How Philosophy and Theology Have Undermined Bioethics

Christian Bioethics 13 (1):53-66 (2007)
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This essay begins by distinguishing among the viewpoints of philosophy, theology, and religion; it then explores how each deals with “sin” in the bioethical context. The conclusions are that the philosophical and theological viewpoints are intellectually defective in that they cripple our ability to deal with normative issues, and are in the end unable to integrate Christian concepts like “sin” successfully into bioethics. Sin is predicated only of beings with free will, though only in Western Christianity must all sins be committed with knowledge and voluntarily. Without the notions of free will, sin, and a narrative of redemption, bioethics remains unable to provide itself with an adequate normative framework. Bioethics, and morality in general, remain a morass precisely because there has been a failure to translate Christian morality into fully secular and scientistic terms.



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