Why do I talk about personhood? Personhood has come to be part of the discussion of organ donation, abortion, and euthanasia. Why?
A basic definition of personhood is the state of being a person. This is important because we place special value, along with moral and legal rights and responsibilities, upon persons. So, when we want to attribute rights and responsibilities to certain people, or we want to take rights and responsibilities away from certain people, we can, in our arguments, attempt to show it is right to do so by attributing, or by not attributing, personhood to them.read more
Recently reviewing an essay on Organ Donation which I wrote in 1998, I came across some thoughts on the definition personhood. How a “person” is defined plays a vital role in how we approach things like vital organ donation and assisted death. Our society is rapidly moving to a definition of personhood that connects a person’s intrinsic value to their ability to think. Those with less ability to think are considered to have less value and are more easily deemed expendable.read more
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
For the harvesting of vital organs from bodies that appear to be alive to be considered acceptable, it becomes important to be able to define a person as dead while their body is still “alive.” Taking of vital organs, necessarily, results in the death of the body. To harvest vital organs before a person is dead is not acceptable within biblical Christianity, since the Bible contains commands against killing. See blog posting Vital Organ Donation – The Most Important Question. Biblically, people are body and soul and at death there is a separation of body and soul. For biblical Christianity to accept vital organ harvesting from living bodies, death needs to be declared while the body is still alive. If death is defined by the moment the soul leaves the body, and we can show that the soul can leave the body while the life blood is still flowing, then those who follow the tenants of biblical Christianity can accept vital organ donation.read more