Thursday, May 24, 2007

Survivor Fiji, Dreamz and Ethical Dilemmas

If you have been watching Survivor Fiji as I have, you will have seen an amazing ethical dilemma unfold. A few weeks ago the contestants played a reward challenge for a car. Dreamz, an African American ex-homeless young man, had expressed his desire to win the car. At the challenge however, Yau Man a really amazing Asian man won the car. After the challenge he offered to give the car to Dreamz on one condition; that if Dreamz and he were together in the last four, and if Dreamz won the immunity challenge, that he would give immunity to Yau Man. At this point Dreamz agreed, swearing in the name of God and his son that he would honour the commitment. He also restated that he was a man of his word and wanted his son to see that.

Well as it played out, Dreamz did win what turned out to be the final immunity challenge and was in the position envisaged at the giving of the car. When the crunch came at Tribal Council, Dreamz chose not to honour his word. He realised if he did give immunity to Yau, he would be voted out and lose his chance of a million dollars! So, he broke his word and Yau was promptly voted out. Note too, that Dreamz had expressed that he is a Christian.

The question; should he have honoured his word?

In favour of his decision is that Survivor is just a game and the name of the game is outwitting, outplaying and outlasting the opposition. One can play the game in a different way to 'real life' in the 'real world'; lying, tricking and deceiving. This is legitimate because the rules of the game include all such things. As such, he did nothing wrong. In fact, he should be congratulated for playing well, for tricking Yau, and knocking him out of the game. Christians should not be critical for he was merely playing well. His witness is not blurred because he is entitled to play the game by a different set of rules.

Against this is that as a Christian, Dreamz must not live a dualistic life. Survivor is no different to any part of life. As a Christian he should live 24/7, living ethically including keeping his word. Survivor while a game, intersects with real life, the winner getting $1m and in this case, a $60,000 car. The world is watching, and as such, his witness should include keeping his integrity. He thus brings disgrace to the name of Christ in not keeping his word. He also used the name of God in making his vow; as such, he has broken his vow.

The latter is the way that Boo another contestant took it. He criticised Dreamz for being an immature Christian and stated that he would pray for him to become mature and not live such an inconsistent life.

So which is it? Did Dreamz play it right? What is a Christian response?

I will hold giving my view just in case there is someone out there who reads this and wants to comment... in a day or so, I will give my perspective?


Fi S said...

I didn't watch this season, but I did catch bits and pieces on Wednesday, what's more, I caught the bit where Dreamz was explaining his intention to win the immunity, and his promise to Yau Man. I think caught it again where he was asked whether he would follow through on his promise, I wasn't particularly surprised when he said no - it happens often in this game (I did not know he was proclaiming to be a Christian as I missed that part.) Did he play the game right? Sure if his intention was to outwit and outplay. Did he play it right as a Christian? Definately not.

The fact that he brought his son in on the deal was bad enough, but to include God in on it too? Sorry, but that doesn't cut it with me.

Through this lack of ability to keep his integrity I reckon that he took the forbidden fruit, he was tempted, he followed through on this temptation, and now he'll have to face the consequences what ever they may be.

Also, he went back on his promise, he didn't let his yes be yes or his no be no. He lied to manipulate the outcome.

Jeff pointed out that in his decision he affected 3 peoples lives, his own, Yau Man's and the guy who won, but I wonder if he affected more - his sons and the rest of his family. I wonder if the son will not trust his Dad's promises any more, or did his son learn from his Dad that you can make promises, but in reality words do not mean squat?

I also wonder if Dreamz has now taken to heart the comment Boo made about him being an immature Christian, and he will begin to live his life consistantly for Christ.

That's what I think anyway.

Dr Mark K said...

Good comments my friend.