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A Glass Darkly

Medicine and Theology in Further Dialogue


Edited By D. Gareth Jones and R. John Elford

This book is a sequel to the first volume of New International Studies in Applied Ethics and includes essays from some of the same contributors. Like the previous volume, the book explores the interface between medicine and theology. The essays demonstrate the complementarity evident between the two and examine how those coming from different theological traditions are able to provide helpful insights. Points of disagreement, and their crucial role in contributing to an understanding of the complexities of the debate, are acknowledged.
Much of the discussion focuses on use of the Bible. The contributors show an awareness of the pastoral necessity of providing access to new medical technologies for those in need. Out of this emerges a positive view of some of the human benefits of modern medicine and the ways in which Christian theology can engage with it constructively. The discussion throughout is related to the wider literature in the field.


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R. John Elford: Introduction 1


R. John Elford Introduction This edited volume continues a dialogue between medicine and theology that was begun in our previous book A Tangled Web.1 The sustained desire has been to establish ways in which the two disciplines can be critically supportive of each other. This has been motivated largely by the perceived negativity which so often characterises exchanges between the disciplines. But there is more to the motivation than this. Crucial areas of human well- being are at stake in the ways we now understand and make use of the ever rapidly emerging medical technologies. In these, as well as in other, areas of our lives we now have the ability to shape our futures. This, in itself, is not new. Humans are as developed as they are because they have been success- ful at this from time immemorial. Two things about it, however, are new. The exponential speed at which it is all happening and the sheer novelty by which cursed ills can be prevented or cured. Even as this is written reports are appearing in the press of medical breakthroughs which could significantly delay the ageing processes ever longer than is now possible. More and more of us are living active lives as a consequence of life-saving treatments. And so on. Impulsive negative responses to these new dawns are unbecoming of the human spirit. That so many of them are derived from religious beliefs should be, and is here, a concern to other religious believers who hold that...

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