Theoretical Question

Imagine you are flying a small aircraft by yourself. You see a nuclear missile coming right at your airplane. You know what it is, and you have enough time to dodge it. However, if you dodge it, 500,000,000 people die. If you choose to hit it, you save the 500,000,000 people, but you die.

Would it be, theoretically, morally correct to kill yourself to save countless other lives?

Bad theoretical situation. A nuclear missile is travelling so fast that you can’t react.

Again, you phrased you question wrong. You would NOT be killing yourself to jump in front of a large destructive thing in order to save a greater number of people.

It is called “Doing your duty”. Now, if Duty requires your life, so be it. But the purpose is trying to stop it which is your Duty.

Since utility is not the measure of morality. There is not enough information provided to judge.

[quote=CCC]1750 The morality of human acts depends on:

  • the object chosen;
  • the end in view or the intention;
  • the circumstances of the action. The object, the intention, and the circumstances make up the “sources,” or constitutive elements, of the morality of human acts.

Think this through!

First read John 15:13.

No consider (since it is an appropriate liturgical time to do this), Christ’s death on the cross.

Did he not willing enter into his passion. He accepted death to save us. And, Christ NEVER sinned.

So now, ask yourself the question again, and see what comes to mind!

Peace and all good!

I guess it does indeed sound rather Christ like. It would not be suicide, since the pilot knows that the missile will kill millions if he/she does not crash into it.

It would absolutely be morally correct. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

Not theoretical, really. I am told that in the Cold War, US Air Force pilots were trained to do just that if they were out of ammo or guns jammed and there was no other way to stop a nuclear-armed bomber from dropping it’s bombs on America. Crash hard and bring it down.

There is a clear answer in the CCC that answers this very question. It is good and just and right (not sinful) to provide one’s life for the sake of others.

I’ve read it before, but cannot recall where, as the book itself is quite extensive. If anyone else can help point out the passage, I would be appreciative.

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