While Christians are irate when it comes to abortion and fetal body parts, they are peculiarly silent when it comes to harvesting organs from brain-dead organ donors—Christians are gravely inconsistent concerning this matter.
Is this true that many Christians’ beliefs are inconsistent when it comes to their approach to organ donation?
Included in the argument Christopher writes,read more
In the posting titled Personhood – Which Comes First Death of the Body or Departure of the Soul/ I grappled with the question of the mind. Science can show that activities of the mind and physical activities in the brain are connected but science does not prove that the mind is simply a function of physical brain activity. Clearly, for others to know that thoughts are occurring in a person’s mind the person must have a functioning brain to express the thoughts through. Actually, more than just a functioning brain is usually required. Except when there is some kind of real time brain scanner, such as a functional MRI scan, assessing the brain, we can only know that the mind is active when the brain uses the physical attributes of the body to express the activity of the mind, such as the movement of the lungs, vocal cords and mouth, etc. This does not necessarily mean that a person’s brain must be functioning in order to think. There are examples of people who because of brain malfunction have temporarily lost the ability to move or speak, who were later able to reveal that during the time of lost function that their minds were active. The question before us is this. Is there some area of the brain that is the mind, or is the mind other than the brain and only, in a sense, making use of the brain? I accept that the center of the mind in our bodies is the brain but is the brain the mind?read more
Why would we concern ourselves with which comes first, the death of the body or the departure of the soul?
This question becomes important when we desire vital organs for transplantation. Vital organs must come from bodies that are alive. See blog posting Vital Organ Donation – The Most Important Question. So far, our society generally agrees that a person must be dead for vital organs to be removed. For vital organ donation to be right there needs to be a way for a person to be dead, while their body is still alive. For this to be the case many would agree that the soul needs to depart before the body dies. Thus the question, which comes first, death of the body of departure of the soul?read more
I have already Commented on the question, Are those who fail to pass brain stem function tests really dead? (read blog entry Organ-donation – Are Brain Dead Really Dead?) In this entry I would like to consider another approach to the claim that those who are brain dead are really dead.
The argument accepts the biblical view that when a person is dead then the neurologic (brain), circulatory (heart), and respiratory (Lungs) systems are each dead.
In order to maintain the biblical requirement for death, the argument goes something like this. The brain stem is responsible for maintaining life, such that without brain stem function, the body will die. Since brain stem function is necessary for other organ systems to continue to function, the reason why other organ systems may continue to function is because they are being artificially supported. If the artificial support is discontinued, then these organ systems would cease to function as well. The implication is that, since these organ systems are being supported artificially, their life is really artificial, that is that they are not really living and the person is dead.read more