(P)1996 William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; (P) Mars Hill Audio
"This long-awaited theological reflection of medicine from the pen of one who goes deep spiritually and morally helps us fathom the profundity of the medical art." (Kenneth L. Vaux, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary)
The author, Dr. Meileander is on the President's Bioethics Council chaired by Dr. Leon Kass.
Good overall "Primer," as the arguments are consistent and logical, with a thorough discussion of the major topics of debate in bioethics today, including reproductive technology, cloning, stem cells, euthanasia, and withdrawal or refusal of treatment. There are a few fine points I'd like to discuss with the author (the beginning of life, the morality of abortion in the case of rape and of certain end of life decisions), but he's got me thinking about my previous views and has given me at least one good phrase to counter calls for euthanasia ("End suffering, not sufferers"). He also helps me look at theology, as well as bioethics, in ways I hadn't before.
This is my second time listening to the book and I'm getting a lot more out of it this time, particularly in light of recent media attention on when "substituted judgment" should be used to terminate the life of a seriously brain-injured person by withdrawing her food and water. The author makes a clear distinction between occasions where care for the patient to relieve suffering may hasten death and other situations where the OBJECT of the treatment is to CAUSE death. The former are generally considered morally acceptable to a Christian where as the latter are not. These are vital concepts to learn to avoid the confusion that comes from reasoning with a misguided sense of compassion based upon a desire to avoid suffering. If you want to have a clearer understanding of these sorts of choices, I would urge you to read this book.
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