Christian Ethics by S. Rae
This chapter is focused on specific elements of Christian ethics, which are inclusive of virtues and commands. Although the Bible is not entirely a moral text, it has several concepts of ethical reasoning such as the natural law, utilitarianism, and ethical egoism (Rae, 2018). The first five books written by Mosses provide rules given to the Israelites as their covenant with God. Prophetic and poetic books are anchored on the Mosaic principles, which address civic issues, guide ceremonial practices, and advice on issues of morality (Rae, 2018). Although the old testament laws were written centuries ago, they still remain relevant in a wide range of religious and judicial settings.
Noteworthy, Christians are expected to obey the laws as a way of honoring God and remaining holy in their social relations. The Mosaic commands also helped the rulers to maintain order in the nation. The Israelites would sin, thus, evoking the anger of God and suffering the consequences of their actions. One of the main roles of the prophet was reminding them to turn away from their sin so that they can live as a chosen nation among the gentiles.
The New Testament also has its own ethics, a blend of virtues and principles, which help Christians to emulate Jesus and uphold morals respectively. Disciples are also expected to show mercy to those who are poor and help them whenever they find an opportunity. The Holy Spirit was given as a gift to make it easier to observe ethics as stipulated in the divine command, which is the nature of God. This notion is objected by the Euthyphro dilemma, which is defined as the fear of supernatural voluntarism (Rae, 2018). The chapter ends by attempting to distinguish between the Christian and non-religious ethics. In the book of Romans, even the people who do not have faith in Christ must account for their sins.
The chapter was informative about what Christian Ethics entails because it systematically addressed the morals from the Old to New Testament and their relevance to believers. Although I did not find the text interesting to read, I enjoyed the fact that it addresses a topic that I believe is crucial for social order. I liked the organization of the chapter; especially how conceptual ideas are arranged. It was easy to relate how a paragraph transited from the previous information. However, I was not impressed with how some key words such as virtues, principles, ethics, morals, divine command, and law were explained. The reason is that there was no clear definition to show the differences between the terms.
There are a number of ideas presented in the chapter which were familiar with my culture. Specifically, the ethics of showing concern and love to the poor is something that I learned when I was still a child. For example, my father used to spend a percentage of his salary to donate to the homeless people every weekend. My siblings and I have followed this virtue and volunteered in different non-governmental organizations to provide assistance to those in need. Many lessons from the chapter can be applied in the daily life of a person.
For instance, the concept of upholding virtues rather than showing commitment to principles can be useful in a variety of settings. For example, in one school, the rule stated that all students must arrive in class by 7 am. One student was consistently late, and every time, he was punished. One day the teacher established that the boy had to take his disabled grandfather to a residential home before coming to school. In the consecutive days the educator regretted and pardoned the boy when he was late.
Physicians, Patients, and Others by Munson and Lague
The chapter starts with a case of a 25-year-old Dax Cowart who was severely burned following an explosion of propane gas. Dax was quickly taken to Parkland Hospital to receive treatment. However, he consistently told the doctors to stop managing him so that he could die. The physicians continued with the treatment in the course of which some of his fingers were amputated and he became blind. By the time he was discharged, he was dependent on others due to the disabilities that he had incurred. The failure of the doctors to stop managing Dax when requested was a clear violation of the patient’s autonomy.
However, the doctors assumed that they were acting in the best interest of Dax. Paternalism is often perceived as being coercive and disrespectful to the patient regardless of the good intentions the doctor has. The chapter also introduces the concept of state paternalism in which the control is exerted by governmental body such as an agency (Munson & Lague, 2016). The liberalists are against such interference because they believe that a person such as Dax has liberty of action over their life.
For consent to be accepted as morally and legally meaningful, the sick person must have a good judgment, understand their condition and treatment options, and decide without being coerced. The chapter also mentions that use of placebo may cause moral dilemma due to failure of ensuring that there is informed consent because the researchers may hide some information from the patient (Munson & Lague, 2016). In cases where the victim is a minor, the parents become the decision makers. Pregnancy presents yet another complex dilemma where informed consent for the infant cannot be obtained. For instance, it is difficult to resolve the issues presented by mothers who believe that autism is associated with vaccination, hence fail to take prophylaxis and endanger the fetus. he faith of guardians and its influence on the infants is notable in the Neumann’s sentence in which religion is not excused for the neglect of a child. Conclusively, public health decisions should include judgment of the values regarding health, freedom of choice, and sickness.
I enjoyed reading the topic as it presented different ethical dilemmas between the patients, physicians, and others such as parents Using real-life case studies when introducing an issue made the chapter more interesting and thought-provoking. The most interesting aspect of the chapter is its use of real-life scenarios in explaining different ethical dilemmas. It was easier to relate to some of the issues during interactions with people in the healthcare setting. There is nothing I hated about this chapter since the organization and explanation of concepts was correctly done. The only suggestion for the authors is including more recent case studies rather than the one which happened many years ago. I think doing so would help show the different solutions to ethical dilemmas in medicine.
I believe that informed consent, just as explained in the chapter, is essential, as it dignifies the patient and gives them a sense of worthiness. One year ago, I was a participant in a research survey on reproductive health. The person conducting the study gave us a consent form, which we were supposed to sign before progressing to the questionnaires. I can relate that scenario with the legal and moral value of allowing the patient to make judgments pertaining to treatment. The lesson which I garnered is that the best interest of the client should always be the focus in any healthcare setting, more so when there is a dilemma.
Munson, R., & Lague, I. (2016). Chapter 1: Physicians, patients, and others: Roles and responsibilities. In Intervention and reflection: Basic issues in bioethics (10th ed.). Wadsworth Publishing Company.
Rae, S. (2018). Chapter 3: Christian Ethics. In Moral choices: An introduction to ethics (4th ed.). Zondervan Academic.