Heroes’ Dilemma and Believers’ Dilemma


Based on our knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, we choose. We sometimes cannot choose both, two or more and nothing. We either believe what we choose or not because of our intentions. Heroes’ dilemma and Believers’ dilemma are about two choices that both have negative results when chosen, but the person may choose the one better than the other based on his character. The author gave twelve examples, eight examples for heroes’ dilemma and four examples for believers’ dilemma. The choice is the good. Heroes’ dilemma requires an act of heroism and believers’ dilemma requires an act of courage. Actions analyses and textual analyses are observed.

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Fortunado, I. (2016) Heroes’ Dilemma and Believers’ Dilemma. Open Journal of Philosophy, 6, 251-255. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2016.63024.

Received 2 May 2016; accepted 30 July 2016; published 3 August 2016

1. Introduction

Freedom is considered as the highest value or most important value (Detmer, 1988) . A dilemma is a problem offering at least two possibilities, neither of which is practically acceptable (Anonymous, 2011a) . Love is a virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection―“the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another” (Anonymous, 2011b) . And it may describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one’s self or animals (Fromm, 1956) . This paper tells about some people’s jobs and actions signifying heroism and courage.

This manuscript is related to Hobson’s choice in the sense that everyone is given a free choice: take it or leave it. A Hobson’s choice is a free choice in which only one option is offered. As a person may refuse to take that option, the choice is therefore between taking the option or not: “take it or leave it” (Anonymous, 2011c) .

The aim of this paper is to give importance to the work and actions of people wherein they have to be put into a situation where they may suffer a consequence because of their good choice.

Heroes’ dilemma is about a choice to be made where lives are at stakes.

Here are typical examples of the dilemma:

1. Firefighter Burned in Line of Duty―VICE News

2. In modern-day war, soldiers face enemies from all sides―Canoe News

3. Policeman Faces Death, The Way Soldiers Do―Google News

Believers’ dilemma is about a choice of a conviction.

Here are typical examples of the dilemma:

1. Some examples of white lies include: Telling your mother that her meatloaf is delicious when you really hate the meatloaf. Telling your friend that she doesn’t look fat in her dress when she asks because you don’t want to tell her that she’s gained a lot of weight and looks heavy―YourDictionary

2. Grades, rather than education, have become the major focus of many students. www.nocheating.org

Conviction to do goodness is what is common to heroes’ dilemma and believers’ dilemma. People are given options on which they will determine which is good. To do the right thing requires courage and sometimes requires heroism. They may sacrifice themselves for the benefit of another. Someone has to take the role of a believer or a hero.

Heroism is defined as a behavior showing great courage especially for a noble purpose. Courage is the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous.

Heroes’ Dilemma

This is a choice between letting others suffer and taking appropriate action to save, meaning sacrificing one’s self.

Note: Lives are treated as equals here. A victim’s life may be treated more than the hero’s life. It is better to be a hero than not to do anything to save someone.

Believers’ Dilemma

This is a choice between being strong about conviction even it brings bad results and letting a more non-ac- ceptable outcome.

Note: Two evils are approached. One choice is taken because of the character of the person. One choice has a more unacceptable outcome.

2. Situations: The Heroes’ Dilemma

2.1. The Non-Swimmer’s Dilemma

A not good swimmer tries to save lives even if it means losing his life.

Joe Alton Delaney summary

Delaney died on June 29, 1983 while attempting to rescue three children from drowning in a pond in Monroe in northeastern Louisiana. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Citizen’s Medal from U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan. While not officially retired, his jersey number while playing for the Chiefs, #37, has not been worn since his death. Delaney had a lifelong history of helping others, and once paid for the funeral of a former teacher whose family could not afford a proper service. On June 29, 1983, Delaney, who was living in nearby Ruston, went with friends to Critter’s Creek, an amusement center at Chennault Park in Monroe, Louisiana. While reportedly discouraging swimming children from venturing are too far out in a pond, Delaney dove in to save three children who were screaming for help, floundering in a water hole left by recent construction work. The water hole, which covered two acres and was 20 feet deep, was not intended for swimming but to add to the park’s aesthetics. Despite his inability to swim, Delaney nevertheless tried to rescue the children. One child managed to get out of the water without harm and another was taken to an emergency room where he later died; police recovered the body of Delaney and the remaining child. The amusement park has since been closed to the public (Deriso, 2008) .

To be a hero, some may be due to a repeated helping spirit. Every act is accumulated. Every act is an indication. It can be a risk of selflessness. When you put others welfare first before yours, you may be considered a hero. You may not need recognition for that. You are regarded as a loving person. For a selfless act, this is one of the examples that may serve as an inspiration or also may be emulated.

Another example is Cheng Changjiang.

“Moments after posing for a fun photograph at a local beauty spot, brave teenager Cheng Changjiang was dead. Despite being unable to swim, Cheng, 18, waded into the lake to save the lives of three young children who had got into trouble in the water. But the brave act cost the teenager―branded a “hero” by onlookers―his life. Cheng was enjoying the public holiday at the rural spot in Xinyang, at Henan province in central China, when tragedy struck. Wang Caihe, 11, and her younger brothers, aged six and four, were visiting the lake with their grandmother Wang Zhongyuan, 63. While her back was turned the trio went to the water’s edge. But the four-year-old slipped on the wet rocks, dragging his brother with him. When their older sister rushed to help, she also got into difficulty. Cheng, who was the only other person nearby, heard the children’s screams. With no thought for his own safety, the teenager-who could not swim-waded into the water, pulling two of the stricken children free from danger. By the time he returned to the water to rescue the third child, a local man, Wan Sun, 31, had rushed to help. Sun said: “He handed me the 11-year-old and I dragged her to the shore, but when I looked for the young man I could not see him. He must have slipped in deeper water.” “When we pulled him from the water he was dead, there was no chance to save his life.” “He gave his life for the children, he was a hero.” Paying tribute to their son, Cheng’s parents said he had gone to the popular spot to relax after getting stressed over his recent exams. Father Ling Wu said: “It was typical of him. He would not think about putting others before himself.” “I am proud of him but also devastated.” (Parry, 2013)

2.2. The Fireman’s Dilemma

A fireman is to rescue fire victims. That is his work even to the expense of one’s life.

2.3. The Soldier’s Dilemma

Every day, a soldier protects our peace. That is his work even to the expense of one’s life.

2.4. The Policeman’s Dilemma

Every day, a policeman protects our peace. That is his work even to the expense of one’s life.

2.5. The Security Guard’s Dilemma

Every day, a security guard protects his company. That is his work even to the expense of one’s life.

2.6. The Witness’s Dilemma

A crime is to happen. Will the witness choose to help by protecting the innocent?

2.7. The Dangerous Work Dilemma

Some work is dangerous in a way. The worker sacrifices his life for others.

2.8. The Road Dilemma

A person is to be hit by a car. Knowing a chance of getting hit or unable to save that person, will you choose to help?

3. Situations: The Believers’ Dilemma

3.1. Choosing Faith over Life

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz summary

On 27 September 1637, Ruiz and his companions were taken to the Nishizaka Hill, where they were tortured by being hung upside down a pit. This form of torture was known as tsurushi (??し) in Japanese or horca y hoya in Spanish. The method was supposed to be extremely painful: though the victim was bound, one hand was always left free so that victims may signal their desire to recant, leading to their release. Ruiz refused to renounce Christianity and died from blood loss and suffocation. His body was cremated and his ashes thrown into the sea (Anonymous, 2014) .

3.2. Sacrifices Are Sometimes Necessary

Sacrifices were necessary to stop the World War 2. Summary

In 1945, the Pacific War between the Empire of Japan and the Allies entered its fourth year. Of the 1.25 million battle casualties incurred by the United States in World War II, including both military personnel killed in action and wounded in action, nearly one million occurred in the twelve-month period from June 1944 to June 1945. December 1944 saw American battle casualties hit an all-time monthly high of 88,000 as a result of the German Ardennes Offensive (Giangreco, 2009) . Working in collaboration with the United Kingdom and Canada, with their respective projects Tube Alloys and Chalk River Laboratories (Roosevelt & Churchill, 1943) , the Manhattan Project, under the direction of Major General Leslie R. Groves, Jr., of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, designed and built the first atomic bombs (Jones, 1985: p. 89) . Preliminary research began in 1939, originally in fear that the German atomic bomb project would develop atomic weapons first (Jones, 1985: p. 12) . With the defeat of Germany in May 1945, plans shifted to using the bomb against Japan (Jones, 1985: p. 509-510) . Until August 9, Japan’s war council still insisted on its four conditions for surrender. On that day Hirohito ordered Kōichi Kido to “quickly control the situation ... because the Soviet Union has declared war against us”. He then held an Imperial conference during which he authorized minister Shigenori Tōgō to notify the Allies that Japan would accept their terms on one condition, that the declaration “does not comprise any demand which prejudices the prerogatives of His Majesty as a Sovereign ruler (Kido & Oka, 1966)”.

3.3. Cheating

Is it better to cheat than to fail? Some chooses to cheat and indulge themselves to earthly things.

3.4. Lying

We sometimes use white lies or lies so as not to hurt ourselves or other people.

4. Summary

Heroes’ Dilemma

Heroism needs recognition; some are not aware that their actions are incorrect; some troubles a person not knowing what to do. This is what we do in every day of our life: we know what is right and abhor what is evil. Joe Alton Delaney is willing to give up his life to save three children. He died but his heroism is not forgotten. The same is true for Cheng Changjiang and other heroes.

Believers’ Dilemma

Believer’s dilemma is about two choices. Which is better even if it brings bad results? Persons choose which is better for them and/or for others. San Lorenzo Ruiz chose his faith over his life. The United States chose to use nuclear power so that to stop the World War 2. The author also was put in some situations about the dilemma. He has done cheating which is bad and was very sorry about the thing. The author also had lied because he was hiding some emotions and was afraid of embarrassment and distrust.

5. Discussion

Heroes’ Dilemma

1) There may be records of depression about undone heroism.

2) Hobson’s choice must be put into consideration to disregard guilt.

3) Carelessness and malpractices must be avoided.

4) This is not to be confused with hero syndrome.

5) Other dilemmas may be derived from this like the eighth other stated dilemmas: the non-swimmer’s dilemma, the fireman’s dilemma, the soldier’s dilemma, the policeman’s dilemma, the security guard’s dilemma, the witness’s dilemma, the dangerous work dilemma and the road dilemma.

6) This also concerns animals like dogs performing heroism.

Believers’ Dilemma

1) We admit we don’t know everything but we choose for a purpose. Right or wrong depends on reality and laws.

2) Other examples of the dilemma may be given as an example.

3) Persons use free will.

4) Some examples of believers’ dilemma may be also examples of moral dilemma.

6. Conclusions

Heroism is never to be disputed to be a wrong action. Heroes have a dilemma but choose the better part of it. Heroism is sometimes in the expense of losing a limb, material things and worst of all is one’s life.

Believing is a mystery for us which vanguards of justice rely upon. Persons show their principles upon taking an action. Believer’s dilemma is a clear example of a dilemma. The examples of the author are about experiences and life and death situations. Persons chose what is or may be the better part of the dilemma.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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[10] Parry, L. (2013). Chinese Teenager Poses for a Fun Photograph... Minutes before He Would Die as He Saved Three Children From Drowning. Mail Online.
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