any studies that you know of? I'm gonna check but if not...)
                  I MAY read your atheist and banana suggestion. smile sounds atheistic...

                  1. profile image0
                    jonnycomelatelyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                    If you start reading such a book with bias and don't allow your mind to be open to new information, where do you suppose your reading will lead?
                    If you ask anyone to consider your points of view in regard to faith, are you asking for an open mind?
                    Incidentally,  it is not 'banana,' but Bonobo, our very close kin within the ape family.

    4. profile image0
      Deepes Mindposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      There's no real dilemma, IMO. For me, I would first see if there is a lower cost alternative for me so that that money can be used to help others and save everyone. Ultimately, the situation depends on the outcome of the situation. If I'm too far gone andthe machine will only prolong my life for a short time but will save them, no brainer. Save their life because iI'm gone anyway. Ultimately, before we can help others we have to take care of ourselves. The point or Christianity, IMO, is ultimately to consider the needs of others above my wants. But when it comes down to needs against needs, there is a priority issue there because I can overlook my needs if someone's need is greater or at least see where I can cut a corner in my need to help.

      1. profile image0
        jonnycomelatelyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Thank you.

        1. profile image0
          Deepes Mindposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          You're welcome

      2. MelissaBarrett profile image61
        MelissaBarrettposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I would say that you are overlooking your Biblical duty to you child(ren) and your wife even if it only extends your life by five minutes. They own that five minutes.

        1. profile image0
          Deepes Mindposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          I understand your point. However, my family knows I don't want to be on any machines. Besides that, they wouldn't want to prolong my life if its only going to prolong my suffering.I left instructions that if the only thing keeping me alive is a machine, pull the plug and let me work it out with the boss upstairs whether I stay or go

          1. profile image0
            jonnycomelatelyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            How do you make God smile?   Tell Him your plans!

    5. Disappearinghead profile image61
      Disappearingheadposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Where does this line of thinking end though Jonny? We could argue that everything I have is to the detriment of someone else. Why did I buy this Android tablet when I already have an iPod Touch; I could have given the 120 quid to a charity?

      Why should the middle classes have to sacrifice their needs for those in need? The World has a large number of super rich: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, the Rockefellers, the Sultan or Brunei, and countless Middle Eastern oil sheiks. It has been said that if the entire wealth of the World was redistributed equally to all 7 billion inhabitants, we would all be multimillionaires. So to answer your question, you should retain use of your life support equipment for as long as you want it, and the Rockefellers should put their hands in their pockets and fill the hospital with all the medical equipment they could ever need, and it would be small change to them.

      1. profile image0
        jonnycomelatelyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I agree with you DPH...  this line of thinking is, to some extent, never ending.  I don't put it up as a line which we should all necessarily follow.
        I was wondering how and if the christian perspective on philanthropy helps the world in any way.  A few  people of a christian disposition have commented in a very reasonable fashion.  I would like someone who IS a philanthropist, and puts him-/her- self forward as christian, to tell us how he/she manages to marry the  philanthropy with practicalities, e.g., increased population density and preventing disease.

        1. Disappearinghead profile image61
          Disappearingheadposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          The UK at least owes a large debt to Christian philanthropy in the Victorian and industrial revolution eras. It was then that wealthy Christian industrialists built schools, alms houses and hospitals specifically for the poor in society. These activities are now of course funded by the state, and I'm certainly not aware of great Christian philanthropic activities today. Of course most churches still do conduct small scale philanthropic activities today, and such activities are motivated by their faith.

  2. RBJ33 profile image72
    RBJ33posted 9 years ago

    First of all I hope you are speaking hypothetically, not reality.  Whether or not you accept treatment depends on where you are in life.  I have rejected a few medical procedures, and will again, in order that the costs can be used by someone needing treatment more than I do.  I recently celebrated my 80th birthday, and much of what I reject is not necessary at my age.  My choice, my decision.

    For me it has nothing to do with believing, or not believing.

    1. manatita44 profile image80
      manatita44posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Very true. I totally agree. To my mind you are saying something different now. Indeed you used the right word: "choice." The journey remains personally until the very end ...
      The all-seeing Eye is inside you and inseparable and will act accordingly.

    2. manatita44 profile image80
      manatita44posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      No wonder I liked your response so much, RBJ33. I now see that it was not you who posed the question. So sorry.

  3. profile image0
    Emile Rposted 9 years ago

    I believe Jesus said the greatest gift one could give was their life for another. However, I believe Jewish tradition says you are not obliged to do anything which would jeopardize your own life.

    But, i would think giving your life so that others could live would only count as good if you gave cheerfully and freely, out of love; not begrudgingly out of some sense of duty.

    1. profile image0
      jonnycomelatelyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I hear you,Emile, but my take on that is:  If you really value your life, and would be loath to lose it, then giving of that life for another becomes a gift of the ultimate kind, a real sacrifice.  If you don't value your life, and give it away because you don't care about it, then you have sacrificed nothing.

      1. profile image0
        Emile Rposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        True, but i do think if the end result is a belief which compelled you to act in a manner you were bitter about all the good that might have been gleaned for the individual from the act is negated. Good should be good for all involved.

        I'm always fascinated by people i know who fill the blocks because that's what is expected and they do it tight jawed and complaining. But, they think it makes them perceived as good. Is it good? I'm not certain.

        1. Silverspeeder profile image61
          Silverspeederposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          I do not give to charity, I believe in the old adage charity begins at home.

          So I would take the treatment then see if I could help others that were less fortunate than myself, does this make me a bad person? Being alive always makes me feel good with no conscience, should it make me feel bad because others perceive what I have done is a bad thing?

          This very moral dilemma has brought about the growth of the self serving charity organisations that cream of billions of $ a year yet make you believe you are doing something good.

  4. profile image0
    Beth37posted 9 years ago

    First of all jonny, if this is a real life threat you are facing, I am so very sorry. Are you Canadian? Is that the healthcare you speak of?

    Second, once again, Emile gave a very good answer, when she quoted Jn 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." and she said it was a worthless gift if you gave it begrudgingly.

    Thirdly, I am wondering about your 'spiritual concern.' Maybe I misunderstood. What spirit are you feeling beholden to in this situation?

    1. profile image0
      jonnycomelatelyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      HI Beth.  Thanks for your questions and your concerns.  Not in Canada.  I am usually in Tasmania, Australia, but right now in Ibiza, Spain.  My sister died here early in December and I came over for the funeral.  The health care I was speaking of was in East Africa, from my experience there as a Volunteer professional.  Lots of good people doing their level best, but clouded by politics.

      No, it's not a real-life question with me, just a hypothetical.   I am not facing any medical threat, in fact my physical health is quite good for my age.   When I asked the questions, following on from the previous discussion topic of "commonality" between all the world's revealed religions."  I don't know a lot about any religion really.  Brought up in the christian religion, first in "high Anglican" church, then getting involved with evangelical born-again church-iness, (because I felt drawn into it and welcomed), then sampling Siddha Yoga and more lately Vipassana, I now feel disenchanted with all religious worship, because it seems so empty to me.

      One thing that journey into the Eastern tradition of Hinduism and Buddha-ism has taught me is that a shallow interpretation of whatever is written in the bible serves no useful purpose in my life at all.  In fact when I first began to experience Siddha Yoga as taught by Swami Muktananda, it was like a breath of fresh air.  I could see so much more understanding of biblical texts which had never been revealed to me before within the church which claimed to have all the answers. 

      Vipassana, which is based in the teachings of the Buddha also has given me a deeper understanding and awareness of Life in many ways.  Vipassana does not depend upon one adhering to any particular religion, yet it can open up one's eyes and whole Being to such a greater depth even while continuing in any of the religions.  Please note my use of that hyphenated term Buddha-ism.  It's intentional.  "Buddhism" has become just another religion, shaped to suit the communities in which it plays a part.   In the same way that what the man Jesus taught has become an "-ism" acting against all that he would have accepted.  "Buddha-ism" is the individual's inward search for truth and meaning.

      Any text which you like to quote to me from the bible, when it is taken out of the narrow connection with just one human being of 2000 years ago, can be such a beautiful insight to deeper spiritual revelation for the individual.  That is what has happened to me.  It is something which I cannot expound on further than this.   I cannot and will not argue any text with you or anyone else.  This has been my own journey of discovery.   Yours must be yours.   

      I do see anomalies across our societies, where religion has become the dictate of understanding, without the freedom to interpret at will.   Maybe I have joined in such dictates to some extent.  Sorry if that is the case, but hopefully people will use my error for opening up more understanding for them selves.

      This christmas period for me has been typically empty.  I see so much negative in it.  Quite apart from the commercialism which pervades throughout the world, no christmas has ever been one of joy and celebration for me.   They have been times of separation from family; discord; death; loneliness; feeling unwanted; false; dishonest.  There are some people who give of themselves selflessly, I know.  I admire them, but still feel detached and not involved.  They would be beautiful people even without any attachment to religion.

      I agree with EncephaloiDead in this respect, that those who put up a front of being christian are often the least spiritual people.   I would not put myself out to approach the churchy people for help.... it would either likely be refused outright, or I would receive help wrapped up in evangelism.  Nothing "Christ-like."

      You have read a lot of negativity here in what I have written.  But the "silly season" is over again, for another year.  I can bounce back, always have done.   Always will.  I am stronger for the experiences, even though many of them have been painful. I don't know how this posting will be received by others in this Thread, it's up to you all to decide for yourselves.   I can only wish you enlightenment on the road.

      1. profile image0
        Beth37posted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Alright, thanks.

      2. profile image0
        Deepes Mindposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Thank you for sharing, Jonny.

        1. profile image0
          jonnycomelatelyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Blessings to you, Deepes.


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