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RST-306-20, Christian Bioethics (FA13)

INSTRUCTOR:  Dr. Brian Berry

SCHEDULE/DAY/TIME: T2/SAT/8:30-11:15AM 10/26/13-12/14/13

CONTENT: 

This course is an introduction to bioethics from a Christian perspective. Following initial discussion of the context and method of contemporary Christian bioethics, in the first part of the course, we will examine various issues related to the end of life, including physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, forgoing treatment, and organ transplantation. In the second part, we will explore specific issues concerning the beginning of life, including abortion and assisted reproduction. In the third part, we will then discuss certain issues regarding research and genetics, including research on animals and human subjects, cloning and stem cell research, and genetic testing and therapy. Finally, in the fourth part, we will consider select issues that highlight the social and global dimensions of bioethics, including health care reform and HIV/AIDS. Special attention will be given throughout to Roman Catholic and Protestant approaches.    

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: 

This course is designed to enable students to:                       

1. Appreciate the interdisciplinary character of Christian bioethics and how it appeals to scientific, religious and philosophical sources.                

2. Identify the similarities and differences between Roman Catholic and Protestant approaches to bioethics.                                                        

3. Recognize the degree to which bioethics today includes social and global dimensions.           

4. Express clearly and convincingly, both orally and in writing, their own positions on a range of contemporary bioethical issues.

METHODS:                                                                                                                                                

1. Guided readings.

2. Writing assignments.

3. Class discussions and lectures.    

REQUIREMENTS AND ASSIGNMENTS:

1. Attendance at all classes and active participation (20%).

2. Four essays of three pages each (40%).

3. A mid-term and a final exam (40%).

REQUIRED TEXT(S) OR MATERIALS:

1. Pence, Gregory E. Medical Ethics: Accounts of Ground-Breaking Cases, 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. ISBN 9780073407494.

2. Meilaender, Gilbert. Bioethics: A Primer for Christians, 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2013. ISBN 9780802867704.

3. Cahill, Lisa Sowle. Theological Bioethics: Participation, Justice, and Change. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2005. ISBN 9781589010758.

READINGS AND/OR ASSIGNMENTS TO BE DONE PRIOR TO THE FIRST CLASS:

Pence, Medical Ethics, 339-53.

Meilaender, Bioethics, 1-9.

Cahill, Theological Bioethics, 1-12.