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Foundational Issues in Christian Spirituality

Foundational Issues in Christian Spirituality and EthicsBy David W. Bogue and Michael Hogan
Without a biblical worldview, all the great teaching goes in one ear and out the other: There are no intellectual pegs … in the individual to hang these truths on. So they just pass through. They don’t stick. They don’t make a difference [in how humans interpret existence and order their lives]. George Barna (as cited in Colson & Pearcey, 1999)

Essential Questions
· What difference does your worldview make in daily life, and in how you perceive your future?

· What is the definition of spirituality from a Christian perspective? How does this compare to your own definition of spirituality?

· How would you categorize your worldview: atheism, pantheism, or theism?

· After reading this chapter, does your current worldview pass the three tests (coherence, correspondence, and practical)? If not, what might you need to change?

· How does ethics influence one’s worldview?

· Does right or wrong depend on individual subjective opinions or is it about something deeper?

· How does ethics relate to medicine and health care?

· Can one know what is right or wrong or is it just what one is feeling in the moment?



The world is complex and sometimes confusing. Information is created and disseminated at a rate no one can completely comprehend. It is like trying to drink from a fire hose. Ethical dilemmas clamor for resolution. How can one make decisions that are right and morally good, beneficial and not harmful? How does one make sense of this fast-moving world’s experiences and events?

road sign with two directional arrows. One is labeled Right Decision, and the other is labeled W

Medical practitioners make decisions every day that are laden with moral and ethical importance. Patients’ lives may be at stake, such as the elderly whose last days are near, children who are born with severe disabilities, the unborn and their anguish-filled mothers, and people who suffer from chronic pain or mental illnesses. Ethical questions abound, such as is euthanasia a morally acceptable choice? If not, then why not? If yes, then on what basis? Is it ethical to remove life-saving treatment from a dying patient and administer palliative care if needed? Is abortion a moral and ethical option, and if so, what limits, if any, should be imposed? Medical professionals at all levels of decision-making face these dilemmas regularly. How are nurses, with direct access to patients’ needs, to decide what is right and wrong? How one answers these questions matter in all areas of life. Professional morals cannot be separated from personal conduct. The importance of having a foundation and a framework from which to make true and good ethical decisions in both one’s personal and professional lives is the reason for ethical and spiritual decision-making in health care.

This chapter will help nurses think through how they view and interpret the world and the events and experiences of life. Nurses will come to understand how to answer ethical questions and address patients, families, and others when crises arise. The first questions to ask include:

· What is a worldview ?

· What is my worldview?

· How does my worldview shape my spirituality ?

The next questions often include:

· How do the three major worldviews, atheism , pantheism , and theism , see the world?

· How can one determine one’s worldview using the six basic worldview questions?

· How is one to test one’s worldview for coherence , practicality , and correspondence ? What is the basic Christian view of the world