Monday, February 28, 2011

Barth Nearly Broke My Back

yes, I nearly broke my back carrying this box of Karl Barth's 14 volumes Church Dogmatics from the post office to my car and from my car to my study.

I intend to join Prof Daniel Kirk blog reading club on Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics. We aim to finish reading the whole series in about 11 years!


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Blogger Sze Zeng said...


5:42 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

heh heh heh

11:06 PM  
Blogger Helen said...

I hope he does not break your head! Alex, I just read what you wrote about the double effect and, as I understand it, the decision in Phoenix was made to save one life; if not, both lives would have been lost. I think this cannot be black and white and they did ponder this decision and chose to save the one life that could be saved. What would you have done?
I am still your prayer partner in Miami. Love, Helen

8:26 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi Helen,

So good to hear from you! Yes, I think Barth has broken my head too because I do not understand what George Weigel is trying to say in his article.

His quote from The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia is good because the quote clarified the principle of double effect very well.

What surprised me is that there is any debate at all because the saving of a mother's life at the unfortunate expense of a fetus has always been acceptable under the principle of double effect.

The principle of double effect is the consequence of Natural Law as developed by Thomas Aquinas. That this principle be brought against the ancient pagan Greek stoic principle (Hippocrates Oath) of 'first do not harm' is surprising. Reading the rest of the Oath '...or by any inaction allow harm..' shows that principle of primum non nocere shows that it is in support of the principle of double effect rather than against it.

The intention has always been primary in the principle of double effect. In the Phoenix case,removing the uterus saved the mother. The intention was to save the mother. It is the unfortunate effect that the fetus died. The intention was not to kill the fetus. In not removing the uterus because the life of the fetus is of such importance means both mother and fetus die. It does not make sense to me to allow both to die.

In my opinion, the Phoenix case was done in accordance to the principle of double effect. In a similar situation, I will have done the same thing.

One question I will like to ask people who deal with such bioethics case "What if she is your wife?"

10:26 AM  
Blogger Helen said...

Thank you. What you say makes sense to me!
I was visiting in Phoenix and asked to give my opinion and had to say that I did not agree with their bishop at all. I do not think any of the theologians I know think the decision to save the mother was wrong; it was the only human thing to do. I wonder what God thinks of all of this!

2:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I commend you on your endeavor to read CD front-to-back. I have recently finished doing just that, and it was an amazing experience. Imagine a wonderful ten-year-long sermon...that's the journey you're about to embark on. Enjoy it, trudge through it, sit with it, and reflect on it, and you will no doubt find a depth of our Lord that you never realized.

4:36 PM  

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