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AbstractCatholics and Evangelical Protestants often find themselves on the same side on a variety of issues in bioethics. However, some Evangelicals have expressed reluctance to embrace the natural law reasoning used by Catholics in academic and policy debates. In this article, I argue that the primary concerns raised by Evangelicals about natural law reasoning are, ironically, concerns expressed by and intrinsic to the natural law tradition itself. To show this, I address two types of Protestant critics: (1) the Frustrated Fellow Traveler and (2) the Solo Scripturist.
AbstractIn a widely noted book, Henry Greely has suggested that “the end of sex” is on the horizon. By this he means that sexual activity for pleasure will be increasingly disconnected from the process by which children are conceived—a result of the growing availability of what he terms Easy PGD. This essay explores the possibility that this sense (i.e., finis) of an “end” of sex fails to attend adequately to another sense of “end”—namely, the telos that connects human sexual activity to the birth of children. Articulating a Christian understanding of procreation, the essay notes that Easy PGD may invite us to miss the human significance of the connection between the love-giving and life-giving aspects of sexual activity.
AbstractAll forms of beauty create appeal or enticement with moral significance. Sublime beauty draws one into a deep relationship that properly promotes the good and true. Parents tend to experience such beauty in their children, as eloquently described in works such as the 14th-century poem ‘The Pearl’, and they see this even when their children are desperately ill or dying. The experience of beauty in one’s child creates or reinforces the morality of caring. Unfortunately, at the end of modernity, the framing of beauty as only instrumental and subjective generally works against any recognition of dignity or respect for the very small pediatric patient. Practitioners who believe in the intrinsic value and dignity of persons as general concepts should recognize parental drawing toward their children as a particularization of a transcendental value.
AbstractThe gulf between Christian and secular bioethics has far-reaching implications for public policy, healthcare organizations, clinicians, and patients and their families. There also are significant differences among various Christian approaches to bioethics. Differences and similarities between Christian and secular bioethics as well as among Christian approaches to bioethics are evident across three domains explored in this issue of Christian Bioethics. The first concerns different approaches to or methods for resolving ethical questions. The second concerns the ways in which understandings of health and disease and human anthropology shape our judgments about what we may do in the pursuit of health or in response to disease. The third concerns how our perceptions of and regard for others affect judgments of moral worth and can influence healthcare decision-making.
AbstractDecision-making in health care is often challenging and therefore requires practical wisdom. The domains of such wisdom involve goals, perception, ethics, deliberation, and motivation. For Christian patients, there is a need for practical wisdom founded on Christian commitments that shape and guide these domains according to a Christian understanding of life, health, technology, illness, suffering, and death. In this essay, I outline a Christian approach to practical wisdom in health care by infusing Christian beliefs and values into a general framework for practical wisdom in medicine I have described previously. I organize this approach by referring to Christian purpose, vision, ethics, piety, and practice. The result is a framework that intends to integrate faith and reason so that what we believe as Christians forms how we think about health and guides what we choose or decline when considering the possibilities that come before us in health care.