Friday, January 2, 2015

Thinking Theologically... Bioethics

Christian Bioethics: A Guide for Pastors, Health Care Professionals, and Families

If you're like me, you're a lay Christian who wants to think through today's big issues but you're overwhelmed by their complexity.

In the case of medical ethics, a few hours of conversation with a professional in the field would make a great difference. This book offers you a seat between theologian Ben Mitchell and physician Joy Riley. The two of them will provide basic explanations of various issues, and they'll let us "listen in" while they discuss them. 

They begin with an overview of the art of medicine, and what it means to "do no harm." 
They discuss the qualities of an excellent physician, and the rights and responsibilities of being a patient. 

Then they move into specific areas, where medical advances are increasingly difficult to understand and corral. 

Take organ donation, for example.  

Thinking theologically, life is precious and an organ transplant can save a life. After death, the physical body isn't needed anymore, so why wouldn't you want your organs harvested for another's benefit? At the same time, are human parts products? Should donor consent be presumed, because after all it is  a worthy cause? Or should donation be compelled, because we really do need organs? Once you're dead, who "owns" your organs? And what about the new definitions of "dead?" 

This book needs to be read and talked about with a group of thinkers. These issues were never meant to be wrestled with on your own. 
A fascinating and helpful conversation could be birthed from any of these chapters. 

The other topics run the gamut from bizarre- human/animal hybrids, to perplexing- clones, to tragic- euthanasia, to commonplace- fertility treatments, and disturbing- the modern anti-aging obsession.

Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews and B&H Publishing for my copy. 

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