One of the blogs I read is 'Real Live Preacher' by Gordon Atkinson. He has been doing training in mission outreach where they are taught to install water purification systems. You can read his experience here. I was curious about these systems because there is obviously big potential for their use in Africa. The mission organisation is Edge Outreach and I trekked along to their web page. If you dig around you can find some of the stories they tell. One is about a tribal king in one area who refused to allow the mission team to install a system. This organisation is very conscious of the need for the locals to buy in and are not into forcing anything on anybody. But they asked this king why he would not allow it - given that so many small children die from diahroea every year. The king's reply was that babies have always died and the people will not be angry with him for that. However, if there is not enough food, the people will be angry with him. The implication being that if the babies lived he would have a problem. Our western outlook is horrified about this approach, but it does raise real ethical issues.
One's thoughts can go in so many directions after hearing this story. But what worries me most is my feeling of paralysis. If solving one problem simply causes other problems, what can we do? Maybe we should not install purification systems . . . Loving our neighbour is not really that simple!
If solving one problem simply causes other problems, what can we do? Maybe we should not install purification systems . . . Loving our neighbour is not really that simple!
I know what you mean. Another potential problem arising is the new ethanol systms if we take too much corn we starve other countries. How do we help others in need is a good question. Thanks for your sharing.
I'm back! Yes I will write my blog but not as frequently (once a week). I miss it so much it aches......
Regardless how painful, we must never assume what others need. The 'privileged' may still have much to learn from those they deem unfit in their living?
Thanks for your comment. I must admit that ethics is a subject that I have never enjoyed studying because it raises so many unanswerable questions!
Hooray David! I'm glad you're back. I'm looking forward to seeing new stuff on your blog!
Have you read the book--Holy People Holy Lives--Law and Gospel in Bioethics. It is by Richard Eyer who somewhat addresses this issue in other areas. I guess what Christians and humanitarians need to recognize is that we live in a fallen world and sometimes trying to right a wrong or make the world better people can actually make matters worse. The key is discernment and sometimes we have to choose the lesser of two evils and resting in the grace of GOD. It sounds to me that the tribal leader is making that choice. My hope is that we do not villianize him but seek to understand his decision, which I believe your post did.
I really like the way you think! I haven't read that book. I've done a course in ethics as part of my degree which meant I read a couple of other books - raising issues that are beyond me. I think the important thing is that we never cease to try to do the best thing, even if it doesn't seem to perfectly right. Sometimes doing nothing is right, but it can't always be right. Thanks for your thoughts!
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