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Preview: Christian Bioethics - current issue

Christian bioethics: Non-Ecumenical Studies in Medical Morality Current Issue





Published: Thu, 26 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2017 15:07:05 GMT

 



Cover

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT




Editorial Board

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT




Subscriptions Page

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT




Table of Contents

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT







Created in the Image of God: Bioethical Implications of the Imago Dei

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Reference to the Imago Dei expresses a foundational relationship between God and man, with implications for properly appreciating basic human goods and human flourishing, which in turn have repercussions for appropriate medical decision-making. Although this theological theme is often invoked as if its meaning and implications are evident and clear, they are not. What does it mean to be created in the image of God? And, what are the implications of that meaning for central questions in bioethics? The authors in this issue of Christian Bioethics consider the ways in which foundational, and at times very different, understandings of being created in the image of God lead to particular understandings of appropriate biomedical moral choice. This essay draws on the theological reflections of Saint Basil and Saint Maximos, among others, to set our reflections regarding the Imago Dei within the recognition that Christian bioethics must be grounded in the Church’s mystical experience of God and work to orient us towards Him. Approached correctly, medicine can play an important role in one’s life, but secular goals should not undermine Christian moral truths, and medical care must not replace Christian spiritual therapy for the soul.



Radical Dependence and the Imago Dei: Bioethical Implications of Access to Healthcare for People with Disabilities

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
As more people with disabilities (PWD) participate in many different settings where they once may have been excluded, nondisabled folks have become more accustomed to both casual and commercial interactions with them. And yet, many of these same people may ask about the general and critical needs for healthcare that PWD will have from time to time and whether or not they should receive extraordinary levels of medical care in times of health crisis. The subtext of this whether-or-not thinking may be: aren’t they better off dead? But, I wonder, are the standards of care for PWD really different from standards for the nondisabled? And, I question, whose quality of life is at stake in cases involving a person with disabilities? This essay explores the ethical implications of the questions of standards and quality that an imago Dei theological anthropology of radical dependence challenges. This anthropology is then used to unlock the content and context of human relationality in matters of human flourishing, particularly in terms of healthcare needs for PWD.



The Image of God, the Need for God, and Bioethics

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
This article identifies several key implications of humanity’s creation in God’s image for the field of bioethics. First, the article develops a biblically sound understanding of what it means to be in God’s image, contrasting it with another understanding that has long been widespread. In order to help adjudicate which understanding is more in line with the meaning that the Bible intends, the article next describes a biblical perspective on humanity’s weakness and need for God that serves as a context for humanity’s creation in God’s image. The final part of the article then explains how Christian bioethics is dependent (on God) and otherwise distinctive from other outlooks. For example, being in God’s image affects: how one resolves bioethical challenges, the positions one takes on bioethical challenges, and the degree to which one engages bioethical challenges.



John Kilner’s Understanding of The Imago Dei and The Ethical Treatment of Persons with Disabilities

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
The ethical care and treatment of persons with disabilities is important both for society and the church, but it can be challenging and daunting. The Georgetown principles and the counsel of Scripture can provide appropriate guidance. Nevertheless, the issues often remain difficult and sometimes confusing. It is vital to show mercy to dying patients—including those with disabilities. Withdrawing and withholding life-sustaining treatment can in some cases, however, be made prematurely, especially for disabled patients, largely because of a history of devaluing such persons. John Kilner’s book, Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God, contends that the divine image in humans, contrary to many, was not marred, damaged, or destroyed by sin. The image likewise is not defined by certain traits and capabilities. Misunderstandings of this have resulted in the disadvantaging of people with disabilities and a denial of their dignity. The present study summarizes and explores this aspect of Kilner’s thesis, including the biblical and ethical foundations. The case of a disabled patient, “Michael,” applies this understanding of the image and offers assistance for end-of-life decision-making for persons with disabilities.



Putting Image into Practice: Imago Dei, Dignity, and Their Bioethical Import

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
In this paper, I examine the role that the imago Dei plays in bioethical considerations of dignity. In so doing, I rely on resources primarily from the Roman Catholic tradition to articulate what it means to understand dignity as related to the imago Dei and what the normative implications of such an account would be in bioethics. After explaining reasons for narrowing the scope of discussions of dignity, I take up what reflection on what the imago Dei means for humanity, relying on the concepts of mystery, conformation, and vocation. I conclude with a brief consideration of Ruth Macklin’s now infamous critique of dignity and a discussion of the broader implications of relying on the imago Dei in an account of dignity for bioethics.



The Image of God and Human Dignity: A Complex Conversation

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Despite a limited number of Scriptural texts describing human beings as made in the “image” and “likeness” of God, such language has been widely invoked in both classical and current theology and ethics. In this essay, I first discuss the variety of ways that theological voices have developed this theme. I then consider the possible implications of different understandings of image/likeness for Christian living and normative practice, because different interpretations offer useful examples of how fundamental theological themes play out in the moral life, both methodologically and substantively. Finally, I analyze the links often drawn between image/likeness language and appeals to “human dignity,” a term widely invoked in both religious and secular debates. In addressing that linkage, I consider whether faith-based claims about human dignity based on image/likeness language function independently, that is, without further specification in terms of other, perhaps more determinative, principles and norms. I also consider whether such religious understandings of the image/likeness theme, as the basis for dignity-claims, provide additions to, or correctives of, secular accounts of dignity.