• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Christianity section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Christianity essays

  1. Compare and contrast the key features of Natural Moral Law & Virtue Ethics

    Therefore, Aquinas' assumption that all men seek to worship God may seem unnatural to many and the idea of a God-given moral code within nature is meaningless to those who do not believe in God as a creator. Natural Law holds that there is an objective morality that humans can

  2. With Reference to other aspects of Human Experience explore the claim that there will ...

    He fled through the mountains to India soon after the failed 1959 uprising, and the effective collapse of the Tibetan resistance movement. In India he established a government-in-exile. After the founding of the exiled government he reestablished the approximately 80,000 Tibetan refugees who followed him into exile in agricultural settlements.

  1. With reference to other aspects of human experience, comment on the view that monastic ...

    It also meant a big increase in the amount of unwanted pregnancies. Unlike monastic living which promoted the selfless giving of ones self to the community, we have adopted a hedonistic, narcissistic attitude. We have become our own lust. Michael Maher points out that the standards in Celtic monasteries are "severe, particularly in the area of sexual morality".

  2. Abortion, a christians view.

    The Church of England, on the other hand, argues that in some circumstances an abortion can be acceptable. Catholic teachings on the creation of life are based on the idea of Natural Law. St Thomas Aquinas believed that God created the world for a purpose.

  1. Cyrano de Bergerac Act V Character List.

    At the Curtain Rise the nuns are coming and going across the Park; several of them are seated on the Bench around Mother Marguerite de Jesus (Mother Superior). The leaves are falling. Sister Claire says to the other nuns that Cyrano will make fun of them if they tell him

  2. Biblical World View About the Euthanasia, Suicide, and Capital Punishment

    People who committed suicide for further purpose are satisfactory. And a confident person will probably conquer the emotional suicide. Christians do not easily attempt to suicide, because God do not give something that more than man could bear. The saved people will have the eternal life in the heaven.

  1. With reference to the topics you have ...

    Arguments against the empty tomb detail are the fact that, St Paul gives the ?official Christian list? of resurrection appearances, without making a single reference to the empty tomb. Also, sceptics claim that the body of Jesus was simply stolen (i.e.

  2. Covenants between Man and God in the Bible

    Jesus Christ is the basis of the new covenant. We can either accept this or reject it. Because he loves us, he urges us to accept it and to put our faith in Jesus Christ and to understand him as our only means of salvation. Jesus through his life set an example to others that a Human can live without sin.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work