- This topic has 22 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 1 year, 10 months ago by Sara Cobbler.
July 17, 2015 at 3:21 pm #3005Aden LewisGuest
Janner’s escape from the Fork Factory involved stealing and bribery. Was it ok in those circumstances for him to do those things? And what do you think makes it ok/wrong? If you have an opinion, please let me know. Personally, I don’t know what to think.
July 18, 2015 at 1:13 am #3006Miss MaryGuest
Very good questions….I had not thought of the morality of what Janner did here at all. I may have to go reread some of this part and ponder a bit and get back to you, but very interesting questions.
July 18, 2015 at 4:47 pm #3013Madame SidlerKeymaster
Aden, that is a great ethics question. I am also going to have to gloan on it a little before replying. Do we have any ethicists in the library, I wonder?
July 18, 2015 at 9:04 pm #3019Miss LindaGuest
Those are really good questions, and they take some thought. I’m not sure I have “the answers” but I do have an opinion. But just in case, I reserve the right to change my mind if I learn more and find out I was wrong.
I have less trouble with the question of bribery than of the question of stealing. Why? Because I’m not sure that bribery is actually wrong. It probably depends on how it is defined. Merriam Webster online defines bribery this way-
: the act or practice of giving or taking a bribe
Bribe is defined as-
1: money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust
2: something that serves to induce or influence
Those definitions seem really broad to me, but they do raise some good questions. I recently had someone pressure wash my house. I doubt he would have done it just because I asked him to, but he was happy to do it because I paid him. Technically, that means I bribed him to do it. I don’t think that was a wrong action, either on my part or his. I think bribery becomes problematic when someone is paying another person who is in a position of power to do something wrong or unjust or misuse the power they hold. In Janner’s case, he was paying Mobrik to put Sara on duty at the portcullis, which isn’t automatically a bad thing for Mobrik to do. Indirectly, Janner was paying Mobrik to help the children escape. To me, that sounds like a good and right thing to do. It is a pity Mobrik had to be paid to do the right thing, but I don’t think Janner was wrong to bribe him.
The stealing is a much more difficult thing. Not stealing is included in the teachings of most of the major world religions, and as a Christian, it is definitely included in mine. From the 10 commandments to the teachings of Jesus to the letters of Paul, it is clear that stealing is wrong and not an appropriate action for someone who belongs to God.
The question then becomes “is it ok to sin against someone who is already sinning against you?” The Overseer and Mobrik were doing horrible things to the children. If there was anyone who deserved having their things taken, it would be people like them, since they were taking everything from the children they kidnapped and held captive. They don’t deserve to be treated well, if the way we decide how to treat people is based on how they treat us. But Jesus’ teaching wasn’t “do unto others as they do unto you.” It was “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” And the way God has dealt with us has always been far beyond what our actions have deserved. Jesus taught us that we are supposed to be children of our Father, who gives to both the righteous and the wicked. So if the Maker is like the God I know (and I think He is), then what Janner did was still wrong in His eyes.
In saying that, I hope that I don’t sound too harsh. I know Janner was in a really difficult position. I’m not sure he was thinking about whether his actions were right or wrong at all, his thoughts were so focused on escape. I know he thought this was what he had to do to get out of the factory. Perhaps it was. But perhaps it wasn’t. I’m quite confident that the Maker could have provided another way out without Janner needing to do something wrong, if Janner had been willing to wait for Him to do so. And I expect the Maker still helped him, regardless of his wrong actions. The Maker is always helping those who don’t deserve it.
Even the best things we do, from the highest motives we know, are often mixed with sin. I wish I could say that in a similar situation, I would do what I believed to be right. But I can’t say that. I know myself well enough to know that I often choose to do wrong in situations that are much easier than the one Janner was in.
July 18, 2015 at 9:35 pm #3020Miss MaryGuest
I have not yet done the reading I intended to do before commenting, but as far as my memory goes, I tend to agree with Miss Linda about what was right and what was not.
I also seem to remember that Janner was not thinking very clearly about himself or the Maker at this point. He was having a hard time in the Fork Factory remembering who he was at all because of the dehumanizing nature of the place (being treated as a tool is tough mentally) and the exhaustion of the work, and being so completely cut off from the rest of the world. When you are having that much trouble keeping a sense of your own identity, remembering who the Maker is and what He is like also becomes extremely hard. If I remember right, Janner’s first experience in the box came right before he stole the apples. During those two days he went through a period of crying out to the Maker for answers and help or comfort or SOMETHING and he did not hear anything….in the worst crisis of his life. He had memories of his family and important people and things and ideas that were valuable to him, so he came out of the box with a determination that he must escape, but he did not clearly know that the Maker heard him or cared, or that He could be trusted to handle this, so Janner acted on impulse when he saw the apples there and took them.
It worked to get him out, but his plan only got him out, Sara was left behind in a rather bad situation. Janner ends up feeling guilty for a long time about that, though I don’t know if he ever feels guilty about stealing the apples (as he grows to know the Maker he may someday realize that his situation was not all up to him, and then he might, but many times we don’t pay enough attention to what we do to notice how it doesn’t match what we say is right). In the end we are responsible to obey, not to make everything turn out the way it should. That can be really hard to live with though when it looks like it isn’t going to turn out well.
July 20, 2015 at 9:10 am #3026Aden LewisGuest
Thank you! I appreciate your help and will think about what you have said, too. I agree with Miss Linda that Janner’s bribery was not bad, and I defiantly think the stealing was bad.
If anyone else has any other opinions, I would still like to hear yours. Thank you!
July 20, 2015 at 3:25 pm #3031AnnelieseGuest
I think about things like that too. In some movies and books, characters will lie when they are in a sticky situation, and I often wonder if it’s right or not. I would tend to think it’s not, but in many instances, someone’s life is in danger. I’ve never really understood this; whether it’s ok to lie when someone’s life is at stake. From what was said about stealing, though, I would have to think that it’s still not ok. As Believers, we must trust God through situations like that. However, unbelievers wouldn’t think about that sort of thing. I’m not sure if I’m getting this across the way I have it in my mind, but I hope you get the idea. I would love other people thoughts and opinions on this topic. It has always confused me.
July 20, 2015 at 11:54 pm #3034Miss MaryGuest
You are getting it across just fine to me. The problem is that it is a really hard question. I would love to say that it is an easy one for all Christians to answer, but I can promise it isn’t, it was heatedly argued (way too heatedly really) among people who went to college with me and there were Christians on both sides of the hypothetical question of whether it was right to do something wrong if a greater good is being served. In our class discussion it was stealing a medicine to save a life.
I came in on the side that it is not right to steal, but my reasoning is that God is the one who ultimately gives or takes life, not me, not sickness, not doctors, not medicine. If He says not to steal (and He did) then I should not steal (though I have stolen before for things as trivial as jellybeans so I am not going to pretend that I know what I would actually DO under those circumstances), because ultimately He is the source of what is right and wrong, and the one who must ultimately defeat evil and set the world right.
The main opposing argument was that life is more important that money, so it is right to preserve life even if it costs some greedy person or company money. I agree that life is more important than money and that people (including ME) should give freely and generously to save life. I can’t however support forcibly TAKING freely and generously from what is not one’s own, especially while at the same time saying we are doing it because we are believers in God and following His values. God does value people, and he really does not value our currency much at all (except as it shows love…but really what good is dollars or euros to God) but life…He himself is the source of it, He IS an endless supply, why would He need or want us to disobey Him in one area to show how much we value something He supplies us in another? He specifically said not to be overcome with evil, but to overcome evil with good.
I find it interesting in the Bible that there are cases of people lying to preserve life (the hebrew midwives around the time Moses was born) who were not judged for it, but were blessed by God for refusing to kill the babies. There are also times historically that people of conscious refused to lie even in dire circumstances and God protected them anyway (Betsy Ten Boom in The Hiding Place, when the men in her family where hiding under the kitchen floor to escape the Nazis).
Most of the time though telling the truth in dangerous circumstances does not get miraculous protection. That is why it takes so much faith to do it and why it is so rare to see, even among people who love God. It is hard enough to find people who are really fully honest even in uncomfortable or awkward circumstances. I generally think of myself as an honest person, but after having been around certain other people in my church for a while I have started to notice what an edited version of things I sometimes tell. It is not something that I would usually think of as a lie, but sometimes there is more deception in it than there should be.
Don’t know if any of that helped, but I do get the quandary and have thought about it.
July 24, 2015 at 9:56 pm #3049Sam DurgaGuest
Wow Aden. I read that part and completely passed over the ethics. Nice catch! After looking at it for a while, here’s my analysis.
Here are the facts. Janner stole four apples. He then bribed the ridgerunner Mobrik to make the necessary arrangements for an escape. What I come back to is that Mobrik is quite possibly in the wrong as much as Janner, and I don’t mean the enslaving-hundreds-of-children part.
The ruling on Janner: In the Bible, Rahab lies- which is wrong- to cover the tracks of two Israelite spies. She was commended for her courage because her intent was to glorify God and serve Him. In the Fork! Factory!, however, Janner realizes his intent is selfish. All he wants is to get out. In my mind that would make Janner’s stealing wrong. As for bribery, Scripture seems to place more influence on how foolish it is to accept a bribe rather than tell people not to bribe anyone. So I really don’t know if bribing is wrong or not.
The ruling on Mobrik: Mobrik tells Janner that unless the boy has fruit, Mobrik won’t do anything for Janner’s benefit. It seems to me that Mobrik cares more about fruit than the fate of the Fork! Factory!. As Janner steals apples and bribes Mobrik, he is merely giving the ridgerunner what he asked for– fruit. I do not in any way justify stealing, which is repeatedly denounced in Scripture. But I do think it may be more complicated in this particular scenario than in others. And as mentioned, Mobrik was very foolish to accept Janner’s bribe.
I’m really not an ethicist. I don’t have all the answers. But after pooling all the facts, my conclusion is that Janner was provoked into doing wrong. Mobrik got what he literally asked for. The fortunate thing is, the Maker used all of this evil for a greater good- and He still does today.
July 27, 2015 at 8:15 am #3061Aden LewisGuest
Thank you for your opinions. Honestly I can’t take all the honor for the question. My mom helped to point it out, so she deserves some of the credit. I have greatly enjoyed reading all of your comments, and found them ALL helpful. If people still would like to share their opinion, I will always be open to them. Thank you all!
August 3, 2015 at 10:53 am #3157AnnelieseGuest
A comment about bribery: I know the Bible says not to accept a bribe, but it seems that then giving a bribe would be causing another to be tempted to sin. And the Bible also says not to cause another to sin. Just a thought!
August 8, 2015 at 8:40 pm #3199Miss LindaGuest
That is a good point and I think it would apply to a lot of cases. I just want to be careful not to claim something as truth that the Bible doesn’t actually say… it never actually says that giving a bribe is wrong. There are several places in the law that say that God’s people are not to take a bribe, because it blinds the person’s judgement. Accepting a bribe to harm someone or to deny justice to someone is strongly condemned. But strangely, bribery is spoken of in a positive light in a couple places in Proverbs. That doesn’t necessarily mean we are to copy that behavior, but it does imply that bribery is often quite effective.
If someone is doing something unjust or wrong, that is obviously a sin. If they are doing it because someone is paying them, the action itself is just as wrong and the motivation for the action is also wrong… their greed in accepting the bribe is also sinful. I think it would also be wrong for the person bribing them, because they would be encouraging someone else to sin.
The question in this case is whether Mobrik was doing anything wrong in cooperating with Janner’s request. If he was, then Janner paying him to do it would also be wrong, because it was leading someone into sin. But if Mobrik’s action wasn’t wrong, then things get a lot more confusing.
It might still have been wrong for Janner to offer the bribe, but if it was, I can’t actually explain why. Paying someone to do something isn’t wrong in itself. Is it wrong for a Mom to say “work really hard on your chores this week and if you get them all done we will go for ice cream on Friday?” Technically speaking, that probably is a bribe. The kids are supposed to be doing their chores anyway, they shouldn’t need to be paid something extra to do them. On the other hand, she isn’t trying to influence the kids to do something wrong, she is trying to influence them to do something right. Maybe it is still a misguided approach, but it seems a stretch to say it is automatically sinful for the Mom to offer because it would be sinful for the kids to accept the ice cream. I could even argue that in the book of Revelation when Jesus is sending messages to the different churches, that the rewards promised to those who overcome look a lot like a “bribe”. We are supposed to be following Him faithfully anyway, yet he promises many different things that seem designed to encourage the readers to keep going even when things are hard. Obviously He isn’t doing anything wrong in offering those things, nor are the saints doing something wrong in accepting them. I can’t explain how that is different than bribing someone to do something right, like Janner did, but maybe I’m just missing something.
I don’t have any clear answers, so I think you are right that this is something to think about. I certainly don’t want to be influencing others to do things that are wrong or damaging their relationship to their Maker.
August 18, 2015 at 1:52 pm #3260AnnelieseGuest
It definitely is more than a handful to think about! That’s a good point! My mom does that kind of thing, and I’ve never considered it to be wrong, either. I will definitely put some thought into this, as well as read that section of the Saga.
April 28, 2019 at 8:41 am #35843Kalmar WingfeatherGuest
GREAT QUESTION! In my opinion big bro was definitely deserves a whacking 13 or not. OH GEEZ THERE HE IS BYYYEEEE!
April 28, 2019 at 8:44 am #35844Janner WingfeatherGuest
KAL GET BACK HERE! But it is a good question, and one that Kalmar definitely can’t answer correctly. So well Um.. at the time it DIDN’T feel bad, because I wasn’t thinking about whether it was wrong or not. I saw a way to escape and I followed it. But thinking back I probably should’ve used a bit less sneakery, and tried harder to help Sara.
June 18, 2019 at 5:03 am #37967LelaGuest
I think that if the bribe is to make someone do something good, it’s okay, if it’s to do something wrong, it’s bad.
After all, when we pay someone to paint a room, or something like that, isn’t it kind of like bribing them?
June 18, 2019 at 6:21 pm #37978Sara CobblerGuest
Janner was captured by evil people, and taken to an evil place, and he was escaping to do one thing: Protect the king. So maybe he wasnt really doing those things for just his sake, but for Kalmar’s and his family’s sake? Those are just some thoughts.
June 19, 2019 at 2:54 am #37983LelaGuest
Killing people is okay if it is the only way to survive,
June 22, 2019 at 2:06 pm #38127Sara CobblerGuest
I think you’re right
June 23, 2019 at 8:27 am #38149LelaGuest
So does that mean it’s okay to lie or bribe if it saves someone’s life?
June 23, 2019 at 9:15 am #38156Sara CobblerGuest
I’m not sure- a bit scared to answer that one.
July 7, 2019 at 7:46 am #38846LelaGuest
It says in proverbs 30 v 8-9 ‘Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become pore and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.’
Also Rahab lied to protect the two spies in Jericho, so, at least by the way I look at it;
if lying, bribing, or even in some cases killing, are the only way to protect someone/yourself from death, I repeat; THE ONLY WAY, then it is okay, though still, only if it is the only way.
July 7, 2019 at 8:57 am #38853Sara CobblerGuest
I think that makes since.
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