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Moral Theology

Hannah Jean Brown
Core Buddhist principles of continuity, karmic assignment, and emphasis on separation of mind from body, permit, though do not expressly advocate for, the practice of abortion. Further, in certain contemporary contexts, Buddhist practices exist to mitigate the suffering experienced by women who have lost an unborn child, whether through abortion or miscarriage. In modern-day Japan for example, many Buddhists practice mizuko kuyō, a set of formal remembrance rituals, which provides structured support to families in their efforts to mourn, to remember the departed, and to celebrate the redirection of human potential...
January 23, 2019: Journal of Religion and Health
Martin E P Seligman
As president of APA in 1998, I organized researchers and practitioners to work on building well-being, not just on the traditional task of reducing ill-being. Substantial research then found that well-being causes many external benefits, including better physical and mental health. Among the applications of Positive Psychology are national psychological accounts of wellbeing, Positive Psychotherapy, the classification of strengths and virtues, Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, and Positive Education. Positive Psychology has spread beyond psychology into neuroscience, health, psychiatry, theology, and even to the humanities...
December 10, 2018: Annual Review of Clinical Psychology
Hugh Burling
This article sets out a formal procedure for determining the probability that God would do a specified action, using our moral knowledge and understanding God as a perfect being. To motivate developing the procedure I show how natural theology - design arguments, the problems of evil and divine hiddenness, and the treatment of miracles and religious experiences as evidence for claims about God - routinely appeals to judgments involving these probabilities. To set out the procedure, I describe a decision-theoretic model for practical reasoning which is deontological so as to appeal to theists, but is designed not to presuppose any substantive moral commitments, and to accommodate normative and non-normative uncertainty...
2018: Philosophia
Mohammad A Z Khan, Justin C Konje
Advances in the field of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) are constantly evolving, starting from Artificial Insemination (AI) and in-vitro fertilization (IVF), to the current state of the art technologies that enable embryo biopsy for Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT). The future includes gene mapping and DNA replacement technologies with the potential for the so-called "designer babies." In other words, shortly, a modern couple may be in a position to decide how to procreate and with whom; which pregnancy to keep and which one to terminate depending on their prior knowledge about the pregnancy and the available choices...
January 2019: European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology
Amit Kravitz
The first few sections of this article concern the pleasure taken in the dynamically sublime. I argue that, according to Kant, intuited nature does not only serve to occasion that pleasure, but is actually a constitutive element of it. The latter sections concern the role of the dynamically sublime in Kant's philosophy. I argue that this notion is a significant link between morality and theology. This explains why some unique anti-Kantian arguments directed against the link have led Schelling to develop an alternative conception of the sublime, which must be understood in terms of tragedy...
2018: Journal of the History of Ideas
Jan Grimell
This psychological exegesis reconsiders biblical characters through recent theories on moral injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The purposes of this article are to shed new light on these characters and to engage in conversations of what the findings may mean for pastoral care and their connections to theology. The findings include the proposal of four categorical types of combat veterans that illustrate the development of PTSD, resilience, moral injury, and unfaltering abidance to the warrior ethics...
October 8, 2018: Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling: JPCC
David Albert Jones
Infant male circumcision (IMC) has become controversial among Catholics, and many have criticized the practice of routine IMC, still widely performed in the United States. Others have gone further, claiming that circumcision has been condemned explicitly by the Church and criticizing IMC as "mutilation" and, hence, prohibited implicitly by Catholic moral principles. However, closer examination of the Catholic tradition shows that the Church regards IMC as having been a means of grace under the Old Covenant and, more importantly, in the flesh of Jesus...
February 2018: Linacre Quarterly
Daniel P Sulmasy
This special issue of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics takes up the question of palliative sedation as a source of potential concern or controversy among Christian clinicians and thinkers. Christianity affirms a duty to relieve unnecessary suffering yet also proscribes euthanasia. Accordingly, the question arises as to whether it is ever morally permissible to render dying patients unconscious in order to relieve their suffering. If so, under what conditions? Is this practice genuinely morally distinguishable from euthanasia? Can one ever aim directly at making a dying person unconscious, or is it only permissible to tolerate unconsciousness as an unintended side effect of treating specific symptoms? What role does the rule of double effect play in making such decisions? Does spiritual or psychological suffering ever justify sedation to unconsciousness? What are the theological and spiritual aspects of such care? This introduction describes how the authors in this special issue wrestle with such questions and shows how each essay relates to the author's individual position on palliative sedation, as developed in greater detail within his contribution...
June 2018: Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics
Joseph L Verheijde, Mohamed Y Rady, Michael Potts
The conception and the determination of brain death continue to raise scientific, legal, philosophical, and religious controversies. While both the President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research in 1981 and the President's Council on Bioethics in 2008 committed to a biological definition of death as the basis for the whole-brain death criteria, contemporary neuroscientific findings augment the concerns about the validity of this biological definition...
June 21, 2018: Journal of Religion and Health
Michael W Hickson
I argue that Pierre Bayle was the first modern author to re-secularize the concept of moral conscience after it had been tied to Christian theology for centuries. Bayle's first moral writings espoused a traditional, theological conception of conscience which was unfit to support his theory of toleration. Over three decades of reflection, Bayle gradually rendered conscience completely independent of theology, and therefore made it suitable as a foundation of a theory of universal toleration. We witness in Bayle's moral writings not only the emergence of the modern, secular conscience, but also the process of secularization...
2018: Journal of the History of Ideas
Mohsin Choudry, Aishah Latif, Katharine G Warburton
For many who pertain to particular theological paradigms, their faith cannot be compartmentalised, but is mobilised to inform all aspects of their being, most notably their ethical and moral persuasions. As clinicians, the concept that there are good and bad deaths is already known; understanding the origin and depth of non-physical suffering, and aiming to alleviate it is not possible without learning the individual experiences and beliefs that go with it. Spiritual care forms a fundamental consideration in the endeavor to address the holistic experience of those patients receiving palliative care...
February 2018: Clinical Medicine: Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London
John M Haas
Cases of a vital conflict, where the lives of both the mother and child are at risk during pregnancy, have been the subject of recent vigorous debate. The basic principles put forth in the Ethical and Religious Directives are reviewed, as is the principle of double effect. An illustrative case of severe cardiomyopathy in a pregnant woman is described and it is noted that the principle of double effect would not apply. Counter arguments are noted, focusing on Martin Rhonheimer who posits that in the case of vital conflicts, such as performing a craniotomy on a baby stuck in the birth canal, taking the baby's life does not constitute a direct abortion because moral norms do not apply in the extreme conflict situation where both mother and child will die...
August 2017: Linacre Quarterly
Samuel L Perry
Religious Americans, and conservative Protestants in particular, have historically been the most ardent opponents of pornography's production, dissemination, and use. Yet while religiously committed and theologically conservative Americans are generally less likely to view pornography than others, the difference is often not as great or consistent as one might suppose given their strong moral stance. Drawing on insights from religious incongruence theory, this study considered whether religious commitment and theological conservatism predicted a greater incongruence between what Americans say they believe about pornography morally and whether they actually watch it...
March 2018: Journal of Sex Research
J J Ramstein, J Halpern, A J Gadzinski, R E Brannigan, J F Smith
The successful treatment of boys with cancer has led to increasing attention to preserving their quality of life after completing cancer therapy. One of the top priorities for living a full life is keeping open the opportunity to have children. While sperm banking for males facing sterilizing cancer treatment can be effective, this approach requires subsequent use of reproductive procedures such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI) to achieve a pregnancy. Advances in fertility preservation techniques may allow pre-pubertal boys to conceive using advanced stem cell technologies and stem cell transplantation in the future...
July 2017: Andrology
Karen Shields Wright
Catholic social teaching (CST), a branch of moral theology, addresses contemporary issues within the political, economic, and cultural structures of society. The threefold cornerstone of CST contains the principles of human dignity, solidarity, and subsidiarity. It is the foundation on which to form our conscience in order to evaluate the framework of society and is the Catholic criteria for prudential judgment and direction in developing current policy-making. With knowledge of these social principles, in combination with our faith, we will be more armed and informed as to articulate the Catholic vision of reality, the truthful nature of the human person and society, to apply and integrate the social teachings in our everyday administrative and clinical encounters, and through the virtue of charity take action within the social, political, and economic spheres in which we have influence...
February 2017: Linacre Quarterly
Justin J Sanders, Vinca Chow, Andrea C Enzinger, Tai-Chung Lam, Patrick T Smith, Rebecca Quiñones, Andrew Baccari, Sarah Philbrick, Gloria White-Hammond, John Peteet, Tracy A Balboni, Michael J Balboni
BACKGROUND: People with serious illness frequently rely on religion/spirituality to cope with their diagnosis, with potentially positive and negative consequences. Clergy are uniquely positioned to help patients consider medical decisions at or near the end of life within a religious/spiritual framework. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to examine clergy knowledge of end-of-life (EOL) care and beliefs about the role of faith in EOL decision making for patients with serious illness...
October 2017: Journal of Palliative Medicine
Aasim I Padela
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights asserts that governments are morally obliged to promote health and to provide access to quality healthcare, essential medicines and adequate nutrition and water to all members of society. According to UNESCO, this obligation is grounded in a moral commitment to promoting fundamental human rights and emerges from the principle of social responsibility. Yet in an era of ethical pluralism and contentions over the universality of human rights conventions, the extent to which the UNESCO Declaration can motivate behaviors and policies rests, at least in part, upon accepting the moral arguments it makes...
December 2017: Developing World Bioethics
Joseph Arias
Stephen Napier has argued against the soundness of what he calls the "Canon-Law argument" against the moral permissibility of a couple employing a condom for the sake of one spouse avoiding the contraction of HIV from the other spouse. Without an attempt to provide a full defense of the Canon-Law argument per se, this paper argues that Napier has not shown that argument to be inadequate. Napier's critique of that argument suffers from unsubstantiated counterexamples and from a failure to take into account analogous senses of "procreative end" in reference to the conjugal act...
August 2016: Linacre Quarterly
Ezra Sullivan, Nicanor Austriaco
Several empirical studies suggest that recreational marijuana is popularly perceived as an essentially harmless rite of passage that ends as young people settle into their careers and their adult intimate relationships. Is this perception accurate? To answer this question, we evaluate the morality of recreational marijuana use from a virtue perspective guided by the theological synthesis of St. Thomas Aquinas. Since the medical data reveals that recreational marijuana use is detrimental to the well-being of the user, we conclude that it is a vicious activity, an instance of the vice of intoxication, and as such would be morally illicit...
May 2016: Linacre Quarterly
Alexander Pavuk
Edwin Grant Conklin, renowned US embryologist and evolutionary popularizer, publicly advocated a social vision of evolution that intertwined science and modernist Protestant theology in the early 1920s. The moral prestige of professional science in American culture - along with Conklin's own elite scientific status - diverted attention from the frequency with which his work crossed boundaries between natural science, religion and philosophy. Writing for broad audiences, Conklin was one of the most significant of the religious and modernist biological scientists whose rhetoric went well beyond simply claiming that certain kinds of religion were amenable to evolutionary science; he instead incorporated religion itself into evolution's broadest workings...
January 2017: Annals of Science
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