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Sharing the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on the Sacredness of Human Life
ISRAEL | APOSTOLATE | NEWS
Two conferences on bioethics and religion at the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center encourage interreligious reflection and cooperation on life issues.

Participants in Jerusalem congress
The participants of the conferences.

December 16, 2009. Jerusalem, Israel. From December 13-14, two conferences were held at the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, where world-renowned bioethicists from the three great monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam gathered to reflect on how their unique religions and cultures are facing today’s emerging bioethical problems. The bioethicists focused on understanding the foundational faith convictions that shape the way believers from each of the three faiths approach these problems.

Both conferences were a privileged moment for representatives from different faiths to work together to face a problem of universal relevance. View the program in pdf format here.

The first conference, held on December 13, was entitled “Culture of Life and Religion,” and was organized by the recently created UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights (Rome, Italy) and by the Master’s degree program in Science and Faith of the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College in
Dr Mustafa Abu Sway, of the Al-Quds University of Jerusalem.
Dr Mustafa Abu Sway, of the Al-Quds University of Jerusalem.
Rome. At this conference, the themes of life and bioethics were examined in light of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions, focusing on each religion’s vision of the value of human life.
 
The December 14 conference, on the theme “Bioethics, Law, and Religion in End of Life Issues,” was organized by the Bioethics Faculty of the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College, together with the International Federation of Centers and Institutes of Bioethics of Personalist Inspiration (FIBIP). The speakers reflected on the religious convictions and principles guiding the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim response to end of life issues.

Conclusions

Some of the conclusions reached through a comparative analysis of how the three religions face life issues included:

• Human life is sacred; it was created and given to man by God.
• Therefore, every individual human being enjoys an intrinsic dignity and is deserving of profound respect.
• This inherent value of every
Fr Gonzalo Miranda, LC, of the Bioethics Faculty at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College.
Fr Gonzalo Miranda, LC, of the Bioethics Faculty at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College.
human life prevents us from damaging or destroying it.
• Only God, the creator of life, has the sovereign authority to decide when a human life should begin and end.
• Human procreation is also an intrinsic value, as an important dimension of personal fulfillment, in cooperation with God the Creator.
• Intentionally causing death, even for the sake of putting an end to suffering, is morally unacceptable.
• Prolonging human life by using disproportionate means is inadmissible, and it is licit to interrupt such interventions, letting the natural process of death take its course.
• Palliative care has great value and should be further encouraged and improved.
• Efforts must be made to provide psychological and spiritual support for patients and their family members.

These two meetings resulted in a common desire to create an academic forum that would give continuity to the dialogue begun in those two days, and to continue exploring the wealth of wisdom that each of the three great faiths can bring to today’s bioethical questions.

For more information about the conferences, visit the web site of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights (www.unescobiochair.org) or the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College web site (www.upra.org).


PUBLICATION DATE: 2009-12-18


 
 

Related links

Catholic.net web site
New Gate Tours
Institute for the Psychological Sciences
Magdala Center
Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College


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