Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 4 - April/May 2005

Online Magazine: Edition 4

April/May 2005

Welcome to the Fourth Edition of the Online Magazine of the Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church




by Norman Tew

In the news in March were two very different stories that both hinged on ethical issues and which illustrated how important it is to follow the rules of God, and how difficult it can be at times in the complex world to know what is right.

The first story was that involving the Federal Minister, Tony Abbot in first elation at finding his son and then confusion when he discovered that he had not fathered the son.  It has been interesting how many sympathetic journalists have avoided laying blame, by saying that at the time the whole story started, they were young people living free, though foolish lives.

From the Christian viewpoint however, though it is not passing a judgement on anyone involved, it is obvious that if the young people concerned had been guided by Christian principles of purity and chastity before marriage, no one would have been hurt in that way.

The other story happened in Florida over the court decision to allow a husband to cease artificial means of maintaining the life of his brain dead wife, against the wishes of her family.  Here a Christian group were very vocal in maintaining that "life" must be preserved. 

I have been involved in a small way in a similar situation when my aged father, after a long and generally healthy life, was dying.  After he was no longer conscious, and when he was unable to take food, the doctor ordered a glucose solution to maintain hydration.  This however also "fed" him and maintained his life; we eventually were able to request that a saline solution be used, which would maintain hydration and comfort, but not artificially prolong life.

This is a very difficult area.  In the past medical personnel did all they could to maintain life, but they had such limited means at their disposal.  Today it is possible to maintain organic life after brain death has occurred.  This places medical advisors and the families of the individual with very difficult ethical decisions to make.  It is impossible to make blanket rules for all cases and those concerned have to make decisions after consulting their own consciences.

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