An integrated ethical approach to bioethical decision-making: a proposed model for ministers
De Lange, Magdalena Catharina
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This article outlined a model for guidance in ‘doing’ bioethics in a Reformed context. The proposed model suggested that in order to arrive at responsible ethical decisions, one must refer to both contextual elements and theory. The theoretical grounding for this model was based on the integration of a deontological and virtue ethics approach, arguing that virtue enables persons to know and desire the right moral ends and motivates them to carry out appropriate action toward achieving these ends. An integrative model opens up the possibility whereby bioethics as a systematic tool provides the individual decision-maker with the critical-reflective skills and justification for the ultimate choice that is lacking in the general decision-making processes. This could lead to clearer thinking and increased confidence in the justification of decisions within the Reformed tradition. The proposed hermeneutical perspective on ethical decision-making represents a shift in views about the nature of knowledge and the process of how we come to know. The key to this hermeneutical approach is to acknowledge the dialectic between the universal and the subjectivity of human relations. Working in specific religious communities, one needs to take cognisance of the fact that knowledge is situated in the context of human relationships in which the interpreter participates when articulating the meaning of bioethical experiences. Another aspect that is anticipated lies in the realisation that people struggling with bioethical dilemmas should not be viewed as isolated individuals, but as members of a broader faith community.
- Faculty of Theology