If you'll indulge me here, I'll try to work my way through your last post, point-by-point:
Consider yourself indulged-in-advance.
There's no universal objective evidence that ameliorating imminent danger to life is a categorical imperative.
I don't need any universally objective evidence that trying to save life is a categorical imperative. I already know that it can be my own categorical imperative in the situation we described. Now that you know my personal opinion/admission on the matter in question, all you have to do is avoid becoming my relative and, failing that, avoiding a situation where I'm anywhere near you when you are likely to bring sure death upon yourself for what I believe are "stupid" reasons. (Driving too drunk, joining a snake-handling cult, juggling nitroglycerin, playing Russian roulette, invoking a JW No-Blood card at a time when it would surely mean death, skydiving without a parachute, etc.)
Love [my claimed motivation], as selfishly defined by you.
It's my own personal motivation. If I'm convinced that it's based on love, then that's all that matters at the moment. If you happen to be standing there, too, and have an opportunity to convince me that it is more loving to let someone die, you have the same right to try to impose that idea on me to override my intentions. (But it should be a little more convincing than you've been so far).
Let's just take one more look at one of the situations we agreed might be derived from minimus' original question. I'll use the example of the 21-year-old daughter (or whatever age you and/or your legal jurisdiction considers an adult). You said you could allow your adult daughter to die from a lack of receiving blood, even though you had the power to save her by allowing the blood transfusion against her wishes. For reference you said (in the other thread):
Gamaliel, in all the cases you mention [including the adult daughter]: ... I would not over-ride their choice.
If my personal belief system motivates me to help her survive against her will one hour before her legal 21st birthday then it would just as easily motivate me to help her survive against her will one hour after her legal 21st birthday, and I will not be watching a clock, or worried about what time zone she legally resides in, if it's a "cusp" situation. By extension, if I was convinced that my motive was love, then I would follow that same motivation further into my daughter's adulthood and would even extend that motivation into the situations of other relatives where I might be given a say.
: The example might extend to pulling poison out of the hands of a suicidal relative Even in the case of volitional euthanasia?
I can't see how trying to stop euthenasia could be motivated by love. (Unless, perhaps, I knew that the relative had not been informed of a cure for their suffering that had just been released/approved that morning, for example.) As an aside, knowing that there are many people motivated purely by legalistic/religious reasons, I would definitely be curious about my own relatives' stance on euthenasia (in the event that I wished it upon myself).
And who are you to selfishly and arbitrarily say that anyone should or should not believe in doctors? Or, the Pope? Or, the Mormon Prophets? Or, the GB? Or, the President? Or, Jesus Christ? Or, God?
I'm not asking anyone to believe anything. As I said before I am acting on my own beliefs, not theirs. I'm just a person who believes I should try to save life if I believe the situation warrants it. In the example I was referring back to that we had discussed, if a relative takes garlic for snakebite and I feel they will die, I will give them (or get them) medical attention, as long as it's within my power. I couldn't care less if they don't believe in doctors, and if a doctor or some form of medical attention happens to save them, I'm still not going to worry myself over whether they believe in medical attention in the future.
Yeah, I've been faced with that [taking the keys away from a a drunk adult who wishes to drive home from a party]. He was an adult, I determined to the best of my ability that he was making a deliberate and capable adult decision. His selfish choice was just that...his selfish choice.
Here in Long Island, NY, we lose a few innocent neighbors every week to these tragedies. I hope people consider their options very carefully when faced with the chance to override life-threatening adult decisions.
In other words, they [emergency workers...overriding life-threatening adult decisions] act in accord with determined ethical standards of their social profession. They have, thereby, surrendered their own conscience to the dictates of an external authority, which they have themselves, as selfish adults, pre-determined to consider valid.
Sounds about right.
[ Gamaliel said: The standard is your own: how sure you are of your belief. "Each man must be convinced within his own mind." ] [onacruse said] Ok, then again, its purely selfish.
It may be, I don't know exactly what your definition of "selfish" is. It seems to apply to firemen saving lives, getting medical attention to snakebite victims who don't believe in medical attention. It seems you're saying it could be anything where the motivation comes at least partially from within the self. I can assume, I think, that you would therefore also categorize the example of Jesus in the Christian story as selfish, because the book of John claims his motivation was from himself. Jesus futher fits your definition of selfish, because his motivation was also based on knowledge he had. Additionally, according to some Bible verses, his motivation included ultimately saving the lives of adults who chose not to believe. I had further said:
In the case of the party drinker with car keys, you might have faith that he can make it home without hurting anyone, you might not. You might ask for an additional opinion, but if you are the one motivated to take action, then it is ultimately your own beliefs, not theirs, and definitely not the beliefs of the person you wish to help.
To which you answered:
Then again, admittedly a selfish act on your part.
Asking for the second opinion? or ultimately taking the keys away from a drunk who insists that he believes he can make it home without killing anyone? Are you implying then that it would be unselfish to let him try to make it home?
But if Paul is in fact asserting that we must individually make what is essentially a selfish choice, based on our own moral evaluation (and not in accord with some "law"), then on what basis do we impose our own selfish decisions on others? Simply because we can? perhaps because that other person is temporarily incapacitated?
On what basis? The motivatoin should be love and the desire to protect someone from an imminent threat to their life.
If so, then would you (or I) concur that some other person, acting in accord with their own conscience, is right in forcing their decision on us, even if they knew for a fact that you or I expressly do not concur with their decision?
No we would not necessarily concur. That's not the point. The point is that I may have to accept the fact that there might be people in the world who would interfere with my own life-threatening decisions, whether I thought they had a right to or not. My wife might even insist at the last minute that I can't even go sky-diving or hang-gliding or commit suicide by euthenasia or be "unplugged" during a coma, or let me drive home drunk. Whether I like it or not, I have to know that there are people who might not sit idly by while I try to commit suicide (either directly or indirectly). That's life.
I disagree [that needing a "standard" is JW-type thinking...the stepping stone to developing a conscience]. Law is the reflection of communal conscience, a codified and socially mandated diplomacy of the individuals' conscience; the legal rights of the many outweigh the conscience of the few, or the one.
Hmmm. Sounds like a problem with semantics. I just meant "conscience" in the typical definition of the word, not what people have tried to make of it. Like in the way the OT used the word heart. ("My heart shall not reproach me" --Job 27:6) or the way the Greeks and Romans originally depicted those little pesky shoulder demons like Erinyes and Furies. Or the way Paul used it about 19 times in the NT in the context of "let each be convinced within himself." I'm aware of the strained NT etymology of syneidesis
that religions have found useful (that extended use is exactly what Paul warned would happen), but which has no meaning within the contexts of the NT.
I disagree. Religion is nothing more, and nothing less, than the reflection of a community's collective conscience. Religion incorporates into society via political and legal mechanisms.
I'm surprised. I was sure you had (or knew of) experiences that could tell you otherwise. (I just edited out a line that included Hitler, Frederick Franz and Saddam Hussein in the same sentence.)
Death comes to us all, so all matters are life-and-death. To selectively classify one action as justified because it's "life-or-death" is to discount the entire body of cultural beliefs held by mankind all through history.
I honestly can't tell what this means without forcing a contradiction to other things you have said in these threads.
You yourself admit that there is no objective evidence about life after death.
Almost. I admit that I
have no objective evidence, it doesn't mean necessarily that you
don't or that Jesus or Paul, for example, didn't.
Therefore, that too is fundamentally a selfish choice that we can only make individually and personally: either I believe in life after death because I want to, or not.
Perhaps it is. I want to
believe in life after death, badly; but I don't. It never occurred to me that it would be a selfish choice to believe, because I would definitely believe if I had knowledge
of it. I have knowledge of some mathematical formulas, but I never consider it "selfish" to believe in them.
And if I believe in life after death, then I'm entitled to make decisions about my life now before my death.
I agree. And many have even tried to make decisions for others based on that belief. (WTS, Jesus, Paul, US war generals, Osama bin Laden)
So, then, if you know that a JW would be stumbled by having a blood transfusion, how could you live in the spirit of Paul's statement and force that JW to take blood anyway?
I am not sure I would be living in the spirit of Paul's statement. Paul did, at least, make a distinction between life-and-death situations and those that weren't. I'm not worried much about whether I'm in line with statements by Jesus or Paul. As I said before I appreciate that the religion they promoted had many elements that are useful guides for comparing our own moral and ethical decisions. In any case, for me, it is my own beliefs as fed by -- or overridden by-- a combination of conscience, common sense, knowledge, science, etc.
And I haven't used the term "selfish" so frequently above in an effort to demean selfishness as a valid motivation. I just don't like having what amounts to nothing more than selfishness paraded around under the wonderfully pretty raiments of "ethical" and "moral." Let's just call a spade a spade.
I'm not sure whether you have or not. I can't imagine you saying: "I don't like it when people claim that they are truly, validly, and wonderfully selfish when it's really nothing more than just ethics and morality. Let's just call a spade a spade."
[re: Suffering for imposing beliefs on someone] That's one of the consequences of selfish acts performed in a defined community. That one would suffer social sanction for such an act would, I submit, give pause for thought that "Maybe I really don't have the 'right' to do that."
Of course it should
give us pause. In Christianity, Laws and Standards (even laws about blood) are stepping stones to conscience. In some countries the religious laws are much more bound up with civil and criminal law. It doesn't mean that I won't or can't personally outgrow or dismiss them, especially in circumstances where some combination of my motivations, my conscience, knowledge and science, for example, bears witness with my conscience that I should override the Law for love or life, for example. If I suffer for the sake of my conscience, then perhaps I was only right for myself. My punishment, if I am condemned for my conscience and actions, becomes my "witness" to others if they might also see fit to act similarly in the future. (That's your cue to accuse me of JW-like thinking.) Nothing says they should, however. Gamaliel