Originally Posted by Bookcat
But certainly the end does not justify the means. A circumstance or intention can not make "good" what is objectively evil.
I'll deal with this first.
You are wrong, Christian friend. It actually tends to be sinful to not balance means and ends.
A simple hypothetical:
Mass murdering bad guys build two 20 megaton thermonuclear devices, and install each device into container ship containers and bury one such container in a container pile in one 6000 container container ship, and the other device in a container pile in a second 6000 container container ship.
One anchors in Charleston Harbor and is due to detonate at 9:45 a.m. The other anchors in New York Harbor and is due to detonate at 10:00 a.m.
At 9:43 a.m., a spy organization from a country friendly to America calls the White House and reports on the two boats, their contents, and detonation schedule.
Skeptical, the White House waits for 9:45 to come around.
Boom. Charleston Harbor and 1,000,000 people are gone.
Shocked, the President calls the Joint Chiefs, who report that careful inspection by New York authorities wit binoculars reveals that there is a man on top of the container pile on the New York ship in a lounge chair holding what appears to be a well-manufactured spring loaded dead man switch.
The President says, "What can we do?"
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs reveals that this problem has already been foreseen, and a protocol is already in place. 50 miles south of Manhattan, in Burlington County, New Jersey, is McGuire AFB. There a Tomahawk Missile equipped with a very small, high-yielding neutroin bomb lies in a shed, ready for launch at a moment's notice. If the Tomahawk delivers the neutron bomb before detonation of the ship's weapon and explodes just above the ship, the neutron shower will cause mass doublings with the thermonuclear device's primary's fissionable core, before compression, poisoning the primary beyond repair, preventing anything more than a conventional detonation.
There is one hitch: Whereas if the thermonuclear device goes off, 10,000,000 must die, if the neutron bomb goes off, 10,000 must die.
The President yells, "I DON'T WANT TO ORDER THE DEATH OF 10,000 HUMANS!"
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs says, "Mr. President, the end -- 10,000,000 dead -- CLEARLY justifies the means -- 10,000 dead. By a factor of a thousand. For heaven's sake, LAUNCH.
The President launches. 10,000 die. The President resigns.
Should the President go to Hell for killing 10,000? Or does the end justify the means?