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'An acceptance of the practice of Abortion (or of embryo research) is incompatible with Christian belief in the sanctity of life but not with the attitudes of ethical philosophers or popular politicians.' Discuss.

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Introduction

'An acceptance of the practice of Abortion (or of embryo research) is incompatible with Christian belief in the sanctity of life but not with the attitudes of ethical philosophers or popular politicians.' Discuss. Procured abortion, the deliberate killing and removal of a foetus from the womb, is hotly debated and very controversial in today's society. As well as the views of some modern moral philosophers, the Christian view on this situation is to be discussed in this analysis. The Teaching of the Bible All Christians accept the Bible as a source of authority. The Bible has an impact on Christians' faith and decisions as it shows them how to lead their lives, as God wants them to. If a Christian were to turn to the Bible for guidance on Abortion, they would find no direct teaching, concerning the topic. There are however sources in the Bible that underline the issue of sanctity of life as a basis to an argument against Abortion. The basis of the Christian belief is the importance of the sanctity of life. Christians emphasize that life is sacred, holy, worthy of reverence and should be respected, as do most other religions. The Bible emphasizes the sanctity of life by portraying life as a gift from God that should not be destroyed by any other authority. The Bible states in the 10 commandments, 'Thou shall not murder'1 or 'Thou shall not kill' The fifth commandment clearly states that it is condemned by God to eliminate an innocent person's life.2The act of Abortion can be related to the issue of murder. The Christian writer Patrick Reardon believes that, 'The act of Abortion is murder, and it is always murder, and there are no circumstances, ...read more.

Middle

not human already'.10 The Church sees life as sacred from conception and to destroy the baby would be seen as a sin at all times. Destroying the foetus during pregnancy is therefore seen as murder at all times. The Second Vatican Council states, 'Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: Abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes'11. The Roman Catholic Church believes that no one has authority over life, but God. Roman Catholics believe that it is not up to each individual Christian to decide what is right or wrong. The Catholic Church believes it has a teaching authority to say what is right or wrong. The Church tells people to look at the teaching of the church as a whole and has given very clear guidance on the issue. Once a person has been informed by the Church's teachings, they may then consult their own conscience. The Catholic Church has very strict guidelines when the topic of Abortion is concerned. This means there are differences of opinion from other denominations of Christianity concerning the topic, namely, the Protestant Church. The Protestant Tradition The Protestant Church, takes a slightly different approach when looking at the issue of Abortion. The Church believes that it is enough for people to look at the Bible and apply it to their own lives. The Church advises people to consult their own consciences rather than keep to the strictness of the Church. Some people take the 'Situation Ethics' approach where the absolute principle is 'love' rather than the sanctity of life and thus abortion would be seen as,' the most loving course of action'. ...read more.

Conclusion

(In some cases, Noonan states that abortion is permissible on the grounds of self-defence only when the foetus is a danger to the life of the mother. This view is similar to the view of the Protestant Tradition). Some Christians do not see, 'sanctity of life' as an absolute principle and allow exceptions in certain cases. For example the 'Situation Ethics' approach may be taken (as discussed in the Protestant Tradition section). Some Non-religious moral philosophers do not see 'sanctity of life' as an absolute value either. From the three out of the four philosophers discussed, one can see that they oppose the Christian idea of the sanctity of life as they support the issue of Abortion. However, objections can be made to these theories when medical practises can prove that the foetus can be viable outside the womb from as early as 21 weeks and therefore it could be said that the baby has equal moral rights to the mother at this stage. It may be useful to argue from a human rights point of view. The human rights organisation LIFE and pro-life supporters emphasize the biological fact that a fertilized egg already has the genetic blueprint of a unique human being and that it is difficult to give any clear cut-off point further on from when a person's life begins. From a religious point of view, the Catholic Church for example stresses that the soul is implanted in a person from conception and therefore abortion would be murdering the baby. The issue of Abortion is a complex issue and it is important to be clear on the philosophical assumptions being made, with explicit evidence supporting such assumptions because the issue deals with the human life, something sacred in most religions that should be treated with the utmost respect and equality. ...read more.

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