Self-Defined Morality

You are walking down the street and you see a dog run across the road and get hit by a car. The car doesn’t stop, and there is no-one else around. You have a choice to make; maybe you don’t feel obliged to do anything since it’s not your dog, so you walk the other way and don’t get involved. You could be really scared and decide not to stop, but you call an animal protection society to come and help while you’re on your way to wherever you are going. Or, you could run over and help the dog. You could do any one of these things – and no-one would ever know either way. It’s entirely up to you how you respond.

Let’s say that you choose to go over and help the dog. There’s an infinite number of possibilities of what you are going to find when you get there. The dog could already be dead… He could be hurt so badly that there is no way to save him… She might just be stunned and you can get her to the vets, and she’ll be fine… You could end out covered in blood and crying your heart out because you really tried and there was nothing you could do… These are all the things that you could face as you wade in to try and do your best to help, to do the right thing, whatever that might be. Regardless of the horrible possibilities in front of you, you do it anyway.

Now let’s say that back while you’re assessing the situation, you remember that your parents are hugely into animal welfare, and will be so proud of you for helping, that they’ll probably take you out for a lovely free meal at an expensive restaurant when they find out what you did. You decide to go and help out the dog, because whatever the outcome, you know you will get a truly awesome dinner experience, just for doing a good thing.

The net result is the same; the dog gets care from a stranger, which it might not necessarily have had otherwise. It might have even been the dog’s last moments, and you were there to stroke its head and try to impart some comfort… You might be upset, but you can take some personal positives from having been there and done your part.

You did a good thing.

…but don’t ever try and suggest you are better than the person helped anyway, without the promise of a lovely dinner.

Catholic Faith

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