|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
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
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
|Dr Mustafa Abu Sway, of the Al-Quds University of Jerusalem.|
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.
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.
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.|
human life prevents us from damaging or destroying it.
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
• 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.
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).