It could have been ‘Yes’ – but it’s ‘No’

So they didn’t go through with it in the end. I’m not an Archers fan. Not that I have anything against – just that I never got into it. But I did find myself reading about the ‘will they or won’t they’ question for Ruth and Sam – stepping across the boundaries of middle-aged, etc., etc. The fans, of course, were outraged – not so much by the subject-matter as by the thought that the plot line should be manipulated to meet the 15000th episode. For the Archers lives in the hearts of its followers in a sort of half-light between fantasy and reality .. now what does that remind me of?

Anyway, I find myself still pursuing the thread which suggests that real life and moral decision making begin at the point at which you could do something – pass a death sentence on Saddam Hussein; seek revenge for what others have done to you – but choose not to. I think this may be another one.


  1. Interesting that he says that we must develop a ‘critical response to the excitement offered by every new possibility’ But I think we are talking about two slightly different things? One is the question of identifying the point at which we become moral beings. My focus was rather more on the idea that some of the ‘best’ moral decisions we make come when we voluntarily decide to renounce the opportunity of doing something which is either ‘there for the taking’ or which is in the ‘everybody will see this as reasonable and understandable’ category. Those choices seem to me to be Christlike and in the kenotic area.

  2. The Tablet article today by John Cornwell suggests Karl Rahner’s ethics began at a point much further back.

    Perhaps it is characteristic of Catholic moral theology that it strives to be comprehensive as compared to our Anglican ad hockery.

  3. I think it is true. But I suppose it is right to acknowledge that there must be other factors – much further back – which condition our decision-making in the present. To be honest, I am still probably reacting to the ‘it just sort of happened’ school of moral and ethical decision-making which some of my parishioners [and, if I am honest, I too] practised. But upbringing, nurture and what people have called the ‘underlying concepts’ which underpin our lives must also play a part. But I still think that the ‘bite’ comes at the point at which the ‘obvious and acceptable’ choice is there – and we choose not to take it.

  4. Do you mean it’s not true?

    I’m not sure that moral decisions only begin at the point where we could do something. The whole field of bio-ethics suggests that there are many areas where the question is ‘would we do this if we could?’ When the theoretical decision has been made, then there follows the attempt to translate it into real life situations

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