Artificial insemination – injecting semen into the uterus by artificial means.
Embryo – a fertilised egg in the first eight weeks after conception
Global warming – The increase in the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere (thought to be caused by the greenhouse effect).
Infertility – not being able to have children.
In-vitro fertilisation – the method of fertilising a human egg in a test tube.
Organ donation – giving organs to be used in transplant surgery.
Surrogacy – an arrangement whereby a woman bears a child on behalf of another woman.
Natural resources – naturally occurring materials, such as oil and fertile land, which can be used by humans.
Creation – the act of creating the universe, or the universe which has been created.
Stewardship – looking after something so that it can be passed on to the next generation.
Environment – the surroundings in which plants and animals live and which they depend on to continue living.
Conservation – protecting and preserving natural resources.
What is Global Warming?
Since the middle of the 20th Century the temperature of the Earth has been getting warmer; this is known as climate change of Global Warming. Many Scientists think this is caused by humans – specifically, by burning fossil fuels which increases the levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Other Scientists believe that the latest rises in temperature are a natural event. They would point out that throughout history the climate has always changed.
What will happen?
• As polar regions warm up, the ice melts, increasing the sea level. This means many places are at risk of disappearing as the land will be underneath the sea.
• As some places get hotter there will be more drought and, as other places get hotter, they will have rain, leading to flooding.
• Extreme weather events such as hurricanes and flash floods will increase.
• Some animals and plants will become extinct because they will not be able to adapt to the changing climate.
What can we do?
• Action by humans
• Action by governments and international organisations
• Action by scientist
The problem of waste.
Most waste cannot be recycled and is not biodegradable. Waste takes up spaces, spreads disease and releases dangerous chemicals into the environment.
This can include dropping litter, deforestation, mining and radioactive waste. Land pollution can lead to poor growth, loss of wildlife habitats, soil erosion and desertification.
Air pollution. This happens when substances or chemicals affect the natural balance of the air. Air pollution can cause smog and breathing problems.
This is the contamination of water by chemicals. An example is eutrophication. This is when sewage and fertiliser make water plants grow. When they die, they are broken down by bacteria. As the bacteria feed, they use up the oxygen and the fish die.
• Create less waste
• Government action (anti pollution laws)
• Alternative energy sources (wind, solar, wave, water etc)
• Alternative manufacturing methods
Renewable resources: Resources which replace themselves – wind, solar, wave, water, fertile land, wood.
Non-renewable resources: Resources which cannot be replaced once they are taken from the environment - coal, oil, gas, minerals and rocks. These are used for transport, electricity, buildings and products.
What happens when the resources run out?
Current estimates suggest oil reserves may run out within fifty years. This will have a huge impact on the way people live their lives.
What can we do?
Conservation is concerned with preserving the Earth’s natural resources. People may need to make greater use of renewable resources and invest in developing other renewable sources of energy.
• Not wasting electricity – e.g. not leaving lights, TV or computers on
• Not using the car – walking, cycling or using public transport
• Buying and using products from renewable resources.
Christian teaching on stewardship and attitudes to
Christians believe the natural world is God’s creation. The environment must be looked after because God gave humans the stewardship of the earth. This means Christians must look after the earth, its plants and animals. They believe this because:
• All Christians believe that after death they will be judged by God for their actions while they were living. Most Christians believe this includes how they looked after the Earth.
• Jesus’ teachings on loving one another and helping those in need mean that Christians today should share the resources of the world more equally.
• The idea at the heart of Christian stewardship is to look after the resources for the future generations: ‘A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children’ (Proverbs 13:22)
What does this mean in practice?
Conserve the Earth’s natural resources, reduce pollution, share the Earth’s resources and conserve animals and plant life.
Ultimately though Christians believe that human beings are the most important part of God’s creation.
Muslim teaching on stewardship and attitudes to th
Islam teaches that Adam, the first human, was made as a khalifah. This means that humans were put in charge of the rest of God’s creation.
Islam teaches that:
• People should treat their gift from Allah with respect and look after it.
• As khalifah, humans have been placed in a position of responsibility to care for the world in the way that Allah wishes.
• All Muslims are part of the ummah. This includes past and future generations of Muslims as well as those living all over the world today.
• Animals are part of Allah’s creation and as his khalifahs, humans shoul therefore treat them with respect.
• On the day of judgement, Allah will judge everyone according to how they have lived their lives and carried out his wishes.
What does this mean for the environment?
• Avoid extravagance or greedy use of resources.
• Not to damage , destroy or abuse the natural environment.
• To work towards the protection and conservation of all forms of life.
Medical treatment for infertility.
Some problems with fertility treatment:
• They are very expensive
• There are no guarantees that it will work.
• Fertility drugs can cause uncomfortable side-effects.
• It places the individual and the couple under huge strain.
• Some forms of fertility treatment may mean that the infertile partner has difficulty bonding with the child.
Is it right – all infertility treatment raises some ethical questions?
• Is it ever right to interfere with nature at all?
• Is it right for the NHS to spend hundreds of pounds on fertility treatments when that money could be spent on treating people with life-threatening conditions and illnesses.
• The world is already over populated.
• Who is entitled to this treatment? Married couples? Same-sex couples? Single people?
Christian attitudes to medical treatment for infer
Christian couples may respond in a variety of ways to not being able to have children:
• Some may accept that it is God’s choice for them not to have children.
• Some may find other ways to direct their parental skills such as schools, charity or church work.
• Some may choose to adopt children and therefore give unwanted or orphaned children a loving home.
• Some may choose to try to conceive a child through fertility treatment. Some Christians are against fertility treatment because they believe:
• God intended that children should be created through the natural act of sex between husband and wife.
• No one has a ‘right’ to have children. God has a plan for everyone and if it is within his plan for a couple not to have a child, then people should respect that.
Some Christians have objections to particular fertility treatments:
• IVF involves the creation of several embryos. The embryos that are not used are destroyed and some are experimented on, which can be seen as violating the ‘sanctity of life’
Some Christians agree with fertility treatment because:
• God has given humans the capacity to create children through IVF or AIH.
• It allows coupled to experience the joy of having children.
• It is a way of loving your neighbour and follows the Golden Rule.
Muslim attitudes to medical treatment for infertil
Most Muslims believe that help should be given to couples who cannot have children naturally. Some types of fertility treatment are allowed because:
• Infertility is regarded as a disease so it is OK to try to find a cure
• They view childbirth and child-rearing as important family commitments
• Having children helps to keep the couple and family together.
IVF and AIH are permitted in Islam because:
• They use the sperm and egg of the married couple.
• God has given people the ability to create life in this way.
• Embryos that are destroyed during IVF are 14 days old so they are not classed as ‘human’. Islam teaches that the soul does not enter the foetus until 120 days.
What is not allowed?
Most Muslims disagree with any treatment that uses donor sperm or eggs because:
• This is seen as adultery or violating the marriage contract.
• Muslims believe that all children have the right to know their natural parents.
What is transplant surgery?
It involves using body parts from one person, dead or alive, to replace body parts in someone else. The most common transplants are kidney, liver, lungs, heart and heart valves, corneas, blood and bone marrow, tissues and pancreas.
On the plus side:
• Organ transplants make use of organs which would otherwise be wasted.
• It gives people and their lived ones the opportunity to help others after their death.
• It offers tremendous relief and is an enormous blessing both to those who receive transplants and to their loved ones.
On the minus side:
• It is a very expensive and limited form of treatment.
• It raises important questions about when a person is actually dead.
• Should a person be kept alive or allowed to die purely for the purposes of organ donation?
Non-religious problems of organ donation.
One of the major problems facing medical teams making the decisions about organ donation is the question of who gets an organ. Should it be:
• The person who has been on the waiting list the longest? Or the youngest person? Or the person with the best tissue match?
Christian attitudes to transplant surgery.
For most Christians there are no moral problems with donating an organ because:
• It is a loving and charitable act which fulfils Jesus’ teaching to love one another.
• It raises no problems for life after death, since a body will not be needed in heaven.
• It is a way in which people can show their gratitude for God’s gift of life Although most Christians agree with transplant surgery provided that it is one in a certain way, some Christians are opposed to it. This is because they believe:
• It violates the sanctity of life and people should not ‘play God’.
• The organs are an essential part of an individual which God has created and it would be wrong to replace part of that person.
• Transplant surgery is interfering with God’s plans for each individual.
Muslim attitudes to transplant surgery.
Islam believes that organ donation is an individual choice. However, many Muslims believe that transplanting an organ from a dead person into another person is wrong because:
• The Quran teaches that the body should not be interfered with after death and should be buried as soon as possible.
• Muslims believe that on the Last Day, the body will be resurrected and therefore all organs will be needed.
• It violates the sanctity of life – only Allah has the tight to give life and take it away.
Other Muslims agree with organ transplant from the dead as well as the living because:
• ‘Whoever saves the life of one person it would be as it he saved the life of all mankind’ (Quran 5:32)
What do the Islamic authorities say?
• In 1995 the Muslim Law (Shariah) Council UK issues a directive supporting organ donation and transplantation stating that:
- The Council supports organ transplantation as a means of alleviating pain or saving life.
- Muslims may carry donor cards.