The Christian Perspective of the Nature of Spirituality and Ethics in contrast to the Perspective of Postmodern Relativism within Health Care
In health care, Christians are guided by the following beliefs that help them in making ethical decisions (McCarthy, 2017). One is that, human beings are created in God’s image and God is the giver of life. Two is that God ought to be understood to establish what it means to be a human being. Three is that it is God that sustains creation also through His Son Jesus Christ God shows his love, responsibility, and care for human beings. Four is that God’s Grace has been given freely to human beings and there is life after death. Five is that Christians should have a concern for the poor, the vulnerable, and the oppressed because it has a greater value than they know it. That is because, Jesus Himself identifies with these groups of people. Six is that Christians are bound together to spiritually live as a community (McCarthy, 2017). From these beliefs, four guiding principles that complement each other are said to emerge and they are- protection of life and the right to life, protection and benefits of life are equally experienced by all people, building a humane society, and respecting an individual’s freedom of choice (McCarthy, 2017).
All About Worldview (2019) and Ferdinand and Johannes (2015) inform that as Christians embrace ethical principles on God’s moral and character, postmodernist found their ethics on naturalism, evolution, and atheism. Postmodernist value ethics and to standardize what is right or wrong, cultural relativism is used whereby in a community, people are forced to observe the agreed moral standards. The standards are those that are not dictated by God or any natural law. Thus, postmodern ethics allows every culture to formulate and practice its own moral standards and these standards created, continue evolving according to the desires of the cultural members. Therefore, a health issue such as abortion may be unethical in the Christian perspective but ethical in the postmodernist relativism perspective (All About Worldview, 2019; Ferdinand and Johannes, 2015).
Scientism and Two Arguments against it
Scientism is said to refer to the efforts of extending attitudes, ideas, methods, and practices that are scientific to humans’ social and political matters. To be more precise, scientism involves valuing natural science more than other cultural or learning disciplines (AAAS, 2019). Sorell (2013) adds by noting that scientism upholds the fact that the most valuable learning that humans need is natural science. That is because, it is the one that is the most authoritative and beneficial one to human beings (Sorell, 2013). By learning natural science, human beings become founded on a scientific platform/footing. On this basis, the prime minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru was quoted arguing that only science that can help humans to solve issues that are associated with poverty. More so, no human being can afford to ignore learning science. Therefore, science will build the future and those that will embrace science are more likely to be successful in future (Sorell, 2013).
Beale and Kidd (2017) inform that a philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, criticized scientism in terms of how its value is over-estimated since it is an attitude that has made people become very disappointed with the world (Beale and Kidd, 2017). Science is found to be bridging gaps in knowledge about reality by giving explanations, through inventions, and discoveries. In the past, people used to resolve things scientifically by thinking alone and the resolutions were not tested (Ani, 2016).
Ultimate reality cannot be explained, described, or examined scientifically because reality is not atomic (Lorimer, 2016). However, science can only give a specific direction of understanding reality (Lorimer, 2016). Lorimer (2016) constructs that science makes use of the human mind to understand and control reality while human beings strive to experience reality with practices such as yoga. That is said to mean that human beings are conscious of a certain existence that is beyond what is physical. Morris (2019) argues that it is rational, logical, and prudent to be concerned with that which cannot be physically described, explained, or examined. Personally, I am compelled to believe that there is an ultimate reality, which people experience and even interact with consciously or unconsciously. One becomes aware of the ultimate reality based on the unique experiences he/she has had with it.
The Nature of the Universe
Nature is comprised of bodies that move in a certain void.
A Human Being
A human being is a creation that makes use of its brains to understand its nature, life, and the world around it in an effort to live its life in the fullest. To be able to do this, human beings value education, experiment, and observe things around them. A human being also has a spiritual life, which guides his/her values and ethics. The values and ethics are also improved with what is continually learned culturally.
Knowledge is a valuable tool to human beings as it enables them to make well-informed decisions. Knowledge is the information that human beings strive to develop from being educated as well as examining and observing things of interest to them. Knowledge has no limit to human beings and this makes education a continuous human activity. The more knowledge a person has, the wiser he or she becomes. Thus, in the human society knowledgeable people are highly valued in the society and unlike those that are less knowledgeable.
My Basis of Ethics
My ethics is first based on my spiritual beliefs, then my awareness of what ultimate reality is, the understanding of what a human being is, as well as the knowledge I have developed so far. As a Christian, my ethics match with what God considers is a right/acceptable behavior and that which He claims to be a wrong/an unacceptable behavior. From this footing, my ethics have been improving based on what reality has taught me so far. That is, there are circumstances whereby reality rewards a good effort and situations where reality punishes a poor effort. Understanding of what a human being is has guided my ethics in terms of acknowledging the purpose of a human being in this world/universe and the capabilities a human being has in making life in the universe better than he/she found it. The knowledge that I am continually developing from reading more, socializing, making observations and research studies is also playing an important role in my effort of improving my ethics. The effort of improving my ethics is necessary because as a human being, I need to be able to fit naturally in different social and cultural contexts.
My Purpose of Existence
Spiritually and physically, I understand that there is a purpose of my existence. From the spiritual perspective, God created me for a reason and once I accomplish that purpose, my life here on earth ends. The spiritual perspective of the purpose of my existence seems to be stronger than the worldly perspective. That is because, from the spiritual perspective, my purpose is identified using the talents and gifts God has given to me to build His Kingdom. In this regard, God is one that determines at what point in my life I will have served Him enough to illustrate that I have accomplished my purpose of existence. From the worldly perspective, my purpose of existence just like anyone else’s is to contribute in making human life better than I found it here on earth. I identify my purpose by finding out what I enjoy doing that benefits the human society. Doing what I enjoy most to accomplish my purpose of existence happens to vary from what other people do where some may contribute more and others may contribute less. In this regard, I would add that my purpose of existence is also guided by what I aspire to see changed in the society and the capabilities I have.
AAAS (2019). What is scientism? Retrieved from < https://www.aaas.org/programs/dialogue-science-ethics-and-religion/what-scientism>.
All About Worldview (2019). Postmodern ethics. Retrieved from < org/postmodern-ethics.htm”>https://www.allaboutworldview.org/postmodern-ethics.htm>.
Ani, N. C. (2016). Does scientism undermine other forms of knowledge? Verbum et Ecclesia, 37(1). Retrieved from < http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2074-77052016000100053>.
Beale, J. and Kidd, I. J. (2017). Wittgenstein and scientism. Oxon: Taylor & Francis.
Ferdinand, P. and Johannes, V. W. (2015). Postmodern relativism and the challenge to overcome the “value-vacuum”. Stellenbosch Theological Journal, 1(1), 235-254. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2015.v1n1.a12.
Lorimer, D. (2016). Science, consciousness and ultimate reality. London: Andrews UK Limited.
Lucretius (2008). On the nature of the universe. Oxford: OUP Oxford.
McCarthy, B. (2017). Medical ethics: A Christian Perspective. Retrieved from < https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-11/Medical%20Ethics%20a%20Christian%20Perspective.pdf>.
Morris, J. R. (2019). Aware of the ultimate reality. London: Page Publishing Inc.
Sanguineti, J. J. (2002). Universe. Retrieved from < http://inters.org/universe>.Sorell, T. (2013). Scientism: Philosophy and the infatuation with science. New York: Routledge.
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