[ANSWERED 2023] According to your worldview, what value does a human person have?

Written By: Dan Palmer, RN

According to your worldview, what value does a human person have?

According to your worldview, what value does a human person have?

What is the Christian concept of the imago Dei? How might it be important to health care, and why is it relevant?

Expert Answer and Explanation

Christian Concept of the Imago Dei

Imago Dei can be translated to mean “the image of God.” Christians believe that human beings were created in the image and likeness of God and are to be treated with the highest form of respect. Human life, unlike any other life on earth, is holy just like the temple of God. At the beginning of time, God created the world separating land from ocean and created the plant and animals (Evans, 2019).

On the sixth day, God created human beings where He said that he was happy with his creation. Imago Dei depicts those human beings who were given power over all that is on earth and were supposed to continue with the work of God by taking care of the world. The dominion that God bestowed to human beings is critical in all human interactions (Moritz, 2018).

According to the bible, there are commandments that human beings have to follow and one of them is associated with not killing each other, these guidelines depict how human life is important for Christians.

The healthcare sector is one area where the concept of human life is at risk. The concept of Imago Dei is important to medical professionals. For instance, the condition of the human body needs to be free of pain and suffering (Secor, 2020). As a Christian nurse or patient, it is within their responsibility to ensure that all the patients are treated and their pain or suffering removed.

The concept can be used to make critical decisions in terms of the type of care to use for different patients. Medical professionals need to depict humanity in their actions and ensure that each person gets to have a quality life free from any harm, risk, or suffering.

References

Evans, A. (2019). The concept of the imago Dei: coherence with evolutionary science?. Scriptura: Journal for Contextual Hermeneutics in Southern Africa118(1), 1-11.

Moritz, J. M. (2018). One Imago Dei and the Incarnation of the Eschatological Adam. T. Peters et al., Astrotheology, 330-346.

Secor, C. (2020). Imago Dei—In the Image of God. Journal of Christian Nursing37(4), 201.

Alternative Expert Answer and Explanation

Imago Dei, a concept that Nicholas Wolterstorff introduced in the 1970s, is one of the tenets of the Christian faith, primarily symbolizing the relationship between humans and God. Although the concept maintains that humans resemble God, its meaning goes beyond the idea of human’s resemblance to God.

By extension, the concept presents a message that humans echo God’s character, divine power, and other abilities. The notion of a human resembling God is a fundamental feature of Christianity because it shapes how Christians view or perceive others (Nepil, 2020). A Christian who adopts a perspective presented according to Imago Dei, for example, would respect everyone because they recognize the fact that every person deserves fair treatment.

When deliberating issues from the perspective of the Imago Dei, one is likely to be considerate in terms of how they treat others or respond to the needs of other people. In healthcare particularly, it is sensible to treat people with respect, allowing them to choose what they feel is best for them. The concept promotes the idea that humans have dignity, and it is upon individuals to protect human dignity.

Acts such as speaking up against unjust work conditions and advocating for the socially disadvantaged are some of how people can champion the protection of freedom and rights of others (Grand Canyon University, 2022). One needs to be conscious of their position as far as Imago Dei is concerned because such a person would present themselves as an instrument for actualizing God’s works such as caring for the sick and providing interventions that lead to healing.

From the healthcare standpoint, the concept is relevant because it shapes providers’ perspectives about caring for patients. When one recognizes how significant Imago Dei is, they are likely to respect others and let them freely make decisions (Iltis, 2022). Still, they are likely to comply with the principles that dictate how one should treat people from diverse cultures.

References

Grand Canyon University. (2022). Practicing Dignity: An Introduction to Christian Values and Decision-Making in Healthcare. https://bibliu.com/app/#/view/books/1000000000591/epub/Imprint.html#page_3.

Iltis, A. (2022). (Re)-Emerging Challenges in Christian Bioethics: Leading Voices in Christian Bioethics. Christian bioethics28(1), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1093/cb/cbab017.

Nepil, J. (2020). Relational Dependence in a Culture of Self-Creation: A Theological Query into the Health of the Medical World. The Linacre quarterly87(4), 438–443. https://doi.org/10.1177/0024363920949785.

According to your worldview, what value does a human person have? How does your position affect your stance on controversial bioethical issues

According to your worldview, what value does a human person have? How does your position affect your stance on controversial bioethical issues, such as abortion, designer babies, and stem cell research?

Values of a Human Person

Human beings were created in the image and likeness of God and as such, there is a need to respect the existence of a person from the time of conception until the end of the day. The value of a human person can be attributed to their existence and intellectual abilities as bestowed upon them (Mezzaroba & Silveira, 2018). Each person is a temple of God and as such represents God’s image and likeness. While interacting with one another, each person has to act with kindness, love, and truth.

There is also the need for respect to human life, acceptance of different life forms, and appreciation of one another. As human beings, doing the right thing according to spiritual teaching can be important in the attainment of better outcomes and a non-violent existence. The value of a human person is very important that the bible warns against killing each other (Onimhawo & Adamu, 2021). The commandment of “thou shall not kill” can be used to attest to the meaningfulness of human life and the need for it to be protected at all times.

The existence of human life is usually from sexual intercourse leading to the conception of a fetus that grows into a living child. However, there are other controversial issues such as abortions, designer babies, and stem cell research. While human beings are governed by certain rules, there is also the need for free will. As a human being, one has to make choices that are important to their life and capabilities.

My position on these issues is that they need to be performed with caution and in moderation. There should be rules that govern abortions to ensure that it is safe and it does not affect the mother (VanDrunen, 2021). The other researches should also be conducted in a safe environment.

References

Mezzaroba, O., & Silveira, V. O. D. (2018). The principle of the dignity of human person: A reading of the effectiveness of citizenship and human rights through the challenges put forward by globalization. Revista de Investigações Constitucionais5, 273-293.

Onimhawo, J. A., & Adamu, C. O. (2021). Religion And Human Values: An Inquisition Of The Afro-Centric Imperative. Formation of the Human Person in the 21st Century, 337.

VanDrunen, D. (2021). Abortion in the Reformed Christian Tradition. In Abortion (pp. 111-125). Springer, Cham.

 

Case Study: Fetal Abnormality

Jessica is a 30-year-old immigrant from Mexico City. She and her husband Marco have been in the United States for the last three years and have finally earned enough money to move out of their Aunt Maria’s home and into an apartment of their own. They are both hard workers. Jessica works 50 hours a week at a local restaurant and Marco has been contracting side jobs in construction. Six months before their move to an apartment, Jessica finds out she is pregnant.

Four months later, Jessica and Marco arrive at the county hospital, a large, public, nonteaching hospital. A preliminary ultrasound indicates a possible abnormality with the fetus. Further scans are conducted, and it is determined that the fetus has a rare condition in which it has not developed any arms and will not likely develop them. There is also a 25% chance that the fetus may have Down syndrome.

Dr. Wilson, the primary attending physician, is seeing Jessica for the first time, since she and Marco did not receive earlier prenatal care over concerns about finances. Marco insists that Dr. Wilson refrain from telling Jessica the scan results, assuring him that he will tell his wife himself when she is emotionally ready for the news. While Marco and Dr. Wilson are talking in another room, Aunt Maria walks into the room with a distressed look on her face. She can tell that something is wrong and inquires of Dr. Wilson. After hearing of the diagnosis, she walks out of the room wailing loudly and praying aloud.

Marco and Dr. Wilson continue their discussion, and Dr. Wilson insists that he has an obligation to Jessica as his patient and that she has a right to know the diagnosis of the fetus. He furthermore is intent on discussing all relevant factors and options regarding the next step, including abortion. Marco insists on taking some time to think of how to break the news to Jessica, but Dr. Wilson, frustrated with the direction of the conversation, informs the husband that such a choice is not his to make.

Dr. Wilson proceeds back across the hall, where he walks in on Aunt Maria awkwardly praying with Jessica and phoning the priest. At that point, Dr. Wilson gently but briefly informs Jessica of the diagnosis and lays out the option for abortion as a responsible medical alternative, given the quality of life such a child would have. Jessica looks at him and struggles to hold back her tears.

Jessica is torn between her hopes of a better socioeconomic position and increased independence, along with her conviction that all life is sacred. Marco will support Jessica in whatever decision she makes but is finding it difficult not to view the pregnancy and the prospects of a disabled child as a burden and a barrier to their economic security and plans.

Dr. Wilson lays out all of the options but clearly makes his view known that abortion is “scientifically” and medically a wise choice in this situation. Aunt Maria pleads with Jessica to follow through with the pregnancy and allow what “God intends” to take place and urges Jessica to think of her responsibility as a mother.

Assignment

Based on “Case Study: Fetal Abnormality” and the required topic study materials, write a 750-1,000-word reflection that answers the following questions:

  1. What is the Christian view of the nature of human persons, and which theory of moral status is it compatible with? How is this related to the intrinsic human value and dignity?
  2. Which theory or theories are being used by Jessica, Marco, Maria, and Dr. Wilson to determine the moral status of the fetus? What from the case study specifically leads you to believe that they hold the theory you selected?
  3. How does the theory determine or influence each of their recommendations for action?
  4. What theory do you agree with? Why? How would that theory determine or influence the recommendation for action?

Remember to support your responses with the topic study materials.

While APA style is not required for the body of this assignment, solid academic writing is expected, and documentation of sources should be presented using APA formatting guidelines, which can be found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

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FAQs

Imago Dei in healthcare

Imago Dei is a Latin term that translates to “image of God.” In healthcare, the concept of Imago Dei refers to the belief that all human beings are created in the image of God, and therefore have inherent dignity and worth. This belief is often rooted in religious or spiritual traditions, and is reflected in the ethical principles of many healthcare organizations.

The concept of Imago Dei is an important one in healthcare, as it underpins many ethical considerations related to patient care. For example, healthcare providers may seek to honor the inherent dignity and worth of their patients by providing compassionate care, respecting their autonomy, and advocating for their well-being. Additionally, the concept of Imago Dei may inform decisions around end-of-life care and other medical interventions, with a focus on preserving the dignity and worth of the patient.

While the concept of Imago Dei may have religious or spiritual roots, it is also recognized as a universal principle that transcends religious and cultural boundaries. In this way, the concept of Imago Dei can be seen as a unifying force in healthcare, promoting respect and dignity for all individuals, regardless of their background or beliefs.

Implications of Imago Dei

The implications of Imago Dei are wide-ranging, and can have a significant impact on how healthcare is delivered and experienced. Some of the key implications of Imago Dei in healthcare include:

  1. Respect for human dignity: The belief that all human beings are created in the image of God implies that all individuals have inherent dignity and worth, and should be treated with respect and compassion. This can have important implications for how healthcare providers interact with their patients, and can promote a more humane and compassionate approach to care.
  2. Ethical decision-making: The concept of Imago Dei can inform ethical decision-making in healthcare, particularly around issues related to end-of-life care, medical interventions, and the use of technology. By emphasizing the inherent value of each individual, the concept of Imago Dei can help healthcare providers navigate complex ethical dilemmas and make decisions that are in the best interests of their patients.
  3. Cultural humility: Recognizing the Imago Dei in all individuals can also promote cultural humility in healthcare, encouraging healthcare providers to be open and respectful to diverse cultural and religious beliefs. This can help reduce disparities in healthcare and ensure that all patients receive care that is respectful of their cultural and spiritual needs.
  4. Self-care: The concept of Imago Dei can also promote self-care among healthcare providers, encouraging them to recognize their own inherent dignity and worth, and to take care of themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This can help reduce burnout and improve job satisfaction among healthcare providers, ultimately leading to better patient care.

What does it mean to be made in God’s image?

The idea that human beings are made in God’s image is a concept that has been debated and interpreted in many different ways across religious and philosophical traditions. However, there are some common themes that emerge in discussions of this concept.

One way to understand the idea of being made in God’s image is to look at the attributes that are often associated with God in religious and philosophical traditions. For example, many traditions emphasize the idea that God is loving, just, creative, and relational. From this perspective, being made in God’s image might mean that human beings are endowed with these same qualities, and are therefore capable of love, justice, creativity, and relationships.

Another way to understand the idea of being made in God’s image is to look at the relationships between God and human beings. For example, many religious traditions emphasize the idea that human beings have a special relationship with God, and that this relationship is characterized by love, compassion, and forgiveness. From this perspective, being made in God’s image might mean that human beings are capable of experiencing and embodying these same qualities in their relationships with others.

Overall, the idea of being made in God’s image is a complex and multifaceted concept that has been interpreted in many different ways across religious and philosophical traditions. However, at its core, this concept emphasizes the inherent dignity and worth of every human being, and encourages us to see ourselves and others as reflections of something greater than ourselves.

What is your opinion about stem cell research using fetal tissue?

Stem cell research using fetal tissue has been a topic of controversy and ethical debate for many years. Fetal tissue contains stem cells that have the potential to develop into many different types of cells in the body, and scientists believe that these cells could be used to develop new treatments and therapies for a range of diseases and conditions.

However, the use of fetal tissue in research is controversial because it involves the use of tissue from aborted fetuses, which raises ethical concerns for some individuals and groups. Some argue that the use of fetal tissue in research is unethical because it involves the destruction of human life, while others argue that the potential benefits of stem cell research justify the use of fetal tissue.

In the United States, federal funding for stem cell research using fetal tissue has been subject to restrictions and limitations, and the use of fetal tissue in research is subject to strict ethical guidelines and oversight.

Ultimately, the use of fetal tissue in stem cell research is a complex and controversial issue, and opinions on the topic vary widely. It is up to each individual to consider the ethical implications of this type of research and to make their own informed decisions on the matter.

Understanding Moral Agency Theory in Nursing

Moral agency theory in nursing is a compelling and intricate subject that delves into the ethical responsibilities and decision-making processes of healthcare professionals. This theory has gained significance as healthcare providers are constantly confronted with morally challenging situations.

Introduction to Moral Agency Theory

Understanding the Concept of Moral AgencyMoral agency is a philosophical and ethical concept that pertains to an individual’s ability to make moral decisions and take responsibility for those decisions. In the context of nursing, moral agency involves the capacity of nurses to make ethical judgments and choices in their daily practice.

Relevance in the Nursing ProfessionMoral agency theory holds immense significance in nursing because healthcare professionals often face situations where they must make morally challenging decisions that directly impact patient care. Nurses are entrusted with the well-being of their patients, and their moral decisions can have life-altering consequences.

What is Agency Theory?

Defining Agency TheoryAgency theory, in contrast to moral agency theory, is an economic concept. It explores the relationship between principals and agents in business contexts. While it may share similarities in terminologies, it differs significantly from moral agency theory.

Distinction from Moral Agency TheoryAgency theory focuses on contractual relationships and the delegation of authority. In nursing, moral agency theory revolves around ethical decision-making and responsibilities towards patients.

The Three Major Concepts of Moral Agency

Autonomy in Decision-MakingOne of the core concepts of moral agency is autonomy. Nurses must respect the autonomy of their patients, allowing them to make decisions about their own care when possible. This principle is deeply embedded in the concept of informed consent.

Moral ResponsibilityMoral agency theory emphasizes the moral responsibility of healthcare professionals towards their patients. This responsibility extends to providing the best possible care, advocating for patient rights, and maintaining ethical standards.

Ethical Dilemmas in NursingNurses frequently encounter ethical dilemmas, where they must choose between conflicting moral principles. Moral agency theory equips nurses with the tools to navigate these challenging situations.

Real-World Examples of Moral Agency

Ethical Decision-Making in End-of-Life CareIn end-of-life care, nurses often face complex decisions related to life-sustaining treatments, pain management, and the emotional well-being of patients and their families. The ability to make morally sound choices is central to the role of a nurse in this context.

Advocacy for Patient RightsNurses act as advocates for their patients, ensuring that their rights are respected. This may involve challenging decisions made by other healthcare professionals or institutions when they conflict with the patient’s best interests.

Reporting Unethical PracticesMoral agency also involves the duty to report unethical practices within the healthcare system. This can be a challenging task, but it is essential for maintaining ethical standards.

The Moral Agent vs. Moral Agency

Clarifying the TerminologyIt’s crucial to distinguish between the terms “moral agent” and “moral agency.” While they are related, they have distinct meanings.

The Role of the Moral AgentA moral agent is an individual who has the capacity to make moral decisions and take responsibility for their actions. In nursing, a moral agent is a healthcare professional, such as a nurse, who is capable of making ethical judgments and choices.

Criteria for Moral Agency in Nursing

Competence and EducationNurses must possess the necessary competence and education to make informed moral decisions. This includes a solid understanding of nursing ethics and relevant laws.

Moral SensitivityMoral sensitivity refers to the ability to recognize moral issues and dilemmas in clinical practice. It involves being attuned to situations where ethical decisions are required.

Accountability and ResponsibilityMoral agency entails being accountable for one’s moral decisions and taking responsibility for the consequences of those decisions.

Autonomy in Decision-MakingThe capacity to make autonomous decisions is a fundamental criterion for moral agency in nursing. Nurses must respect the autonomy of their patients while also making sound decisions when patients are unable to do so.

What are the Examples of Moral Agency in Nursing?

Moral agency in nursing refers to a nurse’s ability and responsibility to make ethical decisions and take actions that align with moral principles in the care of their patients. Here are some examples of moral agency in nursing:

  1. Informed Consent: When a nurse ensures that a patient fully understands the risks, benefits, and alternatives of a medical procedure or treatment before obtaining their informed consent. This involves providing comprehensive information and answering any questions to enable the patient to make an autonomous decision.
  2. Advocating for Patient Rights: Nurses act as advocates for their patients, ensuring that their rights, preferences, and cultural beliefs are respected by the healthcare team. This may include advocating for pain management, privacy, and non-discrimination.
  3. Ethical Dilemma Resolution: Nurses often encounter ethical dilemmas in patient care, such as deciding between respecting a patient’s autonomy and protecting their safety. Moral agency involves actively participating in ethical discussions and making decisions that prioritize the patient’s well-being while considering ethical principles.
  4. End-of-Life Care: Providing compassionate end-of-life care and respecting a patient’s advance directives, wishes, and cultural or spiritual beliefs regarding death and dying.
  5. Confidentiality: Maintaining patient confidentiality and ensuring that sensitive medical information is only shared with those who have a legitimate need to know, as per HIPAA regulations and ethical guidelines.
  6. Reporting Ethical Violations: Nurses have a moral obligation to report any unethical or unsafe practices they witness in the healthcare setting, protecting patient safety and upholding professional standards.
  7. Cultural Competence: Nurses must demonstrate cultural competence by respecting and understanding the cultural values and beliefs of patients and their families, ensuring that care is provided in a culturally sensitive manner.
  8. Ethical Documentation: Accurate and ethical documentation of patient care, ensuring that records are complete, honest, and protect patient confidentiality.
  9. Providing Comfort and Emotional Support: Nurses should offer emotional support to patients and their families during difficult times, exhibiting empathy, kindness, and respect for their emotional needs.
  10. Resource Allocation: During situations of resource scarcity, such as in a disaster or pandemic, nurses may need to make difficult decisions regarding the allocation of limited resources while considering fairness, transparency, and the best interests of patients.

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