Religious Approaches to Bioethics

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Chapter 1 reflection
Religious Approaches to Bioethics
Rae, Scott B. & Paul M. Cox. Biethics: A Christian Approach in a Pluralistic Age. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999. In this chapter, Rae and Cox go straight to point they want to discuss in the whole book which is the “Religious Approaches to Bioethics.” In this chapter, they evaluate and examine how three western religious, Roman Catholics, Protestant, and Jewish viewpoints stand on the issues of bioethics in medicine. The Roman Catholic claim is based on natural law in a sense that “there are objective moral truths that can be known by all human beings.” The protestant takes a different route, and its perspectives are filled with Luther’s idea “the freedom of a Christian” and Jesus’ principles of love. Whereas the Jewish based its approach on three branches: scripture teaching, rabbinic commentaries, and application of scripture principles. As I complete the reading of this chapter, I feel like we have a long way to go in our religious approaches to bioethics. No one seems to have a definite answer where the majority can be in agreement with. Among the three major religious approaches, there many different views, plus within the religion itself there are different views. It sounds more confusing to me than enlighten. We find here that the main Roman Catholic bioethicists William E. May and Richard McCormick are not in agreement with one another. In the protestant camp, there are Paul Ramsey and James Gustafson. While Ramsey is defining what is right on the basis of agape, Gustafson thinks that theology and ethics are connected. But the two Jewish bioethicists Jakobivits and Rosner introduced here in this chapter appear to have more in common between their views. I think the abundance in the religious approaches to bioethics can be a great foundation for the religious world. As we continue to strive for solution, maybe one day one of these ideas will be the main...
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