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With reference to relevant examples, explain what Christians understand by the principle of the Sacredness of Human Life.

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Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐With reference to relevant examples, explain what Christians understand by the principle of the Sacredness of Human Life. [35] Beliefs about the sanctity of life lie at the heart of all the ethical debates on embryo experiments, abortion and euthanasia. This is the Christian belief that all life is a sacred gift from God, and that humans are not at liberty to destroy or experiment with it. All humans are created ?Imago Dei? ? in the image of God ? and have intrinsic worth. In examining why they believe this, a good place to start is what the Bible says. According to the Christian Institute, the Bible clearly supports the view that life begins at conception. The fundamental prohibition on killing, and the basis for it, is set out in Genesis 9:6: ?Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.? Only man has a soul. ...read more.

Middle

The Christian belief in the sanctity of life then informs the issue of personhood. The Roman Catholic Church in particular believes that personhood is conferred from the moment of conception. This is due to their affirmation of the principle in Natural Law teaching in the primary precepts identified by Aquinas and subsequent implications, e.g. innocent human life must be protected. Natural Law is deontological. It deals with absolute moral principles that look at whether an action is right or wrong. Killing, whether abortion or euthanasia, is seen as equivalent to murder. This explains why the Catholic Church is opposed to abortion, euthanasia, embryo research etc. Life and Death issues are much more black and white with Natural Law. The sacredness of life is a principle that can be applied to many situations, including abortion, euthanasia, I.V.F., embryo experimentation and suicide. Using abortion as an example, conservative churches such as the Roman Catholic Church and the Free Presbyterian Church are against abortion. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, Christendom is extremely diverse and many hold less absolutist positions, believing that life should be treated with dignity but not kept alive at all costs. This view is similar to situation ethics. Situation Ethics demands that you do the most loving thing in any circumstance. There are no hard and fast rules. Situation Ethics is pragmatic, and would look at what is in people's best interests. Situation Ethicists would advocate ignoring rules about sanctity of life in order to do the pragmatic thing. That doesn't mean that you should discard the rule about not killing one person to save others. It's a good rule, but in some situations (each situation is different) love will motivate you to break the rules. Liberal churches such as the United Methodist Church hold such a view. Overall, Christians who believe in the sanctity of life believe that a human embryo is not a potential human being; it is a human being with potential. Professor John Wyatt, Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics at University College, London, rejects the notion that personhood depends on how you function: ?Our dignity is intrinsic, in the way we have been made.? ...read more.

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