I guess my question here, though, is the “what if” element.
Paul says in his argument “what if someone should see you dining in an idol’s temple”. So, here I might ask “what if someone should see me drinking in public” (and thus be caused to stumble? In the instance that Paul cites, he seems to advocate against dining in an idol’s temple because of the “what if”.
How much certainty/uncertainty should be have when it comes to the “what if”? I mean, there are alcoholics all around us, so, “what if” one if them should come into a restaurant and see me drinking alcohol and be tempted and do the same?
Some might argue that it is the responsibility of the alcoholic to avoid such establishments, but, even if this is so, in other cases, how much "what if"ing should we do? How much are we obligated to do?
Let us say that someone thinks having a TV is wrong. “What if” you have a TV and he/she comes into your house, sees your TV and is tempted to and buys a TV, even though he/she knows it’s wrong? Should you, then, give up your TV just to prevent even that possibility, no matter how remote it may be? What if that person shows no signs of letting go of his/her conviction so that it is unlikely that, even if he/she does see your TV, he/she will slip into what he/she considers sin him/herself?
And let us consider another example that is closer to home for me particularly. There are surely some out there who would think that mys studying of the classics (pagan Greek and ROman culture) is completely wrong no matter what. Now, I also enjoy sharing information/insight about my studies on social media such as Twitter. “What if” someone who thinks my studies sinful should happen upon my Twitter account and, since I am engaging in them adn even though he/she may think it sinful, is still tempted, because he/she really does want to, to engage in classical studies. And, indeed, what if he/she does this? Am I to be held accountable for his/her sin if this ever happens? So, then, taking into account even this possibility, should I quite my study of the classics, at least insofar as I practice it in public before people who may object to it but may also be weak enough to succumb to studying it because, in their heart, even though they believe it is wrong, they still desire to? Is this not like the “weak brother” being emboldened to eat meat sacrificed to idols in Paul’s example with which we are dealing here?