If you were in a situation where you had to choose between someone you love with all your heart and a 1000 innocent peoples. Which will you choose? Will you give up the life of the person you love to save a thousand more lives?
There is no way I could be unselfish enough to sacrifice someone I really, really love no matter how many other people it would save. I would selfishly feel that someone else could sacrifice his or her loved one. I do believe, however, that I could sacrifice my own life in order for the greater good of a greater number of people. I am saved, and as such, I know my eternity is certain.
I believe it would be more difficult to take another loved one's life than it would be your own. This makes your query a tough one to answer, though I'd like to think that I would be willing to lay down my own life (after all, I'm 54) if it actually meant saving the lives of 1000 innocent people. Now, if the 1000 people were all murderers and rapists, then certainly not!
Sadly, it would depend a lot on whether I knew the people. If they were just faceless nobodies, I can't imagine I'd care enough to have any thought whatsoever of sacrificing a loved one.
I'm curious why you ask, though. Are you guys talking about this for a class?
The answer to question like these can be very easily influenced by the way you ask the question. For example, If I asked a question like:
Under what condition you will kill a person knowing fully well that he is Innocent?
The answer may be quite different as the question is emphasizing the innocence of the other person rather than the worthiness of the cause for killing or the your willingness to sacrifice something near and dear to you.
I really do not know how I will behave under the situation described in the question, but I will definitely look beyond the two options of yes or no.
Talking about ethics, I believe I have no right to on sacrificing life of another. I can decide to sacrifice my life with a clear conscience. But when life of someone else (presumably Innocent) has to be sacrificed, than that person must decide. The maximum I can do without feeling any guilt is to give up my life defending all the 1001.
I assume this question somehow relates to a discussion of ethics. Utilitarian ethics, <a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism>states</a>that we must evaluate our actions (really, potential choices) in conjuction with the maxim of "doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people."
Of course, this is to assign value to human life, which is inherently difficult. I will open the can of worms by posing another question, who is the "one life" and who are the "1000 lives" ?