‘But sometimes …’ I protested, ‘you know, what about self-defence? What about killing to defend yourself?’ ‘Yes, a good point, Lin. I want you to imagine a scene for me. You are standing in a room with a desk in front of you. On the other side of the room is your mother. A vicious man holds a knife to the throat of your mother. The man will kill your mother. On the table in front of you there is a button. If you press it, the man will die. If you do not, he will kill your mother. These are the only possible outcomes. If you do nothing, your mother dies. If you press the button, the man dies and your mother is saved. What would you do?’ ‘The guy’s history’ I answered without hesitation. ‘Just so,’ he sighed, perhaps wishing that I’d wrestled with the decision a little longer before pressing the button. ‘And if you did this, if you saved your mother from this vicious killer, would you be doing the wrong thing or the right thing?’ ‘The right thing,’ I said just as swiftly. ‘No, Lin, I’m afraid not,’ he frowned. ‘We have just seen that in the terms of this new, objective definition of good and evil, killing is always wrong because, if everyone did it, we would not move toward God, the ultimate complexity, with the rest of the universe. So it is wrong to kill. But your reasons were good. So therefore, the truth of this decision is that you did the wrong thing, for the right reasons …’

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A quote saved on Nov. 5, 2015.


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