Orthodoxy & Bioethics

Advances in biology and medicine are ongoing and amazing.  How do we as Orthodox Christians respond when confronted with practical decisions about life, death, and “in between”?  Just because we can … should we?  Jesus never spoke directly about stem cell research, or nanotechnology, or the theory of natural selection … what should I do?  Is my faith relevant to genetic counseling, fertility treatment, or drone technology?

Welcome to the land of Orthodox Bioethics!  This page will house resources for our time together.  Also, we will try and make this course user-friendly for those who cannot be with us in person.  Would you like to follow the  class from home?  Hopefully you can.  It will take some time to find a good routine, but stick with us!

Session 1.  Introduction:  What is ethics?

  • Overview. Ethics is the study of making moral judgments.  When is an action (or person) good or bad?  right or wrong?  just or unjust?  In this first lecture we take our time, step back a bit, and explore three general approaches one might take in moral philosophy.  Here is a question for YOU: are you a deontologist, a teleologist, or a consequentialist?  What approach (if any) best describes the commandments of Christ?
  • Power Point:  file  |  slide pdfs
  • Lecture (mp3) … (1 hour, 6 minutes)
  • How to follow: OK, this is tough.  We are still working on a good routine.  Try: (1) playing the mp3 lecture, and (2) following the power point file (slide show or pdf) as best you can.  Unfortunately, the audio file does not tell you when to advance to the next slide. There are no “prompts.”  (Working on this for future classes!)

Session 2.  How do we begin?  Part 1.

  • Overview:  Not everyone is Orthodox (duh), or cares to think like an Orthodox Christian.  How different are we?  What challenges do we face?  And where do we begin?  What are the “sources” that we should go to?  We will talk today about Scripture, Tradition, Worship, and Canon law.
  • Powerpoint:  file  |  slide pdfs
  • Lecture (mp3) … (1 hour, 25 minutes)
  • How to follow:  We are making some progress!  In the mp3 audio file, I tried to make come clear signals  —  like “and now we are moving to slide 4.”  Sometimes I get it right, and sometimes I don’t.  But I hope you can follow.

Session 3.  How do we begin? Part 2.

  • Overview:

Session 4.