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Religious Ethics

The Origins of Morality: God versus Nature.

The article analyzes whether morality is a gift from God or it is a product of nature. Topics discussed include the view of Adam Smith on morality, published in "The Theory of Moral Sentiments" in 1979, the belief of atheist Richard Dawkins that religion and morality are independent of each other, and the author's view that morality is suffering.

 

Matters of life and death.

An interview between theologian Rowan Williams and philosopher John Gray is presented. Topics include the meaning of the decline in religious identification in Great Britain, the origins of moral condemnation of cruelty in relation to Christianity, and the relation of atheism to morality. The implications of technological advances for human dignity are addressed.

 

The foundations of Islam and Islamic thought

Amidst growing concerns about radical religious terrorism and general misinformation about the Islamic faith, this authoritative, academic guide reveals the rich historical development and core theological teachings of the world's second-largest religion. By covering Islam's philosophical development in detail alongside biographical treatments of several key thinkers, this title unveils the beliefs of an oft-misunderstood religion. Through an in-depth exploration of Muslim principles, this title demystifies Islam and provides a greater context in which to understand the Islamic faith.

 

An introduction to Buddhist ethics: Foundations, values and issues

This systematic introduction to Buddhist ethics is aimed at anyone interested in Buddhism, including students, scholars and general readers. Peter Harvey is the author of the acclaimed Introduction to Buddhism (Cambridge, 1990), and his new book is written in a clear style, assuming no prior knowledge. At the same time it develops a careful, probing analysis of the nature and practical dynamics of Buddhist ethics in both its unifying themes and in the particularities of different Buddhist traditions. The book applies Buddhist ethics to a range of issues of contemporary concern: humanity's relationship with the rest of nature; economics; war and peace; euthanasia; abortion; the status of women; and homosexuality. Professor Harvey draws on texts of the main Buddhist traditions, and on historical and contemporary accounts of the behaviour of Buddhists, to describe existing Buddhist ethics, to assess different views within it, and to extend its application into new areas.

Religion and Abortion- General

 

Religious perspectives on abortion and a secular response

This paper concerns the medical, religious, and social discourse around abortion. The primary goal of this paper is to better understand how seven of the world's major religious traditions (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Confucian, and Hindu) address abortion 'in the clinic'. We do not aim to critique these commentaries but to draw out some of the themes that resonate through the commentaries and place these within complex social contexts. We consider the intersection of ontology and morality; the construction of women's selfhood; the integration of religious beliefs and practices in a secular world. We suggest that for many women, religious doctrine may be balanced with secular logic as both are important and inextricably linked determinants of decision making about the termination of pregnancy.

 

Opposing abortion, gay adoption, euthanasia, and suicide

In secularized modern Western societies, moral opposition to the liberalization of abortion, gay adoption, euthanasia, and suicide often relies on justifications based on other-oriented motives (mainly, protection of the weak, e.g., children). Moreover, some argue that the truly open-minded people may be those who, against the stream, oppose the established dominant liberal values in modern societies. We investigated whether moral and religious opposition to, vs. the acceptance of, the above four issues, as well as the endorsement of respective con vs. pro arguments reflect (a) "compassionate openness" (prosocial, interpersonal, dispositions and existential flexibility), (b) "compassionate conservatism" (prosocial dispositions and collectivistic moral concerns), or (c) "self-centered moral rigorism" (collectivistic moral concerns, low existential quest, and low humility instead of prosocial dispositions). The results, to some extent, confirmed the third pattern. Thus, compassionate openness does not seem to underline modern moral opposition, possibly in contrast to some rhetoric of the latter.

 

Australia and Abortion

 

God, religious tradition and the Australian constitution

The article discusses the religious and legal aspects of abortion and homosexual marriage in Australia as of March 2015. Topics include the comments of Rabbi Shimon Cowen and chief justice Murray Gleeson on law and universal ethics, the inclusion of God in the Preamble to the Act of Great Britain's Parliament, which enacted the Australian Constitution, and jurist William Blackstone's views on the kinds of laws, which are the laws of God, or known as the laws of nature, and positive law.

 

Islam and Abortion

 

Controversies and considerations regarding the termination of pregnancy for foetal anomalies in Islam.

Approximately one-fourth of all the inhabitants of the earth are Muslims. The current unprecedented movement of people has re-distributed people of all faiths to almost every corner of the globe. Healthcare providers are oftentimes confronted with ethical issues regarding peoples of different cultures, the resolution of which differs from that of their own. The inability of service providers to effectively handle sensitive issues such as the termination of pregnancy (TOP) can result in enormous prolonged suffering for both the parents and the affected children. It is therefore crucial for healthcare workers to be sensitive to the norms of different cultures to be able to deal effectively with specific ethical issues. In particular, it is crucial to be adequately acquainted with the norms of the major faiths of the world, especially when dealing with matters of a sensitive nature such as TOP.

 

Perspectives on induced abortion among Palestinian women: religion, culture and access in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Induced abortion is an important public health issue in the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT), where it is illegal in most cases. This study was designed to elicit the views of Palestinian women on induced abortion given the unique religious, ethical and social challenges in the OPT. Sixty Palestinian women were interviewed on their perceptions of the religious implications, social consequences and accessibility of induced abortions in the OPT at Al-Makassed Islamic Charitable Hospital in East Jerusalem. Themes arising from the interviews included: the centrality of religion in affecting women's choices and views on abortion; the importance of community norms in regulating perspectives on elective abortion; and the impact of the unique medico-legal situation of the OPT on access to abortion under occupation. Limitations to safe abortion access included: legal restrictions; significant social consequences from the discovery of an abortion by one's community or family; and different levels of access to abortion depending on whether a woman lived in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, or Gaza. This knowledge should be incorporated to work towards a legal and medical framework in Palestine that would allow for safe abortions for women in need.

 

Abortion in Islamic ethics and how it is perceived in Turkey: A secular, Muslim country.

Abortion is among the most widely discussed concepts of medical ethics. Since the well-known ethical theories have emerged from Western world, the position of Islamic ethics regarding main issues of medical ethics has been overlooked. Muslims constitute a considerable amount of world population. Turkish Republic is the only Muslim country ruled with secular democracy and one of the three Muslim countries where abortion is legalized. The first aim of this paper is to present discussions on abortion in Islamic ethics in the context of major ethical concepts; the legal status of the fetus, respect for life and the right not to be born. The second aim is to put forth Turkey's present legislation about abortion in the context of Islamic ethical and religious aspects.

 

Christianity and Abortion

 

Good Christian morality is better than bad science

The article offers the author's insights medical scientific argument on moral issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and euthanasia. He mentions a research by Angela Lanfranchi on the link between abortion and breast cancer, the use of subversion, deception or lies in public debate, and Christian bioethicist Nicholas Tonti-Fillipini's criticism of Christian arguments that are separated from Christ.

 

Prenatal diagnosis and the Christian health professional

For Christians, the practice of prenatal diagnosis (PND) is ethically problematic. This article discusses how Christian health professionals should handle ethical conflicts in this area. Three major arguments against PND and selective abortion are outlined. Ethical considerations of different methods of PND are discussed. It is maintained that PND typically is performed with a view to selective abortion in the case of serious fetal abnormalities, and that this intention is ethically unacceptable. However, PND can be acceptable when performed for the sake of preparing the couple or pregnant woman for the birth of a sick child or if PND realistically can lead to a health benefit for mother or fetus. Finally, conscientious objection and the ethical significance of various kinds of participation in PND are discussed.

 

Buddhism and Abortion

 

Buddhism, abortion and the middle way.

What have modern Buddhist ethicists to say about abortion and is there anything to be learned from it? A number of writers have suggested that Buddhism (particularly Japanese Buddhism) does indeed have something important to offer here: a response to the dilemma of abortion that is a 'middle way' between the pro-choice and pro-life extremes that have polarised the western debate. I discuss what this suggestion might amount to and present a defence of its plausibility.

 

Buddhist approaches to abortion.

This article presents Buddhist theoretical and practical responses to the ethical and religious problems raised concerning abortion. Confirmation of earlier studies that illegal abortions are frequent in places with highly restrictive abortion laws; Where religious prohibitions result in highly restrictive abortion laws, illegal abortions are frequent. When social pressure to limit family size or to avoid the disgrace of unmarried pregnancy conflict with religious principles against abortion, religion loses out. It seems that the gaps between religious theory and practice are often fruitful places for investigation.

Euthanasia and Religion - General

 

A crisis of faith

The article discusses the debate over assisted suicide, focusing on religious opposition to the practice on moral grounds. "Whose body is it anyway?" Sue Rodriguez famously asked two decades ago. Not hers, or yours for that matter, traditional Western thinking has answered for almost two millennia. The answer is rooted in Christianity's reading of the divine's will, a reading shared by the other monotheistic faiths, Islam and Judaism.

 

Beliefs in and about God and attitudes toward voluntary euthanasia

I use data from the General Social Survey to evaluate several hypotheses regarding how beliefs in and about God predict attitudes toward voluntary euthanasia. I find that certainty in the belief in God significantly predicts negative attitudes toward voluntary euthanasia. I also find that belief in a caring God and in a God that is the primary source of moral rules significantly predicts negative attitudes toward voluntary euthanasia. I also find that respondents’ beliefs about the how close they are to God and how close they want to be with God predict negative attitudes toward voluntary euthanasia. These associations hold even after controlling for religious affiliation, religious attendance, views of the Bible, and sociodemographic factors. The findings indicate that to understand individuals’ attitudes about voluntary euthanasia, one must pay attention to their beliefs in and about God.

 

When brain death belies belief

The case of Jahi McMath has reignited a discussion concerning how society should define death. Despite pronouncing McMath brain dead based on the American Academy of Neurology criteria, the court ordered continued mechanical ventilation to accommodate the family's religious beliefs. Recent case law suggests that the potential for a successful challenge to the neurologic criteria of death provisions of the Uniform Determination of Death Act are greater than ever in the majority of states that have passed religious freedom legislation. As well, because standard ethical claims regarding brain death are either patently untrue or subject to legitimate dispute, those whose beliefs do not comport with the brain death standard should be able to reject it.

 

Opposing abortion, gay adoption, euthanasia, and suicide

In secularized modern Western societies, moral opposition to the liberalization of abortion, gay adoption, euthanasia, and suicide often relies on justifications based on other-oriented motives (mainly, protection of the weak, e.g., children). Moreover, some argue that the truly open-minded people may be those who, against the stream, oppose the established dominant liberal values in modern societies. We investigated whether moral and religious opposition to, vs. the acceptance of, the above four issues, as well as the endorsement of respective con vs. pro arguments reflect (a) "compassionate openness" (prosocial, interpersonal, dispositions and existential flexibility), (b) "compassionate conservatism" (prosocial dispositions and collectivistic moral concerns), or (c) "self-centered moral rigorism" (collectivistic moral concerns, low existential quest, and low humility instead of prosocial dispositions). The results, to some extent, confirmed the third pattern. Thus, compassionate openness does not seem to underline modern moral opposition, possibly in contrast to some rhetoric of the latter.

 

Islam and Euthanasia

 

Euthanasia: A Muslim's perspective

Availability of advanced medical technology has generated various new moral issues such as abortion, cloning and euthanasia. The use of medical technology, therefore, raises questions about the moral appropriateness of sustaining life versus taking life or allowing someone to die. Moreover, the world-wide discussion on euthanasia has assumed different dimensions of acceptance and rejection. The modern advanced medical technology has brought this issue under extensive focus of philosophers and religious authorities. The objective of this article is to consider the Islamic ethical position on euthanasia with a view to appreciating its com-prehensiveness and investigating how an Islamic approach to medical treatment addresses the issue. The study observes that Allah gives life and has the absolute authority of taking it. In other words, the Qur'an prohibits consenting to one's own destruction which could be related to terminally ill patients who give consent to mercy killing. The study equally revealed that death is not the final destination of human beings but the hereafter; therefore, a believer should not lose hope when facing difficulties, suffering and hardship but should instead keep hope alive. The study calls on Muslims to ensure that Islamic teachings on medical ethics are entrenched in all fabrics of human endeavour.

 

Islamic considerations on the application of patient's autonomy in end-of-life decision.

In end-of-life situation, the need for patient’s preference comes into the picture with the intention of guiding physicians in the direction of patient care. Preference in medical directive is made by a person with full mental capacity outlining what actions should be taken for his health should he loses his competency. This is based on the reality of universal paradigm in medical practice that emphasises patient’s autonomy. A specific directive is produced according to a patient’s wish that might include some ethically and religiously controversial directives such as mercy killing, physician-assisted suicide, forgoing life-supporting treatments and do-not-resuscitate. In the future, patient autonomy is expected to become prevalent. The extent of patient autonomy has not been widely discussed among Muslim scholars. In Islam, there are certain considerations that must be adhered to.

 

A legal analysis of euthanasia in the Islamic criminal code of 2011.

Euthanasia or mercy killing is a new and challenging topic in medical law. This article examines all types of euthanasia based on the Islamic criminal code of 2011, and demonstrates that active and involuntary euthanasia is murder if conditions exist; the basis for active and voluntary euthanasia, however, is the victim's consent, so the penalty is less. As the physical element of inactive euthanasia is omission, clause 296 of the criminal code and clause 2 of the penal code on refusing to help the wounded apply. Lastly, it is suggested that legislators criminalize euthanasia with a new approach and independent title, and consider principles of justice to determine less punishment for this type of killing compared to murder with malice aforethought.

 

Christianity and Euthanasia

 

Physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia: How not to die as a Christian

Christianity's opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide is grounded in its recognition of such actions as serious violations of the prohibition against murder and self-murder, even in cases where those individuals consent or otherwise signal their willingness to die as in cases of voluntary euthanasia. Fully to appreciate the implications of assimilating assisted death into medical practice, one must recognize the spiritual significance of killing on the physicians who euthanize patients or who aid and abet patients in killing themselves. One will also need to appreciate the spiritual importance of such actions on the patients killed. Physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia are not neutral actions. Moreover, that the patient desired or requested the killing does not change the moral character of the act or its spiritual significance. This issue of Christian Bioethics explores the implications for medicine and society as physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia are assimilated into contemporary healthcare practice. 

 

May Christians request medically assisted suicide and euthanasia?

The article deals with the question: 'Is it morally acceptable for terminally ill Christians to voluntarily request medically assisted suicide or euthanasia?' After a brief discussion of relevant changes in the moral landscape over the last century, two influential, but opposite views on the normative basis for the Christian ethical assessment of medically assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia are critically discussed. The inadequacy of both the view that the biblical message entails an absolute prohibition against these two practices, and the view that Christians have to decide on them on the basis of their own autonomy, is argued. An effort is made to demonstrate that although the biblical message does not entail an absolute prohibition it does have normative ethical implications for deciding on medically assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia. Certain Christian beliefs encourage terminally ill Christians to live a morally responsible life until their death and cultivate a moral prejudice against taking the life of any human being. This moral prejudice can, however, in exceptional cases be outweighed by moral considerations in favour of medically assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia.

 

How should Christians respond to proposals to legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide?

The article discusses the issue over voluntary euthanasia and how Christians must respond to the proposals to legalise it in New Zealand. The legalisation of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide is being sold as the most compassionate action the community could offer people who are suffering unbearably. The End of Life Choice Bill, sponsored by Maryan Street, would allow a person to receive medical assistance to die.

 

A Catholic hospital in Canada has been ordered to provide assisted suicide services.

 A Catholic hospital in Nova Scotia must provide physician-assisted suicide assessments to eligible patients who request them, the province's public health service has ruled.

 

Christian group backs euthanasia

The article discusses aspects of the voluntary euthanasia which is consistent with Christian values in Australia. It highlights the increase quality of life for people who are terminally ill by removing the stress of facing a painful death. It also notes that the Catholic Church are opposed to euthanasia.

 

 

Buddhism and Euthanasia

 

End of life: The Buddhist view

Discusses end-of-life issues from the Buddhist perspective. Idea that terminal care of Buddhist patients, with the exception of monks and nuns, has few special requirements or limitations on medical treatment; Statement that local custom can affect the patient-doctor relationship more than Buddhist doctrine; Buddhist values, including mindfulness and mental clarity; How death and persistent vegetative state are defined in Buddhist philosophy and medical standards; The influence of Confucian teachings on Japanese Buddhists; Buddhist teachings on euthanasia and compassion and how it relates to terminally ill patients.

 

The view of religions toward euthanasia and extraordinary treatments in Japan

388 Japanese religious groups—143 Shinto, 157 Buddhist, 58 Christian and 30 others—were asked to answer questions regarding several forms of euthanasia and extraordinary treatment during the dying process. Passive euthanasia and indirect euthanasia were accepted by around 70% of the respondents. Active euthanasia was favored by less than 20% of them. Christians were less supportive of euthanasia than practitioners of other religions. Shinto and Buddhist corporations advocated “being natural,” when medical treatment became futile at the terminal stage. Religionists' views may deepen the discussion of end-of-life issues.

Organ Transplants and Religion

 

Religion and organ donation: The views of UK faith leaders

This article reports the findings from the one-to-one interviews with the main UK faith and belief leaders which were commissioned by the Organ Donation Taskforce as part of its evidence gathering. Interviews were arranged with the main faith and belief organisations within the UK. Interviews covered a range of issues related to organ donation. Although some faith groups had some reservations regarding organ donation, interviews with these leaders demonstrated that none of these faith groups have reached a consensus against organ donation. The interviewees stated that the majority opinion in their faith or belief group is to permit organ donation, with some actively supporting it. Interviewees were keen to stress that there is a broad spectrum of opinion on organ transplantation within each faith and belief group and that consequently it is difficult to speak on behalf of an entire group. One complication mentioned by interviewees is that as organ transplantation is a relatively new medical procedure, there is no explicit reference to it in many original religious texts. Consequently, positions on the receipt and donation of organs are based on interpretation. It was felt that a much greater level of engagement is needed, as organ donation is currently not a priority for many faith and belief groups.

 

The impact of knowledge and religion on organ donation as seen by immigrants in Sweden

Background Transplantation of organs is one of the most successful medical advances of the past 60 years and transplantation is the treatment of choice for severe organ failure worldwide. Despite this situation, and the general acknowledgement of organ donation as a global priority, demand for organs outstrips supply in virtually every country in the world. Aim The aim of the study was to elucidate factors that influence immigrant's decisions regarding organ donation. Methods Data were collected through three group interviews using open-ended questions and qualitative content analysis. 32 participants, 16 men and 16 women from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Somalia, Lebanon and Kosovo participated in focus group interviews ( FGI). Results Analysis of the collected data resulted in two main categories: 'Information about organ donation' and 'Religious aspects of organ donation and a number of subcategories'. Some of the influencing factors concerning organ donation were mainly related to limited information from society as well as limited information from healthcare professionals. Religious aspects, fear and prejudices about organ donation were other factors that mentioned by participants as hamper regarding organ donation . Conclusion In order to improve immigrants' attitude towards organ donation, information about this issue and identification of the hampering factors, particularly culturally related factors such as the religious aspect, is essential. In this context, different intervention studies are needed to increase monitories groups' attitude towards organ donations.

 

Islam and Organ Transplants

 

American Muslim physician attitudes toward organ donation

Religious beliefs and values impact Muslim patients' attitudes toward a variety of healthcare decisions, including organ donation. Muslim physician attitudes toward organ donation, however, are less well studied. Utilizing a national survey of physician members of the Islamic Medical Association of North America, relationships between religiosity, patterns of bioethics resource utilization, and sociodemographic characteristics with attitudes toward organ donation were assessed.

 

The moral code in Islam and organ donation in western countries: reinterpreting religious scriptures to meet utilitarian medical objectives.

End-of-life organ donation is controversial in Islam. The controversy stems from: (1) scientifically flawed medical criteria of death determination; (2) invasive perimortem procedures for preserving transplantable organs; and (3) incomplete disclosure of information to consenting donors and families. Data from a survey of Muslims residing in Western countries have shown that the interpretation of religious scriptures and advice of faith leaders were major barriers to willingness for organ donation.

The ethics of organ donation, donation after circulatory determination of death, and xenotransplantation from an Islamic perspective.

Donation after circulatory determination of death (DCDD) and xenotransplantation are advanced as possible solutions to the growing gap between the number of individuals in need of organ transplantation and the pool of donors. Investigating how various publics, including religious leaders, might view these “therapies” is essential for broad public and professional support and will be needed in order to make these solutions viable. This study, therefore, presents normative Islamic bioethical perspectives on donation after circulatory determination of death and xenotransplantation. First, we will discuss foundational Islamic ethico‐legal debates regarding organ donation. These debates can be grouped into three broad positions, those who consider organ donation categorically impermissible as a violation of human dignity (ḥurma and karāma), those who agree that organ donation is impermissible in principle, but allow it conditionally on the basis of dire necessity (ḍarūra), and those who permit organ donation based on notions of public interest (maṣlaḥa). Next, we will reflect upon the additional ethical dimensions DCDD and xenotransplantation add to these debates. We contend that the condition of minimal harm to the donor and the definition of death need to be accounted for within Islamic perspectives on DCDD. Xenotransplantation, on the other hand, highlights concerns about using pigs for therapeutic purposes. We conclude by commenting on additional questions that remain to be addressed in the Islamic bioethical debate over these practices and with recommendations for further research.

 

Christianity and Organ Transplants 

 

Christian bioethics, brain death, and vital organ donation

This article reintroduces an overlooked, but uniquely Christian approach to bioethical decision-making. In 1988, John Frame applied this model in his book, Medical Ethics: Principles, Persons, and Problems. Frame's triperspectival approach consists of applying three perspectives to every ethical question--the situational, normative, and existential perspectives. Applied to the topic of brain death and vital organ donation, the Christian can rationally conclude that brain death does not equate to the death of the human person. Thus, the Christian is faced with two immediate and opposing options. The Christian can assume a non-participatory stance justified by the imperative of the Sixth Commandment. Or, he can participate based on the principle of self-sacrifice buttressed by further biblical justification. The principle of representation and conservation of life are explored as possible scriptural/philosophical justifications for this second option.

 

Brain death and human organismal integration: A symposium on the definition of death.

Does the ability of some brain dead bodies to maintain homeostasis with the help of artificial life support actually imply that those bodies are living human organisms? Or might it be possible that a brain dead body on life support is a mere collection of still-living cells, organs and tissues which can coordinate with one another, but which lack the genuine integration that is the hallmark of a unified human organism as a whole? To foster further study of these difficult and timely questions, a Symposium on the Definition of Death was held at The Catholic University of America in June 2014. The Symposium brought together scholars from a variety of disciplines-law, medicine, biology, philosophy and theology-who all share a commitment to the dead donor rule and to a biological definition of death, but who have differing opinions regarding the validity of neurological criteria for human death.

 

Buddhism and Organ Transplants

 

On the impacts of traditional Chinese culture on organ donation.

This article examines the impact of traditional Chinese culture on organ donation from the perspective of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. In each of these cultural systems, it appears that there are some particular sayings or remarks that are often taken in modern Chinese society to be contrary to organ donation, especially cadaveric organ donation. However, this article argues that the central concerns of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism are “great love,” “ren,” and “dao,” which can be reasonably interpreted to support organ donation. The author understands that each cultural system, in order to play its cultural function, must have its central concerns as well as relevant ritual practices (li) that incarnate its religious and ethical commitments. That is, each plays a general cultural role, which influences organ donation in particular not merely through abstract or general ethical principles and teachings, but through a combination of ethical teachings and the forming of particular ritual practices. This article contends that the primary reason Chinese individuals fail to donate sufficient cadaveric organs for transplantation is not because particular remarks or sayings from each of these systems appear to conflict with donation. Neither is it that the central concerns of these systems cannot support cadaveric donation. Rather, it is that modern Chinese individuals have failed to develop and secure relevant ritual practices that support the central concerns of organ transplantation. The article concludes that in order to promote more donations, there is a need to form relevant ritual practices supporting organ donation in conformity with the central concerns of these cultural systems.

 

Human rights violations in organ procurement practice in China

Over 90% of the organs transplanted in China before 2010 were procured from prisoners. Although Chinese officials announced in December 2014 that the country would completely cease using organs harvested from prisoners, no regulatory adjustments or changes in China's organ donation laws followed. As a result, the use of prisoner organs remains legal in China if consent is obtained. Discussion: We have collected and analysed available evidence on human rights violations in the organ procurement practice in China. We demonstrate that the practice not only violates international ethics standards, it is also associated with a large scale neglect of fundamental human rights. This includes organ procurement without consent from prisoners or their families as well as procurement of organs from incompletely executed, still-living prisoners. The human rights critique of these practices will also address the specific situatedness of prisoners, often conditioned and traumatized by a cascade of human rights abuses in judicial structures.Conclusion:To end the unethical practice and the abuse associated with it, we suggest to inextricably bind the use of human organs procured in the Chinese transplant system to enacting Chinese legislation prohibiting the use of organs from executed prisoners and making explicit rules for law enforcement. Other than that, the international community must cease to abet the continuation of the present system by demanding an authoritative ban on the use of organs from executed Chinese prisoners.

Genetic Engineering and Religion

Religion and science: Studies of faith.

The article explores how faith is shaping the everchanging landscape of bioethics. Stem cell research has prompted a wide range of reaction from religious leaders. Stem cell research has prompted a wide range of reaction from religious leaders. Much of the reaction have been negative. The fundamental, religion-based belief in the sanctity of human life, even at the stage of an embryo clashes in this field with another fundamental desire to alleviate suffering and cure disease. Most religious traditions sincerely value medicine and science, and make a serious effort to reconcile scientific thinking with doctrine.

 

Islam and Genetic Engineering

 

Islamic ethical perspectives on human genome editing

The article highlights the perspectives of Islamic scholars and ethicists on human genome editing. Topics discussed include the interdisciplinary collaboration between Muslim religious scholars and biomedical scientists, the ethical questions raised by the field of genomics, and the attitude of Islamic scholars and biomedical scientists toward genetic research and therapy.

 

Tri-parent Baby Technology and Preservation of Lineage: An Analysis from the Perspective of Maqasid al-Shari'ah Based Islamic Bioethics.

Tri-parent baby technology is an assisted reproductive treatment which aims to minimize or eliminate maternal inheritance of mutated mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The technology became popular following the move by the United Kingdom in granting license to a group of researchers from the Newcastle Fertility Centre, Newcastle University to conduct research on the symptoms of defective mtDNA. This technology differs from other assisted reproductive technology because it involves the use of gamete components retrieved from three different individuals. Indirectly, it affects the preservation of lineage which is important from an Islamic point of view. This paper aims to analyze and discuss the implications of the tri-parent technology on preservation of lineage from the perspective of Maqasid al-Shari'ah based the Islamic bioethics. The analysis shows that there are a few violations of the preservation of lineage, hence the tri-parent baby technology should not be permitted.

Food ethics: A critique of some Islamic perspectives on genetically modified food.

This article critiques some Islamic approaches to food ethics and the debate over genetically modified (GM) food. Food ethics is a branch of bioethics, and is an emerging field in Islamic bioethics. The article critically analyzes the arguments of the authors who wrote in favor of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from an Islamic perspective, and those who wrote against GMOs, also from an Islamic perspective. It reveals the theological and the epistemological foundations of the two main approaches. Moreover, it provides an attempt to critique what is perceived as an exclusivist and legalistic trend adopted by some authors. It argues that an alternative approach that acknowledges the priority of reason in ethics and is at the same time rooted in Islamic tradition would be more inclusive and constructive.

Between Islamic Law and Science: Contemporary Muftis and Muslim Ethicists on Embryo and Stem Cells Research.

In practice, stem-cell and embryo research have encountered little resistance in Arab and Islamic countries, and it is already in progress in Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, and elsewhere. The Islamic scientific community is largely free of religious inhibitions that jeopardize attempts of scientists in Christian-oriented countries, for example, to engage in embryo and stem-cell research. The reason lies with the nature of Islamic medical ethics. According to this ethical system, obtaining knowledge is a human's duty, and an act of faith. Also, science is revealed by God to humans to serve humankind, and human life must be saved by all possible means. According to Islamic theology, "humanity"/the soul, is inspired into the fetus only at 120 days of pregnancy. Therefore, the use of fetuses younger than 120 days in research, and especially if sick or disabled and with a short life expectancy, if born alive at all, is not prohibited, provided that certain stipulations are followed. The use of superfluous zygotes in research is also encouraged, instead of their simply being destroyed. The principle that guides the ethics is that the public good [maslaha] gained from the fruits of the research outweighs the harm [darar]. The research is welcomed.

 

Christianity and Genetic Engineering

Germ-line Genetic Engineering: A Critical Look at Magisterial Catholic Teaching.

This article is written from within the Catholic, and more particularly the Augustinian/Thomist tradition of moral theology. It analyses the response of the Catholic Magisterium to the prospect of germline-genetic engineering (GGE). This is a very new issue and the Church has little definitive teaching on it. The statements of Popes and Vatican congregations or commissions have not settled the key questions. An analysis of theological themes drawn from secular writers points beyond pragmatic safety considerations toward intrinsic ethical limits to GGE. Given the impossibility of identifying would-have-been-created persons who would be “treated” by this intervention, altering the human genome for the sake of future generations cannot be regarded as “therapy.” Further theological considerations suggest that GGE may not be morally permissible, even in the case of identifiable genetic diseases. This is an area where more theological reflection is needed.

Christian Reflections on the Genetic Revolution.

Discusses the ethical implications of genetic research and technologies. Analysis on the biblical-theological framework for Christian ethical reflection; Suitability of the framework for ethical analysis of issues on genetic testing, genetic therapies, human enhancement and cloning; Debates on the nature and purpose of human life from a biblical perspective.

 

Buddhism and Genetic Engineering

Genetic Engineering: A Buddhist Assessment

According to Buddhist teachings, nature as we experience it is a label for the shared karma of sentient beings on the planet, and human nature is a karmic mixture of thought and emotion that has to be transformed on the path to enlightenment. Since karma—and suffering—will still be with us in the Brave New World, some have suggested that genetic engineering is not a big deal for Buddhists, that the work cut out for us now will, essentially, not change. But maybe we should take a deeper look. 

 

A survey of Thai Buddhist attitudes towards science and genetics

The respondents represent the educated Thai Buddhists who are outside scientific profession and thus are able to look at science objectively and critically. Living in a developing nation with so many problems these respondents wanted Thai scientists to use their expertises to solve problems found in various areas such as agriculture, communication, environment and public health. They realized the value and importance of scientific researches but were also concerned with the abuse of these researches or experiments particularly those involving human subjects such as human germline research and drug testing and wanted these researches to be regulated to prevent the violation of human rights and their harmful effects on the public welfare. They also wanted scientists to communicate their work to the public and believed that the public had the right to know about researches that were relevant to their welfare and about what the scientists were doing in their laboratories. Adhering to the teachings of Buddhism some of the respondents, though recognizing its contributions to the advancement of science, did not favour animal experimentation. Nor did they agree that genetic testing and therapy is the right way of dealing with incurable (or karmic caused) diseases. They wanted the government to spend much more resources to accommodate the handicapped in Thai society rather than on genetic research.

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