Medical Ethics/Paul Arveson

Kenneth Allen Feucht (
Sun, 5 May 1996 07:04:32 -0700

You say...
" The trouble is that we have reached a point where some are apparently =
polarized that they believe they can discern the will of God =
independently of=20
the broader community. Tell me please, what does the Bible tell you =
about AIDS, recombinant DNA, cancer therapy, Ebola, etc? If the =
SPECIFIC answers are there, we would all like to know."

The will of God is not always reflected by the broader community. Just =
ask John Calvin or Martin Luther. The Bible does provide clear =
principles in dealing with sickness of all sorts. We don't complain =
about Biblical imperatives in treating appendicitis or cholecystitis, as =
the principle is that of respect for human life in a Biblical context. I =
don't see why AIDS, cancer therapy or the treatment of Ebola reflect a =
different ethic. Some of my own research was with recombinant DNA, and I =
don't recall encountering any moral dilemmas when using the stuff. Its =
hard to find moral dilemmas in little bottles of clear liquid, and tiny =
black spots on sheets of cellulose film. Maybe I missed something.
The implications of what a Christian ethic means may vary among ASA =
members, but the ground rules are defined as being strictly Biblical. A =
person who does not believe in the total inerrantcy and infallibility of =
Scripture could and should take odds with a strictly Biblical ethic, but =
I accept the Bible to be sufficient to all that I need on ethics =
instruction. The rapport is to clarify Biblical injuctions, and this is =
not necessarily an endeavor demanding the qualifications of being a =
scientist. Albeit, it would be interesting.

Your arguments for performing a survey are convincing enough to me. When =
I assumed chairmanship of the Ethics committee at Rural Hospital, USA, =
my first action was to have all the committee members fill out a =
questionaire of various issues ranging from the method of doing ethics, =
the meaning of certain ethical words like "justice", and personal =
stances on issues like PAS (physician-assisted suicide). The results =
were quite surprising and beyond my expectation. If you desire, I'll =
send you a copy of that questionaire, and see if parts of it would be =
suitable to an ASA membership. How would you circulate the questionaire? =
The reflector doesn't "reflect" the majority of the ASA membership, and =
you'd have to use some other means to get a good survey.
Deus Vobiscum
Kenneth A. Feucht