Christian Attitudes towards Abortion
"Sanctity of Life: the belief that life is Holy or sacred and it belongs to God."
"Abortion: the ending of a pregnancy through unnatural means before the birth of the baby."
- Christians do not all agree on whether abortion is right or wrong.
- This is because there is no direct teaching the Bible, only references to the sanctity of life.
- This means there are many different interpretations on the issue of abortion.
- Abortion is legal in the UK, and in 2011 around 190,000 pregnancies were terminated in England and Wales.
- Abortions have to be certified by two medical practicioners, and can be allowed on the ground of mental or physical injury to the mother, mental injury to her other children or if there is risk of disabilities in the child.
"Do not commit murder." (Exodus 20:13)
"I chose you before I gave you life" (Jeremiah 1:4).
Why might people want an abortion?
- There is a mental health risk.
- They don't have the money to support the child.
- The baby is a result of ****/incest.
- The child will have severe disabilities.
- They have too many children already.
- There is a risk of death.
- It will disrupt the rest of their life.
- They are underage- it was an accident or unplanned.
- They cannot give it a good quality of life.
- They just don't want it.
- They are no longer with the father.
Different Christian Beliefs: Abortion
RC: because they believe that life begins at conception, so abortion is always wrong and is always taking a life. Only in the case of an aectopic preganacy, where the fetus forms in the fallopian tubes can it be permitted because the child could never have been born. Natural Law- conception is the start of life.
CofE: believes abortion is wrong, but believes there are limited circumstances in which it would be the acceptable path, or 'lesser of two evils'. This is a view also shared by the Mehtodist Chruch and the United reformed Church.
SALVATION ARMY: accepts it only if the woman may die or the baby could not survive.
"Abortion has been considered to be murder since the first centuries of the Church, and nothing permits it to be considered otherwise." (Pope Paul VI).
“If some men are fighting and hurt a pregnant woman so that she loses her child, but she is not injured in any other way, the one who hurt her is to be fined whatever amount the woman‛s husband demands and the court allows." (Exodus 21:22-5)
- Fertlity treatment is used when people want to have children but cannot have them in the usual way. They may be infertile, homosexual or have passed natural age for childbearing.
- This can take many different forms depending on what is preventing conception.
- IVF: 'in vitro' fertilisation- when egg and sperm are combined outside of the body, and the resultant embryo is put back into the woman's body.
- AI: artificial insemination- when sperm is placed in the woman's uterus artificially. This can be done b the husband, but if his sperm is not suitable or the person does not have a male partner, it can come from a donor.
Christian Attitudes towards Fertility Treatment
- Some say that providing fertiity treatment shows agape, and will bring about a new human life, which is not a bad thing.
- Others say that if you cannot have children, you were not mean to, and you should accept God's plan for you.
- Another problem is that IVF often involves the creation of spare embryos that will not be implanted into the mother. Could destroying these be seen as murder?
- Forms of treatment that involve sperm or eggs from anonymous donors also go against the beliefs of some Christians because it brings another person into the relationship, this could be seen as adultery.
- Others say because it is unnatural it is wrong; it allows homosexuals or menopausal women to have children when they would normally not be able to.
"Hannah had no children... because the Lord had closed her womb." (1 Samuel 1:2,6).
- Cloning is the 'copying of an organism'.
- Christians believe that human beings are created in the image of God and therefore unique.
- Human life should not be treated as a commodity to be bought and sold.
- One implication of cloning is that people could clone themselves.
- Therapuetic cloning could be used to create organs for transplant. Your own DNA could be used to from the organ which would then prevent rejection.
- Some cjristiins might sy that just because we can doesn't mean we should.
Christian Attitudes towards Cloning
- As long as therapuetic cloning is striclty controlled, it should be allowed. It relieves suffering and does not use embryonic stem cells.
- Just because we can doesn't mean we should. Humans are not a means to an end, it brings risk of miscaariage and early death for a child, which goes against TSOL. This rules out possible medical advances.
METHODISTS:says that scientists should try to learn more about medical issues and hat the use of spare embryos should be allowed, but only up to 14 days after fertilisation.
"These techniques, insofar as they involve the manipulation and destruction of human embryos, are not morally acceptable, even when their proposed goal is good in itself." (Pope John Paul II).
"Euthenasia: a gentle, easy death"
- Christians believe that life is a special gift from God. It should therfore be treated with respect and dignity.- TSOL.
- Jesus made it clear that everyone has value in the eyes of God. To endlife prematurely goes against God's plan.
- Death is a stage in life, not the end of it.
"Surely you know that you are God's temple, and that God's spirit lives in you! So if anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. God's temple is Holy, and you yourselves are his temple." (Corinthians 3:16-17).
Christian Attitudes towards Euthenasia
- There is debate over whether people are really stewards of their own life. Christians believe you should respect people and their decisions, but can any human be the judge of human life?
- CATHOLIC: Euthenasia in always wrong. Instead, hospices should be used, which help the terminally ill die with dignity. Catholics may use the doctrine of double effect to justify giving a suffering patient a large dose of painkillers as it is the most loving thing to do.
- Some believe no one has a right to judge a life as worthless, not even their own.
"Anything which says to the very ill or the very old that there is no longer anything that matters in life would be a deep impoverishment to the whole society." (Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the Hospice movement).
"Euthenasia is a grave violation of the law of God." (Pope John Paul II).
Christian attitudes towards suicide
"Suicide: the act of ending one's own life"
- There are many reasons for wanting to end your own life. Most Christians believe that it is wrong to take your own life but recognise that they are at a stage where they are unable to make sensible decisions.
- Christian have a responsibilty to look after their body.
- There are stories in the Bible where God allows a person to end their life, Samson destroys a temple with himself inside to kill his enemies in Judges.
"Surely you know that you are God's temple and God's spirit lives in you." (Corinthians 3:16)
"God, not man, should decide when the length of the persons life should end." (Job 12:10)
"You do not know what tomorrow will bring." (James 4)
"Human life is sacred; all men must recognise this fact." (Paul VI).
The treatment of Animals
- Many people feel bad about the way animals are treated. They may become vegetarians.
- Most peope who do eat meat stil question the methods used, for example factory farming.
- Over 250 million animals are used for medical and cosmetic research, often without an anaesthetic being used.
- Hunting is often used as a sport instead of finding food.
- The Bible assumes people will eat meat and describes how to prepare it.
- God describes humans aas stewards, he has a responsible to God for his actions towards animals.
- Would the 'Good Shepherd' agree with battery farming?
"And God blessed them, and God said to them 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the Earth." (Genesis 1:28)
Christian Attitudes towards Animals
CATHOLICS: Do not accept that animals have rights.They focus on human duties towards animals and our attitude towards creation. Tolerates the use of animals in medical and scientific experiments, if it remains within reasonable limits and if it contributes to caring for or saving human lives. Also believe that animals can be domesticated.
QUAKERS: Were amongst the first vegetarians. many still are today. Some Quakers such as the Quaker Concern for Animals group attempt to influence other Quakers to not use animals for medical research. Some Quakers justify this as a win for animals and people.
MOST CHRISTIANS: condemn using animals for cosmetic research.
CofE: Says that as humans are of a greater value than humans we can use them, but they also have a value and should be treated accordingly.
"Poverty: the state of being extremely poor."
- Poverty leads to great suffering. The Brandt report showed the gap between developed and developing countries. Some believe it is the wealth in developed countries who casue the poverty in less developed countries through their greed.
- FAMINE: an overall lack of food. Often caused by war or climate.
- DROUGHT/FLOOD: can destroy crops and ruin soil fertility.
- STARVATION: hundreds of thousands die from this each year.
- POVERTY AND DISEASE: often go toghether, lack of food, water, healtchcare etc.
People often find themselves trapped in poverty
Christian attitudes towards Poverty
- You should only earn money in moral ways.
- You musn't use money to harm others.
- Many Christians disapprove of gambling.
- They dissaprove of charging high interest rates.
- Most approve of interest so long as it is at a reasonable rate.
- Jesus taught that we should put love into practice.
- They believe they have a duty to care for other people, this could be a donation of time, effort or material things.
- CAFOD and Christian Aid work to help others. Mother Theresa is often seen as a role model.
"You who trample on the needy... Yahweh will never forget their deeds." (Amos 8:4-7)
"Jesus said 'Fortunate are you who are poor, the kingdom of God is yours." (Luke 6:20)
"If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself, help him." (Exodus 22:21-25)
Moral and Immoral Occupations
ABSOLOUTE AND RELATIVE MORALITY:
Some people think it is wrong to impose their morals on others whilst some think it is wrong to allow society to go down the drain.
Some people campaign vigourously against what they see as immoral occupation whilst some believe you have to make your own mind up.
Other people believe in absoloute morality which means that thye think thing are either always right or always wrong.
Other favour relative morality which takes into account the circumstances of a person.
Christian attitudes toward Moral and Immoral Occup
- Illegal ways of making money: drugs, theft, blackmail.
- Many religious people would also consider it immoral to work in a Casino or encourage gambling in any way.
- Some believe it is wrong to manufacture and trade weapons.
- Religious people are also likely to disapprove of companies which work with corrupt governments or exploit people for cheap labour.
- Christianity teaches that we have a responsibility to care for the environment, so occupations that are potentially or actually damaging are considered to be immoral.
- Bull fighting might also be thought of this way because it is cruel to animals.
- making money from sex is forbidden because Christianity teaches sexual modesty.