Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Case for Ethical Decision Making on Mt. Everest

Tonight I watched a documentary on YouTube called "The Dark Side of Everest." The film retells part of the story of the 1996 tragedy on the Mt. Everest where 11 people died. However the real focus of the film is on the ethical decisions people face when making choices about whether or not to help people on the mountain when they cannot help themselves.

What was interesting to me is the fact that many people kept referencing the idea of morals in regard to whether or not to help out someone who was sick or hurt. There was an underlying idea in many comments that people have a 'moral responsibility' to help out a fellow human being. What I want to know is where that responsibility comes from.

Obviously I have no idea about the religious ideology of the people interviewed in the documentary, but I have heard this kind of thinking before and when it comes from the mouths of atheists or agnostics it puzzles me. The ideas of evolution, natural selection and survival of the fittest have no finer theater in which to play themselves out than high up on a mountain. Right? If you're hurt that means your weak. And I should have no obligation to help you. In fact, my not helping only means that more strong genes will be passed on.

There are only morals if there is a standard by which to measure human behavior. There are only ethical decisions if there is behavior that is ultimately right and wrong. And there is only right and wrong behavior if there is an authoritative voice that declares it to be so. And that voice does not come out of any ideological, theological, or sociological hodgepodge. It comes from Jesus Christ, the Alpha and Omega, for whom and through whom all things were made and are held together by the word of his mouth.
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