Gods & Trolleys

This isn’t an ordinary post but I thought I’d tackle an odd but interesting subject since it’s been wracking my mind recently.

In philosophy there is an ethical dilemma known as “Trolley Dilemma” which goes a little something like this: A person is on a trolley riding along on train tracks. Suddenly they spot in the distance a fork in the tracks with a single person tied to the tracks on the right side and five people tied to the tracks on the left side. The person tries to pull the brakes but finds that they aren’t working. So they can’t stop the trolley but they do have the means to choose which track the trolley will choose in the fork. Which track should the driver choose?

There are a number of answers to this dilemma depending on the type of ethical theory applied. Today though I wanted to tackle a different perspective on the matter using divine command theory.

Divine Command Theory (DCT), simply put, states that ethically right and wrong actions are determined by the commands of a god or gods. This theory is a very common ethical theory but most people aren’t aware of it by name. I’ll be dealing primarily with Christianity in this discussion.

The correct answer to the “Trolley Dilemma” for a Divine Command Theorist would be to choose which ever choice god commands. Unfortunately the bible, to my knowledge, doesn’t really talk about the idea of compounding sins (i.e. if committing two sins is actually worse than committing one sin). It also has conflicting verses on whether one sin is worse than another.

Oddly the bible does have few verses proposing the idea of greater sins and even unforgivable sins (Matthew 12:31-32, 1 Cor. 6:18, and John 19:11). The latter very much flies in the face of the often repeated belief that god forgives all. One verse very much contradicts these previous ideas, though, and that would be James 2:10:

“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”

This provides a very problematic issue. If it is true that committing a sin makes a person guilty of committing every sin then fundamentally all sin would therefore be equal in the eyes of god. So in light of the lack of information on compounding sins and that god sees all sin as equal, the answer to the “Trolley Dilemma” under these circumstances is that it doesn’t really matter which track you choose.

If all sin is equal and compounding sins aren’t a factor then killing one person is no different than killing five people.

This creates a very troubling problem for divine command theorists. By pure nature most people tend to view unethical and illegal actions in gradients. For example most people would probably agree that stealing a candy bar from store is no where as bad someone stealing an extremely expensive car. To punish them the same would seem unfair and most likely counter intuitive.

But if all wrong doing is the same in the eyes of god then this brings great comfort to extremely evil individuals and immense discomfort for the mostly righteous divine command theorist. How comforting is it for a tyrant to think that the actions of a genocidal dictator would be viewed the same as telling a white lie? And how horrifying would it be for an individual who tells a white lie to be seen as just as bad as a mass murderer?

I believe that the innate human response to the “Trolley Dilemma” for most people would likely be to choose the track with only one person on it. Unfortunately, under these biblical circumstances that I have stated, the bible offers little to no solace as to what the right answer truly is.

Splendour – I’m Still Alive

Hey guys, I’m still alive but I’ve just been busy doing other things. I’ll post another poem here from my latest anthology. If you enjoy it at all please check out the links in the published for the ebook version of my anthology “Blue Autumn”.

Splendour

You too can be a cliche
A one hit wonder
A vapid word parfait
Reduced to platitudes
A forgettable passe
Banality incarnate
A stereotype buffet

You too can be an adage
Trite and trivial
More sob story baggage
Chemically created
With replica disadvantage
Produced to be sold
As a prosaic package

You too can be a claptrap
Full of deflated hymns
And fustian scrap
Laced with grandiose garbage
And cumbersome crap
Being sold out to chumps
Monetarily entrapped

You too can be a mantra
Solace to morons
As a delusional stanza
Each phrase the same
Xerox propaganda
A false simulacrum
Singing conformity’s anthem

  ~Christopher Ferguson

Patience – More Poetry from “Blue Autumn”

Patience

You’ve tested my patience for far too long.
Forgiveness for you would surely be wrong.
You pick on the weak and idolize the strong.
Farce is your rhapsody and mockery's your song.

Generosity for you was surely a mistake.
For you all I feel is animosity and hate.
To rip out your organs and see your bones break.
That wouldn’t suffice as a violent enough fate.

I want to see you cry an ocean of blood.
Overflowing cesspools with gore and mud.
You think mercy is folly so it’s time to be judged.
To see you engulfed and drowned in the flood.

I have menacing methods and torturing tools.
Infinite time in this one sided dual.
Showing you compassion made me a fool.
Kindness is always wasted on the cruel.

          ~Christopher Ferguson

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Shameless Plug: If you've enjoyed this poem or other ones I've posted recently feel free to check out my Gumroad or Amazon sellers page if you'd like to get either of my recent anthologies "Red Winter" or Blue Autumn".

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Christopher-Ferguson/e/B08SG9PLWZ?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1611950501&sr=8-1

Gumroad: https://gumroad.com/ferguson942

Discipline – An Extra Poem from My Latest Anthology “Blue Autumn”

Discipline

I am not interested in being your wage slave 
Your punching bag peasant who needs to behave 
You exploit all my labor and paint me a knave 
To be worked like a serf till I’m dead in the grave
 
I am not interested in being your soldier 
Your flesh meat peon at which to bark orders 
A brain dead lackey and thoughtless marauder 
To run into bullets as dumb cannon fodder 

I am not interested in being your doormat 
Your pushover patsy without insight or tact 
A fool without brains to con and distract 
To be trodden all over and stomped like a rat 

I am not interested in being your chess piece 
Your deluded pawn to dupe and police 
To be devoured by fate with stoic caprice 
A monument to misery as your masterpiece

                 ~Christopher Ferguson

Experience Required – New Poem

Experience Required

I need experience
To get a job
To get the experience
To get the job
To earn money
To pay a bill
To earn more money
To pay more bills
To go to school
To get a degree
To pay off my student loans
To get a better job
To earn enough money
To actually enjoy life
To be too busy working
To be able to do so
To try to get by
To try to survive
To find happiness fleeting
To try to find meaning

    ~Christopher Ferguson

Elpis – “Blue Autumn” and “Red Winter” are still on sale

Wanted to post a short poem I did recently, but also I wanted to say that my two anthologies are still “pay what you want” on Gumroad at the moment through Tuesday of next week. I’ll post a link here to my page on there: https://gumroad.com/ferguson942

Elpis

When you waited for peace
All you knew was war
When you expected light
All that entered was darkness
When you yearned for love
All you received was hate
When you longed for hope
All that came was despair

    ~Christopher Ferguson

Apologies & Success – “Blue Autumn” has finally been published!

So I want to start by apologizing to any readers of my blog. I know I haven’t been on here very much and for a while for that matter. I was just having issues with getting writing done so that’s why I disappeared for a bit.

On a much happier note, though, I finally have officially published my second anthology “Blue Autumn”. Just like my last anthology, I’ll be giving it away for free during the first week, but also I’ll be doing the same with my first Anthology “Red Winter”. So you can get them both on Gumroad using either of theses links:

Red Winter: https://gum.co/jjgjH

Blue Autumn: https://gum.co/OzQio

Just like before it’s currently set as “pay what you want” but after this first week it’ll go up to the suggested price. For those of you on the other hand who want to get it off of Amazon Kindle I’ll post a link below:

Unfortunately, once again, I can’t set it to “pay what you want” on Amazon so the price is currently set as it is. Regardless please feel free to grab a copy of either of my poetry anthologies off of Gumroad during the first week and I hope you all enjoy my second anthology.

One More Poem for the Road – Getting Closer to Finishing “Blue Autumn”

So unfortunately I wasn’t able to finish my next anthology, Blue Autumn, by the end of February. I am getting really close to being done though. Currently finishing up stuff for the cover and getting down to the last poems I need to workshop. In the mean time I thought I’d share one more poem that will be featured in it. It’s rather cynical so be forewarned.

Chastity

Love is harsh because it fools you
into thinking that people want you.
It leaves all your passions crushed
and all your ardor desires rushed.

Love is hard because it hurts you.
It abandons and deserts you.
It makes you think that you are sacred
but instead fills you with hatred.

Love is sharp because it cuts you.
It mutilates and corrupts you.
It makes all hope seem stale and bitter
then scars your mind with pain and blisters.

Love is tough because it drains you.
It makes each aching fault enchain you.
It breaks your spirit down with stones
and then bleeds you hollow to your bones.