Sanctity of Life Principle

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  • Sanctity of life
    • Concept of sanctity of life
      • Human life has intrinsic value (most Christians)
        • Value for its own sake
        • Life of a old person and a newborn baby have the same value for God
      • Based on Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7
        • 1st states humans are created in God's image
        • 2nd states that when God breathed the breath (nephesh) of life into him, the man became a living being
          • Nephesh- often translated as 'soul'
    • Applying the principle
      • Strong SoL
        • All humans have an absolute right to life that must never be taken away
        • Held by Catholics and some Protestants
          • 'Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from... conception' Catholic Catechism
          • Supported by scripture eg God told Jeremiah that he knew him before he was born
        • Personhood begins at conception
          • Fertilisation= new life comes into existence with a complete genetic blueprint
          • Continuous development of each life from conception to birth
          • From conception= absolute right to life and protection
        • Intentions of embryo research are good but they can't justify an act that in itself is wrong; end cannot justify the means
          • Exploits the inability of the embryo to give consent
          • Disobeys the biblical teaching to protect the most vulnerable in society
          • Destruction of embryos is the same as murder
          • Use of PGD is an act of discrimination=could lead to designer babies
            • Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis= tests IVF embryo for genetic diseases
          • Direct abortion (death of the embryo is the intended result)= grave offence as it is the unlawful killing of a person
      • Weak SoL
        • All human life is sacred but is not absolutely so
          • In exceptional circumstances, life preserving or saving treatment may be withdrawn
          • Often combined with the Quality of Life principle
            • Refers to the capacity for self-fulfilment and possession of dignity in life
        • Held by the Church of England and many Protestants
          • CoE views abortion as a great moral evil, but the lesser of two evils
            • When the woman's life's at risk or there would be serious permanent harm to her health
            • When the pregnancy results from ****
            • When the child would suffer from a terrible life-limiting condition
        • From fertilisation the newly conceived being has the right to respect because of its potential to become a living human being
          • Potential person rather than an actual one
          • Right to life becomes stronger as it develops
        • Embryo research is morally acceptable, providing strict controls (14 day cut off)
          • Extension of Jesus' healing ministry and a responsible use of God-given skills
          • PGD is acceptable, providing it is used for medical purposes only
    • Just War theory
      • Early Christianity was largely pacifist
        • Over centuries, JW developed, largely by Augustine and Aquinas
      • Two main parts
        • 'lus ad bellum'= addresses the conditions when going to war might be justifiable JLRPP
          • Just cause
          • Legitimate authority
          • Right intention
          • Probability of success
          • Proportionality
        • 'lus in bello'= addresses the way in which a war must be fought
          • Discrimination
          • Proportionality of means to end
      • Weapons of mass destruction
        • Could never fulfil the JW criteria of discrimination,proportionality and probability of success


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