Responses to Peers
Discussion responses 160 words. No references required.
1 – Imago dei (The image of God) is a concept that refers to how humans perceive and relate to God. It is most discussed in Christian and Jewish contexts. The book of Genesis, which is considered a sacred text in both religions, explicitly refers to God creating humanity in his own image. Exactly what that entails are something that religious scholars have debated for centuries. Many agree that it does not refer to the physical appearance of God, though even that is not universally agreed upon. There are a few predominant schools of thought regarding humanity’s ties to God’s image. The major ones can be categorized as substantive, relational, and functional. If the imago Dei is in humans from birth, and this imago is the basis for humans’ relationship with God, then what, if anything, does the incardination achieve? The traditional answer to this question is that the imago Dei is either tarnished or lost in the fall of Adam, and so Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection restore in the human person that which has been lost. This has been the primary response to such an extent that Thomas Aquinas follows Augustine in holding (albeit somewhat agnostically’) that “if man had not sinned, the Son of Man would not have come.”
Religion and spirituality have frequently been associated with mental health and well-being. However, inconsistent results suggest that there may be mediating factors. God representations highlight individual differences in relating to the sacred, which may have implications for mental health. Attachment theory has also been related to God representations and mental health.
Close theoretical connections between the constructs of God representations and attachment to God and empirical evidence indicate that each of these factors have important implications for mental health outcomes. Studying God representations is one way of understanding how individuals may relate to the sacred.
This is relevant because there is evidence that the individual’s image of God is related to psychological adjustment and distress (Schreiber 2011). Schreiber found that psychological outcomes differed based on the survivor’s image of God’s engagement with them and the world as high (HE) or low (LE) using the Image of God Scale (IGS) (Bader and Froese 2005). Qualitative descriptive data collected in the same study were analyzed using directed content analysis, based on previous findings, to explore the potential interaction of religion and spirituality with the survivors’ breast cancer diagnosis in survivors of breast cancer who viewed God’s engagement with them and the world as high or low. The Judeo-Christian tradition affirms that God created the human body so that it could move and be physically active. All the vital parts that are presently keeping the body alive including the heart, lungs, spinal cord, skeletal muscles, arteries, etc. Require that one move on a consistent basis. The organs need movement in order to function properly or, in some cases, even function at all. Regularly participating in sustained periods of movement, known as ‘‘exercise,’’ will positively and healthfully affect all parts and processes of the body. Exercise is a form of honoring the body and achieving physical pleasure. It allows the movement of breath and blood and provides a spiritual pleasure through the release of fears and inhibitions. It is our most tangible and incarnate means of right relationship with ourselves and God.
2 – Imago Dei or ‘the image of God’ is “the Christian understanding of human beings as created in the image of God bestows dignity and honor on every person, regardless of social, mental or physical status” (Shelly & Miller, 2006). Imago Dei (image of God) is a theological term that applies only to humans and has its roots in the biblical book of Genesis. Imago Dei doesn’t mean that we reflect God’s image in the literal sense, but in His moral, spiritual, and intellectual nature (pbs.org, n.d.). The image of God does not refer primarily to the physical characteristics of human beings resembling the physical characteristics of God. Theologians have always upheld the view that God is a spiritual being and cannot be described in terms of physical characteristics. Secondly, the image of God has some relation to the task that God gave to humankind: to care for the rest of creation. Because all people are made in the image of God, human beings have been given the authority and ability to do good. Notice how, as God’s final creation, it is designated for persons to care for and seek the flourishing of the rest of creation. There is something innate within human nature, then, that includes a capacity to do good and to help others. Because all persons are made in the imago Dei, they have personal autonomy and moral agency. As human beings created in the image of God, human persons are to be treated with respect and dignity. Sin has marred, but not destroyed the image of God in humanity. Because each patient a nurse encounters is created in the image of God, all patients are to be treated with respect and dignity. Within the context of medical practice, nurses should see the imago Dei as being of vital importance because of the intrinsic value and equal worth that is a result of this view of human beings “It was the imago Dei that drove Mother Teresa to care for the sick and dying in Calcutta, as it has motivated Christians throughout the centuries to care for the poor, the sick and the disenfranchised” (Shelly & Miller, 2006). Knowing that another human being is created in the image of God is one aspect that drives health care workers to want to care for a sick human being and give the dying a peaceful and comforting death. In an article titled The Religious Foundations of Health Care, the author states, “it remains true that for the caregiver (physician, nurse, social worker, psychologist or whatever) the other (the patient, the client) no longer remains simply a fellow human being in distress but also a likeness of the eternal God” (Sevensky, 1983). Sevensky goes on to state that this awareness transforms the relationship between health care workers and patients into recognition of the sanctity of the other (Sevensky, 1983). The term imago Dei is relevant because “it forms the basis of Western society’s understanding of human rights and undergirds our legal system as well as our health care and social service agencies” (Shelly & Miller, 2006).
3- The Christian concept of Imago Dei is the belief that human beings are created in God’s image and likeness. Therefore, even though God created other creatures such as animals, human beings are unique among these creatures because of the Imago Dei (Ross, 2013). Consequently, human beings enjoy a high degree of sovereignty over the earth and have the role of stewardship, which entails bearing the responsibility of managing all other creations. Thus, humans are in a position to manage God’s property, the earth, and the things in it.
Due to the downfall of the first human beings’ ancestors from the Garden of Eden, human beings face an array of challenges and difficulties, such as grief, sorrow, sickness, and death. However, in the health sector, the health providers continue to give service to God’s creature by treating the sick; thus, the health professionals undertake an activity that gives glory and honor to God. The concept of Imago Dei is relevant and essential in the healthcare sector because it prompts the nurses to complete the obligations of God to his creatures, especially human beings. Therefore, in the health facilities, nurses often fulfill God’s obligations to human beings, such as caring and loving his creatures. In this connection, nurses offer care as a show of kindness, compassion, and empathy to fellow human beings to fulfill God’s commandment of stewardship. Treating others with fellow feeling and regarding life as something precious to God (Shelly & Miller, 2006). Moreover, it is relevant to show kindness, love, and compassion to the needy because that is God’s nature.
4- Some people think that being made in the image of God deals with the physical likeness as if God has a body of flesh and blood. This is not the case. Jesus tells us that God, in reference to the Father, is spirit (John 4:24) and the spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Therefore, it cannot be true that we are made in the image of God the Father in the sense that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones. To be made in the image of God means that we are made in His likeness in that we have some of the same attributes that God has. For example, God is rational (Isaiah 1:18) and so are we. God can love (John 3:16) and so can we. God can hate (Ps 5:5; 11:5) and so can we. Because we are made in God’s image, we are able to have compassion, mercy, grace, fellowship, friendship, and so on. However, as God is all-knowing, we are not. God is ever present, but we are not. So, the image of God in us means that we are like Him in some, not all, of His attributes.
As Christians, we share some of God’s substantial characteristics, and are endowed with certain gifts. These have been understood to include many or all of the following: rationality, morality, self-awareness, creativity, productivity, and generosity. In this way we show the image of God in our characters and the ways we are called to be (Kandiah, et al., 2017). Christians know the Bible teaches us “to do unto others,” therefore living Christ-like and doing good to others as God wants. This fulfills the mission of God creating man in his own image. In healthcare, the image of God allows us as Christian nurses to show compassion, empathy, patience, kindness, love, to and for our patients as Christ showed for us on the cross at Calvary.
In all areas of healthcare, patients are the most vulnerable. Many do not understand what is happening to them or around them. Research shows that emphasizing the art of nursing and compassionate care during nursing orientation can improve outcomes. Nurses using compassionate behaviors can help bring about feelings in the patient that both the nurse and patient are working toward the best possible outcome for the patient. Compassion is the essence of nursing. Compassion allows a patient to feel cared for, respected which develops trust that the nurse has his or her best interest in mind. When a patient feels that a nurse truly cares, they begin to allow the nurse in, offering small details that may lead to a diagnosis, or they may give the information that could help better care for them. When the patients are more at ease about their care, they often have a shorter length of stay in the hospital, decreased pain, decreased anxiety and an overall optimistic outlook on their recovery.
5.2 – The issues of procreation and reproduction and being “begotten” versus being made or cloning are controversial topics in the religious and scientific world. Different people have various schools of thought and they all differ in one way or another. Procreation is defined as bringing forth an offspring while reproduction is the process in which organisms are formed or produced by their parents. Cloning is the replicating of organisms so that they can be genetically identical to the original organism.
According to Meilaender (2013) it is a question of morality. On the issue of begetting versus cloning he argues from the perspective of Christianity and theological teachings that place value and importance on a child and regard it as a gift from God therefore are against the view of a child as a product. Although not directly guided from the bible the issue of cloning is explained, as Meilaender (2013) points out, from the point of marriage and parenthood. God in all His wisdom created humankind and ensured a separation in gender but then enjoined them through the institution of marriage and mandated them to procreate and fill the earth. This is how human life should be sustained and not by other means; it also means that begetting should be highly valued. Marriage is therefore linked to parenthood through the begetting of children.
Cloning however seeks to sever the link between procreation and sexual differentiation which in turn destroys the link of marriage and parenthood. The relationship between man and woman is however not simply desired by will and desire but serves a higher purpose that is based in creation. Cloning breaks this and reduces the relation between man and woman to a play or form of personal project also making the begetting and rearing of a child a project that should meet our desired expectations. The link is therefore important and good for the child. Human cloning can be permitted only in restricted circumstances like in the cloning of preimplantation embryos for research which only lasts for a couple of weeks and is strictly for research (Meilaender, 2013).
In the issue of procreation and reproduction there is a clear distinction, as procreation is the sexual unification of a man and a woman that leads to the begetting of children. Reproduction can however happen in many other ways but assisted reproduction brings forth something that is made and not begotten (Dollar, 2016).
A Catholic Christian worldview of a human being is reflected in Psalm 139:13-16 and in Genesis 1:26-27 (New American Bible Revised Edition). The psalmist David speaks of Gods intimate love for him even before he was born, “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know. My bones are not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me unformed; in your book all are written down, my days were shaped, before one came to be” Ps 139:13-16 (New American Bible Revised Edition). There are many more biblical passages that confirm the truth of the child in the womb, regardless of stage of development is a fully human being known and loved by God. A human being is created body and soul through God. My beliefs are that embryos made through cloning or the manipulation or manufacturing of embryos to be used by others as if a commodity is amoral and the use of embryonic stem cells involving the destruction of these cells constitutes murder. Stem cell research that does not require the destruction of human embryos is acceptable. One of the tenets in healthcare and research is to protect the vulnerable. Children are the vulnerable and the human right to life of the innocent along with the dignity of all should be defended not only as a part of universal natural law but civilly in society.
6.2 – We each always carry our own perspective with us. We tend to view the world through lenses we acquired in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. In addition, our religious education is sometimes taught with a certain flavor of “upmanship”; that is, we are taught that our religious beliefs and practices are superior to all others. When you view your own experiences as the norm or as the preferred way of organizing the world, you tend to limit the range of care you provide to the patient who believes differently. Spiritual care demands nonjudgmental attitudes and an open manner of thinking that invites rather than excludes.
Most people are still supportive of the law allowing for abortion in Academic justification for infanticide. For some time, there have been supporters of infanticide in the bioethics community, such as Peter Singer and Michael Tooley in the US. These have largely been outliers among bioethics scholars, even though infanticide has been widely practiced in parts the world for some time. A recent cover story in the Economist entitled “Gendercide” estimated that since 1970, over 100 million baby girls have been aborted, abandoned, or otherwise been victims of infanticide. In the last two years, the journal Bioethics published a symposium on infanticide around a featured paper by two Australian philosophers, who have coined a new term for infanticide the after-birth abortion. While they correctly recognize that birth constitutes only a change of location with no ontological significance for the status of the baby, they take the conclusion in the opposite direction, arguing for justifiable infanticide on the same grounds as legalized abortion. They argue that there is no morally relevant difference between a third-trimester fetus and a month-old newborn and suggest that infanticide should be legal for the same reason’s abortion is legal. Of course, in the symposium there were a variety of papers opposing their position, but what is new is the euphemism “after-birth abortion” for infanticide. The good news is that in the US, infanticide is still illegal, though we did actually debate the Bom Alive Rule in some state legislatures (that children born alive can’t be victims of infanticide). In addition, Dr. Kermit Gosnell was prosecuted successfully for several cases of infanticide that came out of his downtown Philadelphia abortion clinic, though they were only a fraction of the actual incidents of infanticide that occurred at his clinic. But there is growing academic support for the morality of infanticide, parallel with abortion.
Further advances in technology may include the artificial womb in the next few years, which will clarify precisely what is meant by “abortion rights.” Does the right to an abortion under the law mean the right to a dead child, or does it mean the right not to be pregnant? As of today, those two elements cannot be separated. But when the day comes that we have artificial wombs, they will be able to be kept separate. In addition, artificial wombs will do what ultrasound has done, only greater, in enabling people to see fetal development up close, further increasing the difficulty of dismissing the unborn child as simply part of the woman’s body. Though these trends would be welcome news for the unborn, I’m not convinced that gestating children in artificial wombs would be good for their well-being, or for the mother’s well-being, since they would be cut off from the relational element of a normal pregnancy that is critical for their healthy development
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