Theoretical Fantasy Moral Dilemmas (Vampires, Zombies & More)

Just some food for thought…feel free to add more to ask as well!

  1. If you were turned into a vampire, and driven to drink the blood of humans to survive, and you would be driven by instinct to kill eventually, would it be morally permissible to commit suicide, to prevent yourself from murdering other people?

  2. Is killing zombies okay? For example, say a scientist is working on a cure that may possibly put at an end to a zombie outbreak…would it still be okay to kill zombies, since the zombie isn’t culpable for their actions?

  3. Is it morally permissible for a human and an alien to mate if both are sentient, and can procreate? Does the level of how humanoid an alien is matter?

  4. If a robot could gain a sense of sentience, and self-identified itself as feminine, would it be morally sound for a man to begin a relationship with her/it? (some anime fans might know where I’m going with this)

Great gaming table discussions, all!

Jimmy Akin has, in my estimation, the finst exploration of the morailty of zombie slaying:

jimmyakin.com/2005/08/theology_of_the.html

*"Basically, though, it seems that the possible natures of zombies can be grouped into just a few categories:

  1. Zombies are human beings who have ordinary human souls (either under the influence of drugs, illness, or reanimation following death),

  2. Zombies are living bodies being animated by non-human rational souls (like I don’t know what),

  3. Zombies are living bodies being animated by non-human, non-rational souls (like non-human animals),

  4. Zombies are non-living bodies being animated in a way other than the way souls normally animate bodies some kind (e.g., long distance electrodes shot into the pineal and pituitary gland of the recently dead).

Which of these explanations is the correct one in the case of a particular zombie or zombie invasion that you may be facing is crucial for making the correct moral response. The basic divide is between options 1 & 2 on the one hand and optiosn 3 & 4 on the other…"*
It is well worth a read!

  1. It would not be morally permissible to commit suicide in the sense of driving a stake through your own heart or eating garlic, but abstaining from blood would be morally required, even if it leads to death.

  2. It would be morally permissible to kill a zombie in self defense or in defense of the lives of others.

  3. It is not morally permissible to procreate with any non-human creature.

  4. It would not be morally permissible to being in a romantic relationship with any non-human creature.

That is my best shot at answering from a Catholic moral perspective.

So, no Mr. Spock…?

On this one - murder of an innocent is never permissible, so you couldn’t do that, even to sustain your own life, which even if you ended up dying, you would not be guilty of murder - and sustaining the eternal soul is the most important thing here, not the mortal body. Also, I think you could procure blood without killing, if indeed that is what you needed. It would be along the lines of you being a transfusion recipient.

Why would it be morally required? what if you had a willing donor? I mean come on; the idea that a vampire even CAN kill from drinking someone dry in a matter of seconds from two tiny little puncture wounds is laughable. The question here becomes, is there an instinct to kill, as you mentioned, or merely a need for blood?

Can the vamp obtain sustenance without killing his victim? One need not lose all their blood to bleed to death, obviously.

Are the victims killed, or only vampirized?

As to the alien issue; if they can procreate with human beings, that would make them human, as AIUI only the same species can breed together. There would be no moral issue.

ICXC NIKA

Becoming a vampire tends to also involve being fed vampiric blood after being fed ON, at least in more recent lore. I think considering ohysiology, and the relatively small puncture wounds involved, it’s altogether possible that a victim be niether killed nor sired.

It’s funny that there are all these little rules worked out ahead of your decision. How could anyone know all these rules while all these extremely unique situations suddenly pop up.

For instance what is so fantastically unique about Human blood that an animal’s can’t do? To require only Human blood must mean something to do with the immortal soul. Is drinking Human blood somehow a have a spiritual connection to destroying the Human soul? Or is this just a purely chemical thing. Surely if it is just some physical need the unique chemical can be isolated and artificially produced. Until then you’re just short one V vitamin.

I’m not too keen on partially draining others or draining the blood bank for any extended period of time; too many people depend on the blood bank to get them through normal emergencies. If forced to I’d find a way to lock myself up or have others lock me up.

  1. If you were turned into a vampire, and driven to drink the blood of humans to survive, and you would be driven by instinct to kill eventually, would it be morally permissible to commit suicide, to prevent yourself from murdering other people?

Really, it would depend on your theology of vampirism.

If you’re in the Buffyverse, and vampires are essentially hitch-hiking demons in the body of a person they killed (whose soul has passed on to the afterlife), it’s not really an issue. “You” are not in there, a demon is.

That would seem to be a likely scenario, if we accept the possibility of vampires - a vampire would essentially be a dybbuk animating a corpse instead of a living person, so the person would not be held responsible for the acts committed through use of his body. A demon would not think of committing suicide (and cannot presumably be destroyed as a creature of pure spirit), but it would be a moral good for a Catholic to destroy the vampire using the appropriate methods. Probably that would mean the inhabiting demon would be released (essentially an exorcism by physical rather than religious intervention).

Saint Marcellus of Paris, whose feast day falls on the day after Hallowe’en (All Saint’s Day), was said to have destroyed a vampire in a cemetery outside Paris (where he was Bishop) who inhabited the body of a dead adulteress who was preying on the people of Paris and who had turned some into vampires. St. Marcellus hunted her down, followed her into her tomb, and destroyed her to protect his flock. This was said to have happened in early decades of the 3rd century A.D. St. Marcellus is the Patron Saint of Vampire Hunters, which is among the coolest patronages a Saint could have.

If we are talking about some sort of vampire that still retains its soul, or where a soul was incorporated back into the vampire’s body, a la Angel (which seems theologically unlikely), or a demon who developed compunctions, a la Spike (also unlikely), I would suppose that the appropriate moral action would be to abstain from killing another until the vampire expired from lack of sustenance.

Vampires are real?! I’ve never heard of St. Marcellus; if you have a online source for that story, hook me up with a link :thumbsup:

For answering the vampire dilemma, everyone, just use whatever theology you’re familiar with. Thank you for you’re interesting answers everyone ^^

To clarify for dilemmas 3 & 4, the relationships are both consensual. And assume in dilemma 4, the robotic being made itself somehow able to procreate.

Also, I’ve thought of a new dilemma, though transhumanism might make it a reality…

  1. Would it be morally objectionable to increase one’s own life span, or achieve immortality, by moving your brain to a cyborg body? Or, undergoing modern breakthroughs in medicine to prevent aging? Or alternatively, say a baby was born with an incurable disease, would moving its brain to an artificial body, resulting in immortality, be permissible?

Well, as a writer, my favorite vampire lore is one I’ve based on traditional, old school horror with a bit of religious symboism mixed in. I’m no Braum Stoker, but hey XD

in my canon, vampirism is analagous to original sin. It was never meant to befall humans, and was instead spread from a vampiric beast (thus the old lores about hideous vampires) As such, a vampire, being human, still retains a human and immortal soul. Just as with original sin, a vampire may choose to act in it’s bloodlust and kill, or to act against it and do the bare minimum to survive. Some will struggle against it their immortal lives, while others will learn to live with whatever choice they’ve made. They needn’t kill to survive, just as we don’t need to sin, but the draw is always, always there. That’s my mythology, and in such, I would say no, a vampire couldn’t kill themselves, because they are still in posession of an immortal soul.

Why does it matter what kind of zombies they are?! If its gonna try to eat me I am going out with all guns ablazing. Even if they do have souls I don’t think It would make a difference. I am still shooting it. Self defense, if it will cause harm to me or others.
If I was a vampire I would try to feed on animals, and if worst came to the worst and the killer instincts took over, there are plenty of deer and other critters to feast on. It’s kind of funny how vampires never seem to get diseases as a result of blood poisoning or other viruses.
I’m not even going to address to other questions. That’s just bizarre.
:cool:

They do not get blood poisoning because, aren’t they already undead? They have nO natural life, so they need the life that is in the blood of other bodies.

This would also be why their bodies do not become clogged up with the clotting factors from several blood types in their body.

ICXC NIKA

It would not a priori be impermissible – but it would IMO not work because the human soul is LIFE; it will only hang out in a LIVING body. An “artificial body” might look human, have working skin and nose, even feet with wiggly toes; but it would not be alive and so would not hold the human soul.

After human death takes down what we know as the human body, the soul moves on into Eternity and the pneumatikon soma.

ICXC NIKA

The best treatment of vampires I’ve seen in a long time is in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files novels. They follow the cases of P.I. Harry Dresden, who is also Chicago’s only professional wizard. One of his best friends is a very Catholic knight (sword and all), but that is a tale for another time. In the Dresdenverse, vampires are divided into Courts, by type. The Red, Black and White Courts have appeared thus far.

And now, to complicate this discussion:

***The Red Court **of Vampires are less human-like than the White Court. Instead they are slimy bat-like creatures hidden behind incredibly sensuous human costumes (made of an outer skin). … They use these costumes to trick their prey into being more comfortable and to hide in plain sight. They are incredibly strong and fast, and can shake off any injury quickly. The Red Court is vulnerable to sunlight and to having their bellies cut open, which can spill the blood they have drunk and eventually kill them. Their saliva contains a potent magical narcotic which gives the prey a euphoric feeling and is highly addictive, allowing the Red Court to control their victims rather easily. The narcotic lowers the victim’s inhibitions while dulling the pain of the vampire’s bite. Addicted humans have been shown to go to great lengths to protect their vampiric masters, and willingly provide information from the mortal community as needed.

The Red Court is also capable of transforming ordinary humans into vampires in a two-step process: the human is first infected with the vampiric thirst for blood (gaining supernatural speed, strength and endurance in the process) and then completes the change into the demonic form upon killing a human victim in their first feeding. Infected humans with sufficient strength of will have been known to refrain from feeding for an indefinite length of time (magical bonds, regular exposure to sunlight, and avoiding physical intimacy all help), but no cure has yet been found for the “half-vampire” infected state.

**The Black Court *comprises the most well-known kind of vampire, the reanimated bloodthirsty corpses popularized by Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In fact, in the Dresdenverse, the publication of that book at the behest of the White Council is believed to be the primary cause of the Court’s downfall, as Stoker supposedly published the book as a “how-to” manual to hunt the Black Court. Black Court vampires still inhabit the human bodies that they lived in before they were turned into vampires, with the only difference being their bodies rotting like zombies in the time that they have been undead. Black Court vampires possess all the classic strengths and weaknesses of Stoker’s Dracula: they can lift and throw cars with one hand and crash through concrete walls without harm; but must sleep in their native soil and fear garlic and objects of faith. Sunlight, while deadly to younger members of the Black Court, is merely an inconvenience to older members, weakening them significantly, as in Stoker’s novel. …[A]n ancient Black Court vampire, has demonstrated the ability to use magic in the same way wizards do. The Black Court is currently the smallest and (politically) weakest of the Courts, although those few who survived the purges caused by Stoker’s book are among the strongest and most cunning monsters in the world by virtue of sheer Darwinian necessity. They also have the ability to enthrall humans to be passive and submissive, and cultivate “Renfields” (another Stoker reference and similarity to Stoker’s Dracula). Where thralls may have their minds restored with minimal lasting effects, Renfields are thralls that have been altered to the point of psychosis, and their minds are too far gone to be returned to normal. A Renfield has had his strength and agility augmented and will kill in a berserker frenzy until put down. Until let loose by their controlling vampire, a Renfield will appear as a normal thrall in a trance-like state, however their true nature can be seen with a Wizard’s Sight.

It’s not so easy for a vampire to live and let live…

It’s in the book “This Saint Will Save Your Life” by Thomas Craughwell, a collection of patron saints.

books.google.com/books?id=1huGWf-MHcUC&pg=PT1315&lpg=PT1315&dq=saint+marcellus+vampire&source=bl&ots=2vpUd1IwZ1&sig=ECGexTnRlTSO5NL7OFinUdOSegw&hl=en#v=onepage&q=saint%20marcellus%20vampire&f=false

A lot of folkloric events are attributed to the early saints. Other versions of the story say her spirit appeared as a giant serpent that St. Marcellus destroyed.

The Church has no opinion, as far as I know, on vampirism. If we accept the possibility that demons can possess a living body, which many Catholics do believe and is biblical in origin, I see no theological reason why a demon could not inhabit and direct a corpse. But no, IMO there are probably no vampires.

The eccentric scholar and demonologist Montague Summer, who wrote a series of scholarly books about vampires in the 1920s claimed to be a Catholic priest (but probably wasn’t, although he was at one time apparently an Anglican cleric) and appeared to be a believer in the reality of vampires, but he was a pretty sketchy character and may have profaned the Eucharist.

unicorngarden.com/vamp01.htm

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montague_Summers

Almost every culture has a vampiric myth (as well as a shapeshifter myth) in its folklore, so who knows? (I have my own theory about why that is, but it doesn’t involve the supernatural.)

Vampires: If it was the only way to save a life, I think sacrificing oneself would be morally right. But if we’re talking Dracula, those Vampires are Demonically possesed corpses, with, if I’m not mistaken, the human soul still trapped and unable to go to heaven until the vampire has been slain. So killing a vampire in that sense would be morally required, to help the recently departed’s saoul and to protect others.

Zombies: They’re dead and animalistic, the only moral concern is respect for the bodies of the dead.

Interspecies romance: I don’t think the Catholic Church has any official pronouncements on that…

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