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PHI-413V Ethical and Spiritual Decision Making in Health

PHI-413V Ethical and Spiritual Decision Making in Health

PHI-413V Ethical and Spiritual Decision Making in Health
PHI-413V Ethical and Spiritual Decision Making in Health
PHI-413V Ethical and Spiritual Decision Making in Health

Ethical and spiritual decision making in health care

Death is an inevitable event to all biological life, to include humans. For whatever reason, whether intentional, accidental and logical progression, all biological life must come to an end thereby completing the process that began at conception. Still, medical sciences have made significant advances that have changed the traditional concept of death such that interventions are now available for prolonging life and enabling continued life where previously death would have been the inevitable outcome. In fact, end of life care has changed the concept of death through intervening to support the biological systems and allow for continued life in the face of terminal illness, although it incurs significant costs and lowers the quality of life. This state of affairs (the medical advances) has created a unique situation in which individuals faced with death now have the opportunity to access medical care that prolongs their lives (Ferngen, 2014). Although the advances in medical sciences have presented opportunities for prolonging life, they simply slow down the process of death and do not offer a promise of recovery since it typically involves patients being connected to machines that replace the defective body systems to do their functions. For instance, a dialysis machine doing the function of a kidney with regular dialysis required or else the toxins build up in the body and cause death. This creates a situation in which the quality of life is lowered, not to talk of the associated costs of care, thereby raising the question over when life should be discontinued even if life prolong measures are available. This is a situation that patients receiving end of life care typically face as they decide between foregoing treatment and dying or prolonging their lives using medical technologies so that their quality of life is lowered and they have to pay high medical costs (Ruggiero, 2015). The present analysis discusses the ethical and religious implications of end of life options available to terminally ill patients. PHI-413V Ethical and Spiritual Decision Making in Health


How would George interpret his suffering in light of the Christian narrative, with an emphasis on the fallenness of the world?

The Christian narrative is very accepting of suffering as a necessary trial for every person. These trials (sufferings) are intended to determine who is worthy of one day joining Jesus and God in paradise. Acts 14:22 (KJV) makes it clear that all Christians must confirm their faith by facing tribulations as a necessary test for getting into the Kingdom of God. The implication is that a Christian must be accepting of suffering, irrespective of the form that it takes. To suffer is the reality of the world and acts as an acknowledgement that the world is flawed, unlike paradise that has no suffering. While living in the world, Christians must accept tears, pain, mourning and death as a part of their tribulations. Revelations 21:4 (KJV) states that the only way through which Christians can escape the suffering is to be accepted by God upon death and go into paradise where will live forever and not experience any more tears, pain, mourning and death. This means that Christians must accept suffering as a part of their life on earth, and that it is not random or without purpose. Rather, suffering is intended to temper them as an earthly experience that redeems their physical bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (KJV) adds words of encouragement that although Christians suffer on earth, they have not been forsaken and should neither question the suffering nor be in despair since it serves God’s purpose. Besides that, all suffering will be within bearable levels as a test and not punishment since God will always be there to offer comfort in our time of need (Job 2:9-10, KJV; 2 Corinthians 1:4, KJV). Overall, it becomes clear that suffering is a test permitted by God and intended to temper Christians and make them worthy of God’s mercy and favor. As a transient state that passes over time and lasts for as long as we are in this world, Chreistians should be more accepting of the suffering as a reflection of the fallenness of the world even as it prepared them for a life after death in paradise where they will not experience suffering again.

How would George interpret his suffering in light of the Christian narrative, with an emphasis on the hope of resurrection?
In light of the Christian narrative, George would interpret his suffering as a fulfilment of God’s word. The bible verses discussed in the Christian narrative show that suffering is a test to identify those who will enjoy a life without suffering in paradise after death. Despite God’s best intentions for creating Adam and Eve and placing them in the Garden of Eden, they ended up rebelling and bringing sin to the rest of their descendants who include all humans. This means that every person is born with sin. As a punishment and test, God decided that humans would suffer and their performance during the times of tribulation would determine those who would receive forgiveness for their sins and get to enjoy life in paradise after death (Genesis 2:17, KJV). Suffering is unavoidable, and should be perceived as a test and reminder that life on earth is transient and we need to obey God’s word in order to enjoy eternal life in heaven. As a Christian, George should accept the suffering as a test from God. He should know that by going through the suffering, he becomes worth of God’s mercy and favor, and will enjoy life in paradise after death (Chryssides & Geaves, 2014).PHI-413V Ethical and Spiritual Decision Making in Health

As George contemplates life with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), how would the Christian worldview inform his view about the value of his life as a person?
As George contemplates life with ALS, the Christian worldview would inform him that life is without price and only God has the right to assign any value to life. All humans were created by God in his image, with life being given as a gift when God breathed life into Adam as the first created human (Genesis 1:26-27, KJV; Genesis 2:7, KJV). This implies that life is a favor from God, and we life by God’s grace and mercy. Job 34:14 (KJV) explains this by indicating that no being has the right to take human life except God who gave life and can withdraw breath. By extension, all life belongs to God so that every person is simply a steward of the life given by God and that will be returned to God upon death. As such, George can be considered as the steward of his life that was given by God. As a steward, he should take care of the life given by God and should never contemplate cutting that life short. Besides that, any death resultant from intentional actions, carelessness or negligence will be punished by God. This is explained in the Ten Commandments where God commands that there shall be no killing (Exodus 20:13, KJV). Any person who takes a life without just cause will in turn lose a life (Exodus 21:14, KJV). As such, George should make the best of his life with the present medical technologies and should not contemplate taking his life since it is a gift from God.


What sorts of values and considerations would the Christian worldview focus on in deliberating about whether or not George should opt for euthanasia?
Physical suffering is inevitable for all humans, a result of the original sin by Adam and Eve. Every Christian should perceive suffering as a test. George should similarly look at his suffering as a test that will allow him get into paradise should he pass. Besides that, George should perceive his life as invaluable and that he is only a steward taking care of the gift of life given by God. As a result, he must carry on with his life and never intentionally look for ways to shorten his life. 1 Samuel 31:3-5 (KJV) specifically talks of euthanasia. It talks of King Saul who was fatally wounded and suffering. He sought to have his life shortened in order to escape posing suffering and humiliation from his enemies. However, his armor bearer refused to take his life as he respected the commandments of God. The armor bearer understood that life is a gift from God and should not be taken lightly even in the midst of suffering. Although Saul faced greater suffering and humiliation, this was a test from God that he should have borne as a Christian. This makes it clear that regardless of the situation that George faces with his ALS, he should never contemplate euthanasia under any circumstance.

Based on the values and considerations above, what options would be morally justified in the Christian worldview for George and why?
God gave humans life as a gift and has clear instructions that life should be respected. In addition, God lets humans suffer as a test of their faith and in preparation for a better life in paradise. As such, George should guard the life given to him by God and go through his suffering with ALS by considering it as a test. Choosing the easy option of taking his life is not only unjustified, but also violates God’s instructions. Given this awareness, the morally justified decision for George would be to continue receiving treatment and bear the suffering until his life ends from natural causes, or until he is cured. PHI-413V Ethical and Spiritual Decision Making in Health

Based on your worldview, what decision would you make if you were in George’s situation?
As a Christian and based on my worldview, I would opt to continued seeking treatment. Although I have not borne the pain and indignity of ALS, but I believe that no person will ever be exposed to suffering that he or she cannot bear. God is watching over us and always guides our lives so that whatever suffering we experience is moderated. God’s love cannot be taken for granted. As such, the only option for me as a Christian is to continue receiving treatment and explore medical technologies for ways to relieve the suffering. I would never contemplate suicide as an option since this would bar me from entering paradise.


Chryssides, G. & Geaves, R. (2014). The study of religion: an introduction to key ideas and methods (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic.

Ferngren, G. (2014). Medicine and religion: a historical introduction. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press

Ruggiero, V. (2015). Thinking critically about ethical issues (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.





PHI-413V Ethical and Spiritual Decision Making in Health

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