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Christian Ethics: Lesson 008

Christian Ethics Free Course: LESSON EIGHT: LIFE: (PART TWO)

In this session, we will consider together the issues involved in Genetic engineering and Euthanasia.

A. GENETIC ENGINEERING:

In 1961 the first tadpoles were cloned (genetically identical specimens grown from a single cell.)

In 1962 DNA was unravelled by James Watson and Francis Crick.

In 1966 Robert Edwards cultivated human ova in a laboratory.

By 1969 ova could be grown to 100 cells.

In 1978 Louise Brown was born – the first ‘test-tube baby.’

Since then, tremendous strides have been taken in the whole realm of genetic engineering. Grotesque experiments have been done on chimpanzees with a view to the possibility of homosexual men carrying a pre- fertilised ova in their abdominal cavities, later to be delivered of the baby by caesarean section. Similarly, it is possible by egg-fusion to give a lesbian couple guaranteed female offspring.

With some ten per cent of people unable to conceive and a further fifteen per cent having difficulty, it is understandable that we should seek to do something about infertility.

However, what we do has to be governed by moral and spiritual considerations. Because these do not rank high among some geneticists, the only limit to what may be attempted is dictated by public opinion. As those concerned for the sanctity of human life, we Christians must pass comment.

(i) ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION BY THE HUSBAND may be justified in some circumstances. However, the economically-determined practice of fertilising several ova and either disposing of or experimenting upon, the un-needed ones should be discontinued. In fact, human fertilised ova should never be experimented upon – these are, after all, children in all but age.

(ii) ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION BY DONOR divorces life-giving from love-making and brings a third, albeit anonymous, person into the marriage. Questions arise as to the legal status of the child and the psychological acceptance of the child by the stepfather. And there are increasing concerns about the genetic and health risks for society should widespread AIDS continue.

(iii) THERE ARE A GROWING NUMBER of acceptable ways of preventing and curing genetically transmitted diseases without the need for human embryo experimentation.

And if only one per cent of abortions were discontinued, there would be enough babies available for adoption for all who are childless.

B. EUTHANASIA:

The word ‘Euthanasia’ means ‘easy death’ or ‘mercy killing.’ It is not yet legal in the U.K., but surveys indicate that a majority of people favour its introduction. It is an emotive subject. How long do you let a suffering person go on living, especially when he or she wants to die? Isn’t it charitable to put such people out of their misery with a fatal drug?

Part of the problem today is that we can keep people alive much longer than previously. Pain itself shortens life, but that can now largely be alleviated. Life-support machines can sustain bodily functions almost indefinitely even though there is no hope of conscious recovery.

Easy death as a medical technique seems a neat solution to the problems raised by terminal illness. But is it? Who is going to make the decision? The pain-ridden patient? Or relatives shattered with grief or callously wanting to get Aunt Nellie’s fortune? Or a central committee? Or the doctor whose training and responsibility it is to save life? Who would trust a doctor if you knew he had legal power to terminate your life?

All positive killing of humans is murder in God’s sight (Ex. 20:13). Therefore, from a biblical perspective, euthanasia is an evil because it evolves taking a human life that is considered special by God.

Having said this, those who are obviously dying should be allowed to do so. Living corpses should not be sustained on machines – that does nothing for the dignity of human life.

We must also be prepared for the consequences of our stance on euthanasia. Are we prepared to give the necessary support to the elderly and terminally ill? Are we prepared for the financial consequences? The best approach to dying and the whole issue of euthanasia lies nowadays in the hospice movement where, with a high staff-to-patient ratio and skilled counselling and drug administration, patients are able to die with dignity. Many Christians are actively involved in this movement. Such care for the dying is the final, loving brush-stroke in the art of healing.

QUESTIONS:

1. Plan a strategy for educating the young people in your church and local schools on these issues.

2. “It is a morally neutral thing to experiment on human embryos.” Do you agree? If not, why not?

3. Scientists are talking about the possibility of ‘cloning’ human beings.

Would you agree with this? What are the dangers?

4. “Everyone over seventy should voluntarily take a suicide pill to ease the burden on the taxpayers.” Do you agree or not with this statement? Give Biblical reasons for your answer.

PERSONAL WORK:

1. Pray over these issues as they relate to your own personal life and experience.

2. For more information and advice on these issues contact CARE or the Christian Medical Fellowship; or research on the Internet.

3. See if you can visit patients who are dying from terminal illnesses in (a) Your local hospital; (b) Your local hospice.

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9 Comments on "Christian Ethics: Lesson 008"

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  1. Rev Charles Carter says:

    THE LORD GIVETH AND THE LORD TAKETH WHEN HE SEES FIT, WITHOUT ANY HUMAN HELP.

  2. Wale Adedayo says:

    One of the things I do not understand about the Western world is the insitution of old peoples home. Although it is being brought to one or two of our urban centres here, I just feel the traditional way of taking care of the old and infirm is the best -the children or grandchildren taking such people into their own homes to care for them till they pass on.

  3. Rev. Michael Sawyer says:

    I fully agree with the points of the lesson. One thing that we need to be mindful of is that the obtaining of care, the taking of medicine, and the use of life support should be at the wishes of the one who is ill. Dying with dignity is the last gift we can give to the terminally ill. I know for me, when God is ready for me… I am ready to go.

  4. Have worked for 3-4 years in Nursing homes as a Volunteer, to help out those who suffer from Dementia in a spiritual way in Italian, Spanish, Serb, Hungarian, Macedonian, German and even Latin occasionally. I am able to communicate on about ten languages and has seen people suffer yet because of dementia thy cannot speak English anymore but the language thy are been born in to.. Yet God is there in Christ. Even so thy have capped their dignity. Most prayers have done one on one bases and to me it was something indeed when thy said God bless you and thanks.
    Answers:
    1/
    Cloning and euthanasia is in simple terms revolt of mankind against God and Godly principals of Yahweh’s Creation. To play with genetically creation of human is creating future generation instability and unbalancing male and female offspring’s .Did we ever had an point in our Biblically recorded history such times? Yes, Noah’s days and flood. There were more daughters borne to families in those days. Australia holds a record of in world where young man and woman commit suicide .I would set up bible studies for all ages young and old. What is a life all about? Would use scripture to underline .Would say this to all this,
    “Imagine the line of people trough out history who were responsible for your creation and blessings by God in Christ. That you represent all those people and carry a part of each yet uniquely you are special and individual. Do you think that you are in depth to all your ancestors to carry on this line in matrimony blessed by God? “Creating an booklet that deals with such issue could be good idea for further studies for young and old. Let us remember that both need support.

    2. I do not agree that such a work or experiment is morally neutral .It is a step in Satan’s direction .People meddling in to God’s own creation. Such controversial act against God will end up in punishment for all humanity.
    Let us look up some scriptures:
    Revelation 4:11 says, “You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honour and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.” So God started life. Also Genesis chapter 1 and 2 talks about creation, Gen 2:7 says, “Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life”.
    “And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him who sent Me. And he who beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me. I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness.” (John 12:44-46)

    3. Scientists are talking about the possibility of ‘cloning’ human beings.
    I do not agree that scientist should carry out such work “CLONING”. Why? Because they are entering in to area that thy should not. Thy oppose Creator with such work. It will create a destructive unholy creation. Yet it will be just like in Noah’s days. Then where more daughters borne to families, yet with this all will have sons with high IQ and God knows what
    4. “Everyone over seventy should voluntarily take a suicide pill to ease the burden on the taxpayers.” Do you agree or not with this statement? Give Biblical reasons for your answer.
    Exodus 20:13: Thou shalt not kill.
    Deuteronomy 5:17: Thou shalt not kill.
    Matthew 5:21: Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.
    Romans 13:9: For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

  5. Rev. Alaina Damewood says:

    I belive this topic that it should be made up parents to decided not a topic that should be forced one way or the other.

  6. Doing research to find out new things is good. But using God’s creation especially human body in order to discover new thing is not good because God created human being in a very special way. using human body for experimental is not respecting the creator. We have to to put high regard on God’s work. therefore I could not agree with cloning research and experimental work.

    Not only that even mercy killing is distorting God’s authority. It should be practice. No one will live eternal in this world. Like or not, when the time come no one can hold some one’s life. God has timing for all his creatures. We the christian should not agree even this mercy killing. A dying husband’s said that if we take off the Ho2 form my husband’s nostril, I will be a widow from this very movement. But as long as my husband keep breading, I have husband. So she did not allow to take out of it. And when the time came he stop breading and died. She satisfied for it. I believe this is a good illustration on this matter.

  7. Pastor Sherman J. Butler Sr. says:

    Although I beleive that God our creator is the only one that has the power to breathe ife into a living soul, and has control over our life, I do believe that it is also God that gives man the understanding and ability to know how to create a life through the use of ova and artifical incemination. I believe that none of these methods would work without God’s approval. There are some people that try for years to have a baby, to no avail because of God.

  8. To make a end of life is not good

  9. Benita Paschel says:

    Plan a strategy for educating the young people in your church and local schools on these issues.

    2. “It is a morally neutral thing to experiment on human embryos.” Do you agree? no If not, why not? Because it could cause damage to both the mother and the child. Experiment is not concrete. It is just a risky chance.

    3. Scientists are talking about the possibility of ‘cloning’ human beings.

    Would you agree with this? NO What are the dangers? Man people are already doubting the existence of God and His creation of Man. Cloning would only make things worse. A clone being created by man will suffer many side affects, because it does not have a soul nor a spirit given from God.

    4. “Everyone over seventy should voluntarily take a suicide pill to ease the burden on the taxpayers.” Do you agree or not with this statement? NO Give Biblical reasons for your answer…THOU SHALL NOT KILL

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