Summer Ethics

I took a bioethics course this past summer at St. Paul’s University. My professor was exceptional. My reading list was great and exciting because I got to read excerpts from exceptional important thinkers including Aristotle, Aquinas, Maritain, Rhonheimer, and St. JP II. All the major bio-ethical issues were approached from a personalist bioethics perspective, which is an ethics grounded in reason through objective truth and the dignity of the human person. To say the least, it was encouraging to see an intelligent philosophy which was not secular and liberal.

Before the final exam, I was chatting with my friend “Dan”. I’ve had another course with him in the past and had gotten to know him a bit over the past year. He is an intelligent man, an A student. I mean, if I had half of his intelligence, I would be satisfied. As we were chatting, he told me that this was the hardest course he had ever taken in his university career (he’s been at it for more than 5 years). I couldn’t understand why so I asked him. He told me that the whole paradigm through which the contents of this course were presented, were so difficult for him to understand, and he just couldn’t manage to wrap his head around the idea that an ethics could be built upon objective truth (and the existence of an interested God).

I empathized with him. I knew exactly what he meant from the opposite perspective because that was one of the underlying reasons I struggled with my Health Sciences degree. I couldn’t understand how the basic notion of the dignity of the human person could be so forgotten in contemporary ethics. When Dan told me this, I was reminded how most of the population views the world, fixated in a utilitarian type mentality which they don’t want to admit.

From this little incident, I was reminded to pray for conversion among those in the health/ethics field especially. Also that this prevailing blindness in our culture be lifted in order that we may all see the beauty in esteeming the dignity of the human person as such.

Rembrandt's "The Return of the Prodigal Son"
Rembrandt’s “The Return of the Prodigal Son”