You are here

Online Program Book

All Times are Listed in Mountain Standard Time (MST)


Theme: Religion, Health Policies, and Beyond

Saturday, 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM


  • Abstract

    What are the proper ends of medicine? Some bioethicists—particularly religions ones—have argued that the proper end of medicine is health. The healing view of medicine, however, rules out things like gender-affirming care, vasectomies, and physician-assisted death. Bioethicists who object to the healing view of medicine have argued that medicine is aimed instead at the patient values. In this paper, I argue against both of these views and instead offer an alternative—what I call the flourishing view of medicine. According to the flourishing view of medicine, the proper end of medicine is human flourishing. If my account is right, religious bioethicists cannot oppose procedures such as gender-affirming care or physician-assisted suicide merely on the grounds that they do not contribute to health. What instead they must show is that they do not contribute to human flourishing.

  • Abstract

    Recent approaches to medical education – most especially in the training of doctors and health care professionals – have emphasized the values of “Social Accountability,” defined by the World Health Organization as “the obligation [of medical schools] to direct their education, research and service activities towards addressing the priority health concerns of the community, region, and/or nation they have a mandate to serve.” But what is the character of that obligation? How is Social Accountability conceptualized in relation to societies and their institutions or the pursuit of social justice and care? This paper draws upon the emerging body of literature on Social Accountability and connects its implicit values and ways of representing the relationship between societies and their institutions with the scholarly study of religion and the formation of social bonds of trust that span the division between religion and secularity.

  • Abstract

    Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking is a legal means of hastening death through refusal of food and fluids – a topic rarely addressed in Christian Protestantism. Leveraging the well-established and validated Theory of Planned Behavior, this research elucidates clergy and congregants’ normative beliefs and anticipated tactical support for VSED, including their reactions to Christian-based justifications for this end-of-life option. Such reasoning includes that VSED is a “fast into eternal life” and is based on the example of Jesus Christ, who, in the face of ongoing suffering, determined the end of his own life when he stated, “It is finished,” and gave up his spirit – an insight originally argued by John Donne in Biathanatos (1647/1982). This qualitative research study reveals that individuals aiming to VSED in the face of terminal illness may have their intention affirmed by a church community, but will likely require additional caregiving support to achieve a hastened death.

  • Abstract

    In a recent paper titled “Whole body gestational donation,” Anna Smadjor endorses the practice of using the bodies of (wo)men who are brain stem dead to gestate foetuses. In this paper, I will set aside ethical evaluation of the practice of whole-body gestational donation and instead focus on what Smadjor’s argument implicitly assumes about what it means to be pregnant and what it means to “create new life,” to borrow her words. I ask the question: How does this “creation of new life” match with theological accounts of creation? I explore four interrelated theological areas to understand what it means for humans to be pregnant: co-creation, givenness, vulnerability, and mutual asymmetry. It is my contention that Smadjor’s argument is based on the fundamental conception of pregnancy as the gestation of a foetus within a vessel rather than the intersubjective and interpersonal relationship between a mother and a child.