This paper critically explores key aspects of the gulf between traditional Christian bioethics and the secular moral reflections that dominate contemporary bioethics. For example, in contrast to traditional Christian morality, the established secular bioethics judges extramarital sex acts among consenting persons, whether of the same or different sexes, as at least morally permissible, affirms sexual freedom for children to develop their own sexual identity, and holds the easy availability of abortion and infanticide as central to the liberty interests of women. (...) Secular bioethics seeks to separate children from the authority of their parents, placing children themselves as in authority to make their own judgments about appropriate lifestyle choices, including sexual behaviors. As I argue, however, absent God, there exists no standpoint outside of our own cultural sociohistorically conditioned understanding from which to communicate any deeper perspective of reality or the bioethics that such a perspective would secure. Consequently, rather than discerning moral truth, secular bioethics merely affirms its own particular cultural sociohistorically conditioned ideological perspective. It is a social and political worldview bereft of definitive moral foundation, independent moral authority, or unambiguous content. (shrink)
Commentators routinely urge that it is morally permissible forcibly to treat psychiatric patients (1) to preserve the patient's best interests and (2) to restore the patient's autonomy. Such arguments specify duties of beneficence toward others, while appreciating personal autonomy as a positive value to be weighted against other factors. Varying by jurisdiction, legal statutes usually require, in addition, at least (3) that there exists the threat of harm to self or others. In this paper, I argue against embracing the first (...) two elements of this prevailing view. I also argue for a very restricted reading of the third element, based on the moral limits of permissible state action. (shrink)
The TRUTH is announced to creation by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth. Here, when the consciousness rises above “the double bound of space and time” and enters into eternity, here at this moment of annunciation, the One Who announces the Truth and the Truth Announced coincide completely. In the appearance of the Spirit of Truth, i.e., in the light of Tabor, the form and the content of the Truth are one (Florensky, 1997, p. 106).
Accounts of natural law moral philosophy and theology sought principles and precepts for morality, law, and other forms of social authority, whose prescriptive force was not dependent for validity on human decision, social influence, past tradition, or cultural convention, but through natural reason itself. This volume critically explores and assesses our contemporary culture wars in terms of: the possibility of natural law moral philosophy and theology to provide a unique, content-full, canonical morality; the character and nature of moral pluralism; the (...) limits of justifiable national and international policy seeking to produce and preserve human happiness, social justice, and the common good; the ways in which morality, moral epistemology, and social political reform must be set within the broader context of an appropriately philosophically and theologically anchored anthropology. This work will be of interest to philosophers, theologians, bioethicists, ethicists and political scientists. (shrink)
The legal basis of informed consent in Texas may on first examination suggest an unqualified affirmation of persons as the source of authority over themselves. This view of individuals in the practice of informed consent tends to present persons outside of any social context in general and outside of their families in particular. The actual functioning of law and medical practice in Texas, however, is far more complex. This study begins with a brief overview of the roots of Texas law (...) and public policy regarding informed consent. This surface account is then contrasted with examples drawn from the actual functioning of Texas law: Texas legislation regarding out-of-hospital do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders. As a default approach to medical decision-making when patients lose decisional capacity and have failed to appoint a formal proxy or establish their wishes, this law establishes a defeasible presumption in favor of what the law characterizes as “qualified relatives” who can function as decision-makers for those terminal family members who lose decisional capacity. The study shows how, in the face of a general affirmation of the autonomy of individuals as if they were morally and socially isolated agents, space is nevertheless made for families to choose on behalf of their own members. The result is a multi-tier public morality, one affirming individuals as morally authoritative and the other recognizing the decisional standing of families. (shrink)