Life Library — Bioethics

 

An Approach to Bioethics — In our culture, ethical or moral determinations are often based on the sentiments of who makes the decision. In the minds of many, motive justifies the act. But Lutheran theology has a way of viewing the objective act itself as either compatible or incompatible with what God does for us.

Bioethics! What is It? — Bioethics is ethics applied to moral concerns arising out of the technology that involves decision-making about our bodies.

Bios and Biology — In one sense, bioethics is something quite new, a development of the last half-century or so. The term itself is of recent coinage, and only in the last few decades has bioethics gradually come to be regarded as an academic discipline. Nevertheless, much of what we call bioethics has been around for centuries and is known as “medical ethics.”

Genetic Engineering — Respecting the integrity of genetic research and its outcome, as Christians we recognize the limitations God places on us as His faithful people. Questions and statements are offered as a beginning of further discussion of these matters.

Informed Consent — Christians who give informed consent have an opportunity for faith in God’s care through their time of weakness. Being under God’s care is living in the Gospel as God does what we cannot do ourselves. The willingness for Christians to be appropriately helpless at such times is called faith.

New Technologies, Old Questions: How to Stay Human in the Post-Christian Church — Developments in emerging technologies will lead to vast changes in the way we live.  How do we ensure that technology enables us to be human and does not de-humanize, destroying freedom, melding persons and property, and turning us into cyborgs?

A Review of Reproductive Technologies — Because reproductive ethics is a little known quantity for the average person, the following topics are offered as a simple guide for discussion and consideration in personal decision making: assisting procreation, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and surrogate motherhood.

Smuggling Theology into Discussions of Ethics — Ethical relativism in issues of bioethics betrays a serious fault. It does not make allowances for the Judeo-Christian vision of the world that gives life meaning. Without the Christian vision, confusion over the use of new technologies and what limits, if any, there ought to be will continue to plague us.

Stem Cell Research: Theology — Christians are neighbors to the unborn embryo. Because we are forgiven by His grace through faith, the relationship that God has with us and we have with our neighbor is based on this covenant love. Therefore, our love to children who are conceived is unconditional and long suffering.

What Are We to Do with the Embryos? — The best solution to leftover embryos is not to create them to begin with, but it remains that they are made and exist in great numbers. Let the embryos die a natural death, what we all hope for when life is no longer sustainable and the Lord calls us home.

What Can We Say That is Lutheran in Bioethics? — A Lutheran response to issues in bioethics is always one of Law and Gospel. Law is necessary to constrain the weak from outward sin, but it is the Gospel alone that reconciles and renews, transforming human lives to see the world rightly in the light of Christ’s New Creation.

What Child Is This? — This is an edited and adapted version of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations report on “Marriage, Family and Human Cloning.” It speaks not only of cloning but also briefly touches on artificial insemination, surrogacy and in vitro fertilization.

What Is a Stem Cell? — Are we to consider the human body divorced from what it means to be a human being? Is the human body merely the sum total of its parts, or is body and soul a unity that will participate someday in the resurrection?

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