Theology and Bioethics
We who live in this post-modern late twentieth century culture are still children of dualism. For a variety of rather complex reasons we continue to split apart and treat as radical opposites body and spirit, medicine and religion, sacred and secular, private and public, love and justice, men and women. Though this is still our strong tendency, we are beginning to discover both the futility and the harm of such dualistic splitting. Peoples of many ancient cultures might smile at the belatedness of our discovery concerning the commonalities of medicine and religion. A cur sory glance back at ancient Egypt, Samaria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome would disclose a common thread - the close union of religion and medicine. Both were centrally concerned with healing, health, and wholeness. The person was understood as a unity of body, mind, and spirit. The priest and the physician frequently were combined in the same individual. One of the important contributions of this significant volume of essays is the sustained attack upon dualism. From a variety of vantage points, virtually all of the authors unmask the varied manifestations of dualism in religion and medicine, urging a more holistic approach. Since the editor has provided an excellent summary of each article, I shall not attempt to comment on specific contributions. Rather, I wish to highlight three 1 broad themes which I find notable for theological ethics.