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wundayatta's avatar

What is one of the most difficult moral dilemmas you've ever faced?

Asked by wundayatta (58545points) June 22nd, 2009

What is the first thing that comes to your mind upon reading this question? Please do not look at the details unless you are absolutely stumped for what to think about.

Maybe you’ve faced an unwanted pregnancy. Maybe you’ve had to struggle with a decision to implement a DNR request. Maybe a boss has asked you to do something unethical or illegal, and you are desperate for an income. Maybe you weren’t sure something was illegal, and you deliberately didn’t try to find out. Maybe you had to decide whether to look the other way or not.

These are just a few examples I can think of. I hope there are situations I can’t even begin to imagine. Pretending I didn’t prejudice you with my examples, what was one of the most difficult moral dilemmas you’ve ever faced?

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26 Answers

juwhite1's avatar

Getting a divorce from my ex-husband. He didn’t cheat on me, didn’t beat me, but was a jerk in general and after 12 years of unhappy marriage, I finally decided I was worth more than that. It was really difficult for me to decide that pursuing my own happiness and contentment in live was more important than keeping my wedding vows, but in the end, I knew he had no consideration for me beyond wanting a clean house and a meal on the table. Live is absolutely wonderful now, and I’m glad I finally decided to leave him. I feel like I wasted over a decade of my life, but I guess we live and learn. I learned an important lesson in the process… I am a much better wife to my current husband, in large part because I appreciate him so much for all the things he does for me and all the ways he cares for me. I lived without that for so long that now I know how important it really is to have a true best friend and soul mate as a spouse. I learned that if I’m not genuinely happy, I can’t be a part of helping others to be happy either, so pursuing my own happiness really is important in being able to contribute to society and hold up my end of an intimate relationship.

icehky06's avatar

I’m to tired to write up a dilemma but here’s one that always touches me..
You are an inmate in a concentration camp. A sadistic guard is about to hang your son who tried to escape and wants you to pull the chair from underneath him. He says that if you don’t he will not only kill your son but some other innocent inmate as well. You don’t have any doubt that he means what he says. What should you do?

filmfann's avatar

Taking my Mom off life support. I didn’t want to do it, but she wanted it done. I don’t think she realized how I would always carry that around with me.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Not telling anyone a relative of mine was purposely starving and over medicating himself to death.

cak's avatar

@filmfann I think that is something that is haunting me. I was the one that had to reaffirm the DNR decision my father made. Since there was some question as to whether or not he was able to make the decision himself, they required a decision from the family. It fell on me. There is something about that decision that I don’t think will ever leave me.

Darwin's avatar

Whether to admit to Adult Protective Services that my son abuses my husband, or to protect him from having a record and back up my husband’s insistence that nothing ever happened.

YARNLADY's avatar

I think it took place over a period of time, because I wondered for years who other people seemed to feel and know God, but it just seemed like a fake story to me. I went to three different Bible study groups, because I was told that I would find the answer in the Bible. I got kicked out for asking too many questions and one person finally told me I wasn’t welcome because I had no faith.

Finally, I found out the real problem. I have no faith, and now I am content with that. To me the whole God thing sounds like a bunch of nonsense.

cak's avatar

@Darwin oh, darwin. I’m so sorry. That is such a difficult position for you to be in.

juwhite1's avatar

@YARNLADY – Kicked out of Bible study for asking too many questions? Amazing!

YARNLADY's avatar

@juwhite1 When I asked about things that didn’t make sense to me, it apparently annoyed the other members.

Likeradar's avatar

Wow… After reading some of these, mine is pretty lame. I guess I’m lucky in a way?

I had been seeing a guy who broke up with me to get back together with an ex. They got engaged, and I started becoming friendly with her. She’s a good person. Guy blatantly hit on me and propositioned me many times when she wasn’t around, even when she was just in the next room. I had to push him off when he was going for a kiss and re-direct many conversations. If he was like that with me, the chances are good there are/were other women too. I was really, really struggling with whether or not to tell her. I would want to know if I was about to marry a philander.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@cak, my wife had to make the very same decision for her mom five years ago. She had a really tough time with it, we all did, but the final decision was hers. Then there was the decision I made telling her she should not be in the room when her mom passed on. I made that decision out of concern for my wife’s mental well being, but to this day I wonder if I didn’t somehow keep her from something that she needed to do.

westy81585's avatar

A while back I became good friends with a girl who had a long time b/f. The b/f lived some 2 hours away, and while the two were a match, I could tell she “wanted more.” She had only ever been in like 2–3 relationships, and they were all long term, with pretty much no down time between them.

Well we were very mutually attracted, and ended up getting somewhat intimate, despite efforts on both ends to not let it get that far. I tried multiple times to cut it off, but she would just show up at my house ( and I couldn’t say no), or I would give in and call her.

We reached a point where we were basically “dating” in secrecy from her b/f and most of our friends (we had lots of mutual friends). I had a lot of trouble with this, as I always thought it was wrong to help someone cheat (not to mention I was sharing a girl I had strong feelings with). I realized that I couldn’t ask her to end her relationship to take a chance on me (it was far from a certain perfect match, though it had that chance). So I finally found a way to end it…. I was very uncharacteristically, a complete and utter dick to her about something that didn’t really call for it. I stopped talking to her after going off on her….. and much to both my pleasure and shagrin, it worked…. we haven’t really talked since….

And that makes me sad to this day….

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Why can’t I think of anything? None of my moral dilemmas remained unsolved, that I know, so they left my already poor memory, I suppose

Facade's avatar

@YARNLADY I’m sorry you had to encounter such idiots.

Facade's avatar

I was invited to an Omega picnic thing. I didn’t want to go alone, so I invited a girl I know. We ended up going to some house to continue the festivities after it got dark. There were about 15 people there, mostly guys. We had a few drinks and got a little wasted. A guy who had been flirting with her all day motioned for her to come over to him; I guessed he had something to tell her. They ended up in a bathroom. She later told me that he undressed himself and her, and that they had sex. She said that she didn’t want to but went along with it anyway. She’s in a relationship, and they’re pretty serious. I don’t know if he found out or not, but I feel as though it’s my fault it all happened because I invited her.

Likeradar's avatar

@Facade Not to minimize your feelings at all, but she made her own decisions. So, so, so totally not your fault.

basp's avatar

I was told to lie in a report to the state by local politicians. They implied my job was at stake without openly threatening me. At the time, I was the only breadwinner in the house raising two children and caring for disabled spouse and could not afford to lose the job.
I held my ground, lost my position but initiated legal proceedings to be placed in another position and received a big check for wages lost during battle.
Slimeball politicians!

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

@icehky06 kill your kid, you don’t have a choice.

Mine is pretty much what westy is going through. Know a girl with a boyfriend. she cheats on him one day and then convinces him to get a tattoo of her name on him the next. Seems ridiculous right?

filmfann's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra I made the decision, and I held her hand at the moment of her passing. It didn’t help me.

westy81585's avatar

@Facade Yah that sucks, but I wouldn’t hold it against yourself. It was your friends mistake. I feel bad for her boy, and she should probably work on her self control.

Jack79's avatar

Going back to save my girlfriend when it meant I would be putting my own daughter’s life in danger. I sometimes wonder whether I did the right thing, since my gf was not in any imminent danger, and going back for her did not change the outcome much. But I think the alternative would have always left me wondering and feeling I had betrayed her. Even though the result of this choice has been disastrous in the short run, I believe that keeping the positive “karma” balance was the right thing to do.

Blondesjon's avatar

If I’ve told you all once, I’ve told you a hundred times:

I shot a man in Reno…just to watch him die.

Disc2021's avatar

@YARNLADY – I think your situation describes the idiocy and hypocrisy amongst a lot (not all) Christians. Even if you did have no faith – couldn’t they just respect your opinion or concerns? That would be the equivalent of me objecting to people saying prayer at the dinner table because I found it annoying (which is something I would never do and I’ve always been respectful about).

I’m agnostic but I think there is a big difference between Christianity and Christians.

Facade's avatar

@Disc2021 I wish everyone could differentiate between the two.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

@Blondesjon when I was a baby my momma told me “Son.. Always be a good boy, don’t ever play with guns…”

great song. Can’t go wrong with the Man in Black.

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