How Would You Answer These Ethics Questions?


English: A section of a page from the Wicked B...

English: A section of a page from the Wicked Bible of 1631. The image is not copyrighted due to the age of the work. The section highlights a contemporary typographical error insofar as it omits the word not from the commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have taken a day for study today. One of the things I have been able to finally accomplish is to get a list of paper topics out to my students in Christian Ethics.  I have pasted the paper topics below in the form of propositions, which I expect the students either to defend or rebut. I am posting these topics because I thought you might find them interesting. You may want to think through the topics as well and answer them for yourself. Feel free to share your response to one or all of the topics:

1.  Christians should be protesting against the oppressing sin of usury because it is more clearly condemned in the Bible than abortion. (See Daily Kos article)

 

2.  Matthew 19:1-11 stands in complete agreement with Luke 16:18.

And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:9, NASB)

18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.” (Luke 16:18, NASB)

 

3.  There is never a situation in which it is acceptable for a Christian to lie—a thorough consideration.

 

4.  A proper biblical understanding of theology leads to the conclusion that masturbation is a sin for the Christian.

 

5.  The most important reason Christians cannot be utilitarian or consequentialist in their actions is ______________________________________ (fill in the blank, then defend it).

 

6.  Any Christian in any country throughout the world who wishes to live a consistent, Christian life of faith will suffer persecution.

Islam and Abortion: Are Muslims Pro-life?


Although in Islam there are debates about the nature of Jihad and legitimacy of carrying out attacks in the name of Allah, there is not that much of a debate about whether Muslims ought to practice abortion.  The general consensus is that abortion is haram, forbidden.

The reason offered for the prohibition against abortions is that the child is already “ensouled” in the womb and has not yet done wrong.  There is disagreement about when “ensoulment” happens in the womb.  Some schoolsof Islamic thought place the date at 7 weeks into the pregnancy, while others would say that ensoulment occurs at the moment the child begins to move inside the womb (around 12 weeks or so).  Probably the majority of Muslims accept the 120-day mark because it is established in the Hadith literature (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 549).

In that Hadith, there is a revelation concerning what we might call predestination.  According to this Hadith, an angel of Allah will enter the womb and write down up

English: A map showing laws about abortion arr...

Abortion Laws Around the World (Wikipedia)

on the child all of his destiny—including how long he will live and whether he will end up in Paradise or in Hell.  Thus, Muslims conclude that after this point, the life is fixed and must not be ended.

Prior to the 120 day mark, Muslims argue that there are a couple of extreme cases which may require an abortion.  On the one hand, if the mother’s life is in serious danger, then the child must be aborted because the mother is already functioning and fulfilling duties for the family.  Thus, if one or the other must die, then the child must die, not the mother.  Note that this provision is not the same as that which has prevailed in the U.S. since Doe v. Bolton enshrined a very broad definition of abortion with regard to the health of the mother.  Under Doe, a mother can procure an abortion based on the stress that pregnancy causes.  This is not the case with the Islamic exception for the safety of the mother.

The other extreme case in which abortion may be allowed is the case of severe fetal deformity.  Muslims are not unanimous in considering fetal deformity a justifiable cause of abortion.  However, many Muslim scholars argue for the legitimacy of abortion if the child in the womb is severely deformed.  In this case, again, the 120 day rule remains in effect.  And, the fetal defect must be diagnosed by two Muslim doctors before proceeding with the abortion.

Again, few will quote the Quran in favor of abortion because abortion deals with human beings who have not yet committed any injustice against Allah.  Surah 5:32—though it does not directly speak to abortion—does guide Muslim thinking in the matter.  In that Surah of the Quran, Muslims are taught “that anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people.”  In other words, killing an innocent in the womb would be to the Muslim mind the equivalent of killing off a part of humankind.

Though Surah 5:25-35 is about justifiable killing for those guilty of murder or “horrendous crimes,” it speaks to the nature of the entity in the womb—namely, that it is human.  Indeed, it is considered a form of innocent human life and, thus, deserves to be protected.  Some Muslims will quote Surah 17:31 as a further—and stronger—argument against abortion:

Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin.

Granted, this verse appears to speak of children already born, but it is often recited in defense of forbidding abortions. Clearly, the text is teaching the mother (or parents) not to be anxious about providing for their children. Whatever temptation they might feel toward getting rid of their children as a result of poverty, they must put that temptation out of mind.  Killing children is a great sin because children have not yet resisted Allah or committed murder or any other horrendous crime.

This verse, then, along with the Hadith quoted above and Surah 5:25-35, make it plain that the general disposition of Islam is to oppose abortion.  As Muslim scholar Abul Fadl Mohsin Ebrahim concludes regarding Surah 5:32,[1]

“From this verse it is evident that every human being has the right to be born, the right to be, and the right to live as long as Allah… permits. No one may be deprived of life except for a legitimate crime…. The fetus is regarded by all schools of Islamic law has having the right to life, as indicated by the fact that the death sentence on a pregnant woman can be carried out only after she has given birth.”

[1] Abul Fadl Mohsin Ebrahim. Abortion, Birth Control and Surrogate Parenting: An Islamic Perspective. n.p.: American Trust Publications, 1989.

What Are Savior Siblings? 3 Concerns We Must Address


(The following blog first appeared under the title Savior Siblings and Septic Sons.) 

“Unto Us, a Savior Is Born in France,” such is the triumphant tone of the science headlinesfrom across the pond in Savior Siblings WrongFrance, where the latest “savior sibling” has arrived.  He is a healthy baby boy, weighing in at just over 8 lbs.

The first “savior sibling” was born in the U.S. back in 2000.  His name is Adam Nash.  Blood from his umbilical cord was used to save his sister’s life and caused no physical harm to him. Success!

Nevertheless, the concept of a “savior sibling” should trouble us in at least 3 significant ways:

(1) It devalues all human life by making one human being the instrument by which another human being prospers. Just as slavery devalued all human life by acting as though some people were not “really persons,” so, too, savior siblings have the same effect of saying that one person’s life is valued only insofar as it serves someone else, someone prior, someone superior.

(2) It leads to a kind of enslavement.  Consider, for example, the movie My Sister’s Keeper.  In that film, the savior sibling was expected to donate a kidney for her dying sister because this is what a savior sibling does.  Such scenarios are not potentialities; they are necessities of this way of thinking about human beings. The concept of kidney donation is lost to the concept of coercion.  Coercion is not donation.

(3) It makes gods out of scientists—and that is never a good thing.  Through IVF, scientists screen and discard many embryos, getting down to the genetically perfect match for the ailing sibling.  Already, human entities have been discarded, and this new savior child has been designed for the purpose of serving as a farm-like feeding trough of anatomical parts for parents to use in saving their favored child.

Consider

Anytime any form of human life becomes “less than human” or “not worthy of life” (as the Nazis would say), then door is opened to killing for a “higher” cause, thus fulfilling Romans 3: “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery.”  The concept of savior siblings is built upon the notion that someone has a right to design and utilize the birth of a human being for the purpose of enhancing the life of another human being.  This is wrong because it devalues one human being in the face of another, defying the reality that each one of us (male and female) is created in the image of God.

We have become a people who are comfortable with such concepts as savior siblings because we, already, believe that mothers (even teen mothers) have the right to decide whether their children should live or die.  If a mother has the right to determine whether her baby lives or dies, then why would she not have the right to determine whether the baby donates cord blood or even a kidney?  The logic is inescapable.

Savior Siblings Related to AbortionBecause of abortion, we have become quite dull in discerning the value of a human life.  Consequently, we find that some women are comfortable with having abortions, while others are ok with flushing their babies down the toilet (or at least trying to).  How do we get to a place in which a woman thinks it is all right to flush her son into a cesspool to die?  By devaluing human life in the womb.  If she could have killed the baby while it was in the womb, then why should she not be able to kill the baby once it comes out?  Again, the logic is sadly unavoidable.

I don’t think we should be bit surprised that parents with the help of doctors and scientists are designing babies to serve the needs of their unhealthy offspring. Parents want healthy children.  And science wants something new–anything new.  Upholding the value of human life has actually never been the strength of a godless science.

The 19th Century seeded the scientific psyche with the eugenics that was quickly employed in Nazi Germany (more slowly in the U.S. through Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood).  The 20th Century saw the Tuskegee

Kevorkian Dr. Death Savior Siblings

Dr. Death

experiments, the perverted Kinsey “science” of sexuality, and the celebration of “Dr. Death.” These examples make clear that Science alone cannot uphold the value of human life because science is, primarily, nothing more than a method of inquiry designed to increase knowledge.

Science is a quest for knowledge; it needs to have philosophy to determine the boundaries of where its inquiries might take place.  With a Judeo-Christian philosophy as its guide, science is able to progress in a positive direction which heals.  Without such a philosophy, science doesn’t care if it kills.

We cannot trust science alone to advance humanity.  The task is too great.  Humanity is a subject to be defined by philosophy and theology.  We must be awakened from our darkened stupor concerning science and its limits or we will see further horrors in the days to come.  It really is bad enough that we have savior siblings and cesspool sons. These are not oddities. These are explainable phenomenon based on our devaluing of human life in the womb.  As long as we are comfortable embracing abortion, we will see more sickening displays of our disregard for humanity.

That, at least, is my opinion. You are free to share yours. What are your thoughts on Savior Siblings? Were you aware of them? Do you agree that they represent a further devaluing of human life?

To Tattoo or Not to Tattoo


Chances are, you have had opportunities to consider whether tattoos are an acceptable option for Christians.  The question is debated on the basis of Leviticus 19:28.  It is worth considering.  You may find this Q & A with Dr. Russ Moore helpful as he gives advice to a young man concerning whether he ought to get a tattoo.

Under Fire in Uganda


For an interesting and engaging article, read this Christian Post article about the riff between Pastor Rick Warren and the evangelical leaders in Uganda, Africa.  They are disturbed, confused, and angry about what they believe is his capitulation toward the gay agenda.  Interesting ethical issues abound in this article.

How Goofy Can the Greenies Get?


This article bemoans the fact that Obama’s administration is not going to put a tax on cow burping.  They attribute the lack of cow belching legislation to a powerful farmers lobby.  First of all, it seems to me that it would have to be a ranchers lobby, rather than a farmers lobby.  Nevertheless, the article presents a cynical attitude toward Obama and the democrats, insinuating that their lack of legislation is COWardly (poor pun).

According to the article, cow belching ought to be taxed because it is the single largest producer of methane.  The article is derisive toward democrats because they are leaving cow belches unlegislated… for now.  Has anyone stopped to think that legislating cow belching might be a government overreach?  Is this not crazy?

It is but one more of the many examples of what kind of an ethic we are in for as we drift away from Judeo-Christian values incorporated in the constitution.  If not a Judeo-Christian ethic, then whose?  If it is a green ethic, then cow burps are just the beginning of the madness.

Do Not Recycle!


I have been speaking against the “Green Ethic” for some time now.  I am considering changing the term from Green Ethic to Lunatic Ethics.  Each time the global warming group establishes an ethical norm, science gets in the way and frustrates their global balance guidelines. 

Click on the headline below to see the latest example of lunatic ethics:
Recycling Could Be Adding to Global Warming

Green Diapers


 

Green diapers sound disgusting, don’t they?  Some of us have actually seen green diapers, along with many other diapers of varying hues in green and gold.  However, the article I have linked here is not disgusting as much as it is dishonest.  It exposes the hypocrisy of Green ethics.  If we thought God’s commands were burdensome, just wait till we are without them and forced to follow the whimsical commands of men—men whose laws and promises change with power or expediency.  This article gives you a hint of what we are in for when we go green.

 

Follow Up Example


My last post was an example of one of the consequences of abortion: muddled thinking about the value of human life. One reader who commented sort of helped point out what I am trying to say.  I have linked an article here that explains why this is no time for us to have muddle-headed thinking.  We live in a day of increasing possibilities as it relates to creating and destroying human life.  Answering questions of life wrongly can lead only to death.

Death with Dignity


The whole death with dignity movement is tied to abortion.  Since when has death been dignified?  We are on the side of life, not death.  Death is the enemy–the last enemy to be undone by the Resurrection of Christ.

The notion that it is better for unwanted or inconvenient human beings to die by abortion is inherently tied to the idea that the elderly and otherwise unfit ought also to go the way of “death with dignity.”  Dr. Mohler offers a chilling account of one of Britain’s leading ethicists.  This leading bioethics spokesperson believes, “If you’re demented, you’re wasting people’s lives – your family’s lives – and you’re wasting the resources of the National Health Service.”  Read the whole story