Religion and Bioethics

This painting "The Good Samaritan" is by the amazingly talented artist Malaika Favorite, originally from South Louisiana and now living in Georgia. Check out an exhibition of paintings in this series at: http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/Malaika.html. See more of Favorite's art at her personal website: http://malaikafavorite.artspan.com/home.

RELIGION AND BIOETHICS:  SUFFERING, COMPASSION, AND CARE

HDS 2828

Professor M. Christian Green

Harvard Divinity School

Spring 2006

Wednesdays, 1:00-3:00

Andover Hall , Room 103

 COURSE DESCRIPTION AND OBJECTIVES

Biomedical ethics is a field that is continually confronted with technological and scientific advances, yet some issues remain constant. This course will examine philosophical, theological, ethnological, and clinical dimensions of suffering, compassion, and care, with a view to discerning the contemporary social, ethical, and political implications of these classic concerns in biomedical ethics. General topics will include the:  (1) the problem of sickness and suffering in medical, anthropological, and theological perspective, (2) the need to balance compassion and respect for both caregivers and care recipients, particularly in the context of family care, and (3) the evolving relationship between religion and bioethics, particularly in the context of increased attention to the role of spirituality in healing.  Specific topics will include acute and chronic pain, disability, terminal illness, and aging, along with distinctive issues related to families, gender roles in caregiving, and the situation of religious and ethnic minorities in health care systems.  In addition to providing opportunities to consider of suffering, compassion, and care as more general issues for religious and biomedical ethics, this course will be an ideal preparation for those considering careers in clinical medical ethics, or for those already in the field who may be seeking opportunities for reflection on their own ethical practices.

SCHEDULE OF CLASSES AND READINGS

Week 1—INTRODUCTION (February 1)

Week 2— BIOETHICS BACKGROUND (February 8 )

  • Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress, Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 5th ed., pp. 57-69, 113-119, 165-76, 225-35.
  • Van Hooft, Stan.  “The Meaning of Suffering,” 28 Hastings Center Report (S-O 1998): 13-19.
  • Warren T. Reich, “Speaking of Suffering: A Moral Account of Compassion,” 72 Soundings (Spring 1989): 83-108.
  • Diann B. Uustal, “The Ethic and Spirit of Care,” in Cutting-Edge Bioethics, pp. 142-51.
  • Elliot N. Dorff, “The Jewish Tradition,” in Caring and Curing: Health and Medicine in the Western Religious Traditions, pp. 9-20, 23-25, 28-29, 30-31, 32-34 (selected excerpts)
  • Darrel W. Amundsen and Gary B. Ferngren, “The Early Christian Tradition,” in Caring and Curing: Health and Medicine in the Western Religious Traditions pp. 43-47, 49-50, 51-54.

Week 3—SUFFERING—The Medical Problem (February 15)

  • Eric Cassell, The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine.
  • Allan Verhey, “Compassion and Suffering:  Looking Heavenward,” in Reading the Bible in the Strange World of Medicine.
  • James F. Childress, “Religion, Theology, and Bioethics,” in The Nature and Prospect of Bioethics: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, pp. 43-68.

Week 4—SUFFERING—The Anthropological Problem (February 22)

  • Arthur Kleinman, The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, and the Human Condition
  • Susan Sherwin, “Ascriptions of Illness,” in No Longer Patient: Feminist Ethics and Health Care
  • Wendy Farley, “The Practice of Theodicy,” in Pain Seeking Understanding, pp. 103-114.

Week 5—SUFFERING—The Theological Problem (March 1)

  • Stanley Hauerwas, God, Medicine, and Suffering.
  • Gilbert Meilaender, Bioethics:  A Primer for Christians, Chs. 1 and 12 (“Christian Vision” and “Sickness and Health”), pp. 1-9 and 120-24.
  • John Swinton (ed.) Critical Reflections on Stanley Hauerwas’ Theology of Disability

Week 6—COMPASSION—The Call to Compassion (March 8 )

  • Margaret Farley, Compassionate Respect.
  • Patricia Benner, “When Health Care Becomes a Commodity: The Need for Compassionate Strangers,” in Changing Face of Health Care, 119-35.
  • Paul Lauritzen, “Listening to the Different Voices: Toward a More Poetic Bioethics,” in Theological Analyses of the Clinical Encounter, pp. 151-69.

Week 7—COMPASSION—The Family Context (March 15)

  • Hilde Lindemann Nelson and James Lindemann Nelson.  The Patient in the Family: An Ethics of Medicine and Families.
  • Lebacqz, Karen, “The Weeping Womb:  Why Beneficence Needs the Still Small Voice of Compassion,” in Secular Bioethics in Theological Perspective, pp. 85-96.
  • Nancy J. Ramsay, “Compassionate Resistance: An Ethic for Pastoral Care and Counseling,” 52 Journal of Pastoral Care (Fall 1998): 217-26.
  • Christina Lee, “Family Caregiving: A Gender-Based Analysis of Women’s Experiences,” in Chronic and Terminal Illness: New Perspectives on Caring and Carers, pp. 123-39.

Week 8—COMPASSION— The Cross-Cultural Context (March 22)

  • Anne Fadiman.  The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.
  • John Patrick, “Multiculturalism,” in Cutting-Edge Bioethics, pp. 71-81.
  • Farhat Moazam, “Families, Patients, and Physicians in Medical Decision-Making: A Pakistani Perspective,” 30:6 Hastings Center Report (2000): 28-37.

SPRING RECESS—March 22-April 2

Week 9 CARE—The Challenge to Society (April 5)

  • President’s Council on Bioethics.  Taking Care: Ethical Caregiving in an Aging Society (2005).  Accessible online at:  http://www.bioethics.gov/reports/taking_care/index.html
  • Sheila Payne and Caroline Ellis-Hill, “Being a Carer,” in Chronic and Terminal Illness: New Perspectives on Caring and Carers, pp. 1-21.
  • Mike Nolan, “Positive Aspects of Caring,” in Chronic and Terminal Illness: New Perspectives on Caring and Carers, pp. 22-43.

Week 10—CARE—The Challenge for Families (April 12)

  • Carol Levine.  Always on Call: When Illness Turns Family Into Caregivers 
  • Paula Smith, “Who Is a Carer? Experiences of Family Caregivers in Palliative Care,” in Chronic and Terminal Illness: New Perspectives on Caring and Carers, pp. 83-99.
  • Caroline Ellis-Hill, “Caring and Identity: The Experiences of Spouses in Stroke and Other Chronic Neurological Conditions,” in Chronic and Terminal Illness: New Perspectives on Caring and Carers, pp. 44-63.

Week 11– A PRAYER AND HEALING NEXUS? (April 19)

  • Larry Dossey, Prayer Is Good Medicine, Pts. I and II.
  • Harold G. Koenig, Spirituality in Patient Care:  Why, How, When, and What (selections TBA)
  • Articles on prayer and healing in cross-cultural perspective TBA

Week 12—A PRAYER AND HEALING CRITIQUE (April 26)

  • Joel James Shuman and Keith G. Meador, Heal Thyself

Week 13—THEOLOGY, BIOETHICS, AND SOCIAL JUSTICE (May 3)

  • Lisa Cahill, Theological Bioethics
  • Laurie Zoloth article.
  • Sondra Ely Wheeler, “Broadening Our View of Justice in Health Care,” in Changing Face of Health Care, pp. 63-73.

TEXTS AND RESOURCES

Books Available at the Bookstore for Purchase (“REQUIRED”)

Eric J. Cassell.  The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine, 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2004).

Arthur Kleinman.  The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, and the Human Condition (Basic Books, 1989).

Margaret Farley.  Compassionate Respect (Paulist Press, 2003)

Anne Fadiman.  The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 1998)

Hilde Lindemann Nelson and James Lindemann Nelson. The Patient in the Family (Routledge, 1995).

Carol Levine.  Always on Call: When Illness Turns Family Into Caregivers  (Vanderbilt University Press, 2004).

Lisa Sowle Cahill. Theological Bioethics:  Participation, Justice, and Change (Georgetown University Press, 2005).

Books Available for Purchase (“RECOMMENDED”)

Stanley Hauerwas.  God, Medicine, and Suffering (Eerdmans, 1994).

Sheila Payne and Caroline Ellis-Hill.  Chronic and Terminal Illness: New Perspectives on Caring and Caregiving  (Oxford University Press, 2001).

Larry Dossey. Prayer is Good Medicine (Harper San Francisco, 1997).

Joel James Shuman and Keith G. Meador. Heal Thyself: Spirituality, Medicine, and the Distortion of Christianity (Oxford University Press, 2002).

Books and Articles on Reserve

All of the books available for purchase, both “required” and “recommended,” will also be in reserve at Andover-Harvard library.  All chapters and articles from sources other than these books will be available on reserve.  Keep in mind that chapters of books will often be listed under the name of the book.  A complete list of these additional books on reserve, as well as additional literature on the various course topics will be provided at the second class.  Articles from journals will normally be on reserve in photocopied form.  I will also provide a list of the articles from this group that can be accessed online through the ATLA database or through other websites.

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