Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Virtue Ethics: An Ethical Development Program for High School Youth

Leader Resource 1: Generosity Dilemmas

Part of Virtue Ethics

Dilemma 1

There are countless organizations through which you can give money to help those in need. How do you choose? Are children more worthy than animals? What criteria do you use? Does your family use the same criteria? Imagine walking into your congregation and seeing two tables. One is collecting money for Heifer, International; the other, for Greenpeace. Greenpeace endeavors to protect sea life and ecosystems. Greenpeace speaks out and stages actions to call attention to environments that are being endangered by human activity. You like that. However, sometimes, their tactics have been called unlawful, disrespectful, and even dangerous to human lives. Heifer gives animals and plants to people. You like that, too. But some vegetarians and vegans object because many of the animals are eaten. On the other hand, the animals are never given solely for food: All the animals (and plants) provide something the people can sell to increase their household incomes, like wool, milk, or eggs. The income has allowed many families to send children to school or send family members to doctors. You want to give a dollar bill. Neither table has change. Which do you choose and why?

Dilemma 2

Do the means justify the ends? What if your bank made a mistake and deposited an extra $100 in your account? Which would be better: notifying the bank of its mistake or giving the money to charity?