A Question of Atheist Scruples – round 7

I really enjoy these thought exercises. Here’s today’s selection.

Your mate has been unfaithful. Do you leave him/her?

Monogamy is a rarity in the animal world. Even in the more specific realm of primates (which we are) there are only a few species that mate that way. In the even more narrow realm of human cultural history, there are ample examples of societies that organized mating and relationships along other, equally satisfying lines. Monogamy, as practiced now, may be more a product of a culture that treated women as property (“Do you take this woman?”) and it was expected that any children produced by her would be from the seed of the man she married. Property often transferred down the father’s line of the family. That’s why adultery has been considered a sin. Temptation, too. Even the briefest thought of entertaining another person is supposedly enough to send a soul to hell.

If two people have agreed that their relationship, however long they expect to have it, will be a monogamous one, then discovering one person has strayed… well, it’s a severe breach of trust to say the least. Some reaction may have to do with how long the relationship has lasted. If it’s only been a couple weeks and the guy is already plowing another field, then I made a mistake in picking him. I’d feel like an idiot but be glad I hadn’t really gotten too serious with him. If it’s been months and I’ve really cared about that person and discover secret trysts have been going on, it’d be a lot more devastating. But, if my interest in that person has been waning as well, I think I’d use the betrayal as the open door out of what clearly isn’t a relationship to be in anymore.

If it was someone I felt like I couldn’t live without, maybe I’d put up with the nights he didn’t come home, so long as there were still some nights he did.. but I can’t actually see myself wanting to be in that situation either. If I didn’t sign up for an “open” relationship, I don’t want to find out by accident that I’ve been in one all along.

During a discussion with a seatmate on a plane, you promise to send a relevant magazine article. Do you actually do it.?

The version of game I take these questions from came from the mid 1980s before the internet made information gathering so much easier. In the days of mailing, maybe I would have taken their address and gotten around to sending it eventually, but probably not. I tend to procrastinate with that kind of thing. With email, it’s a lot easier. I probably wouldn’t even have to send the article; I could just pass along what site I found it on and he or she could get it at the airport upon landing.

A neighbour’s kid finds $30 on your driveway and gives it to you. No one claims it. Do you give the money to the kid?

I’d be totally surprised the kid gave me the money in the first place. What a morally sound kid. If I found $30 on someone’s driveway, I don’t know if I’d go to the door and deliver it. Depends on whether or not anyone saw me pick it up, I suppose. If I later heard my neighbour griping over the loss of cash, I’d probably recall what I picked up and pass it over, though. Money is one of those weird things. If I found a whole wallet with ID and cash in, I’d deliver the wallet to the authorities untouched but bills flying around apparently ownerless? I refer the courts to the case of Finders vs. Keepers… I’d let the kid keep the money.

Last question for readers.

You reserve seats at a local theatre by phone (without paying). A few hours before curtain, you decide not to go. Do you bother to cancel?

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2 Responses to A Question of Atheist Scruples – round 7

  1. I’d like to say I would call back and cancel. I wouldn’t want to be ‘responsible’ for someone who shows up at the box office an hour or two before the show was supposed to start seeking last minute tickets and get turned away because they’re already holding a pair of unpaid last minute tickets.

  2. […] A Question of Atheist Scruples – round 7 […]

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