A married couple is suffering. They desperately want to have a child but because of infertility cannot. Medical science developed many techniques and therapies and they decide to choose, yet which one, if any?
Along with the choices comes a serious question, What are the ethical and moral implications in the techniques involved? First is to consider the status of a human embryo. This leads to a crucial question, When does life begin—at conception or later?
If married couples believe that life begins at conception, then there are other questions that must be considered. Should the couple allow doctors to follow the common procedure of fertilizing more eggs than the one or more being inserted? What would happen to stored surplus embryos if the couple became unable or unwilling to have more children? What will happen if the couple divorced or if one of them died to any stored embryos? Who would shoulder the responsibility for destroying such embryos? This last question cannot be dismissed lightly. In certain places it is ethically acceptable for a fertility clinic to destroy stored embryos without any written authorization if they have been abandoned for more than five years. See the active link below, How Long Can Eggs, Sperm And Embryos Be Stored?
Couples may be urged to donate unused embryos for stem cell research for example to find new ways of treating illness, but the process of extracting embryonic stem cells can destroy the embryo. And what about preimplantation genetic diagnosis? (PGD) This technique imply a genetic screening of the embryos and subsequent selecting of the one that has to be implanted into the uterus. But this can lead to gender discrimination, if this technique was chose for gender selection. And another ethical question is, What happens to the embryos that are not selected?
By considering this issues, how will you decide? True Christians are guided by the viewpont of our Creator. Consider that he disposed for procreation. (Psalm 36:9) Although the Bible does not directly comment on modern assisted reproductive techniques, for such procedures were not available in Bible times, there are clear principles that indicate God’s viewpoint. This principles help us to make right decisions and that leave us with a clear conscience. (1 Timothy 1:5)
When does human life begin? The Bible says that life begins at conception. (Psalm 139:16; Exodus 21:22, 23 ) These Bible verses indicates that our Creator views life as precious even during the very early stages of development in the womb and the willful destruction of an embryo would be viewed as abortion.
Is a human embryo a human life? Consider if we put a newborn baby into an outdoor field, how long would the child survive? It is helpless and, like an embryo or a fetus cannot sustain itself. This to underline a simply fact will we argue that a human embryo is not a human life for the impossibility to nurturing itself. The life of an unborn is sacred in and out the womb.
What about one’s reproductive powers, are there any restrictions as to how they may be used? The Bible says: ”You must not give your emission as semen to the wife of your associate to become unclean by it.” (Leviticus 18:20) This principle indicates that a man’s semen should not be used to inseminate anyone other than his wife, and that a woman should not bear a child for someone other than her own husband. Briefly, the reproductive powers are not to be used for someone other than one’s marriage mate.
In a nutshell, when making a decision involving assisted reproduction, true Christians must consider carefully what the Bible says, what is God’s thinking through Bible principles.
See also: A Baby Boom Through Assisted Reproduction, edited by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Image Credit: INMAGINE-SPL046357
TAKEN FROM: JOHN TEMPLETON FOUNDATION
SUPPORTING SCIENCE-INVESTING THE BIG QUESTIONS
Consider this question: Do the Earth and mankind have a purpose? If so, then the universe does too, ipso facto. If not, the universe might still have (some other) purpose; but I don’t have to face that contingency, because I believe we do have one…
Nature is not an arbitrary juxtaposition of events but the manifestation of ingeniously interweaving mathematical laws. That much is agreed. But what about a purpose to it all? If there is a script—a cosmic story to tell—isn’t that already a sort of purpose?
Where, then, is the evidence of “cosmic purpose”? Well, it is right under our noses in the very existence of science itself as a successful explanatory paradigm.
Experience shows that as we dig deeper and deeper using scientific methods, we continue to find rational and meaningful order. The universe makes sense. We can comprehend it.
It is not possible to know that by looking at the natural world alone. The question of purpose is closely related to the question of whether something like the God of Western monotheistic religions can be known to exist by studying the order, goodness, and grandeur of the universe.
Frankly, I am psychologically incapable of believing that the universe is meaningless.
I believe the universe has a purpose, and our greatest intellectual challenge as human beings is to glimpse what this purpose might be.
Quite possibly, the purpose of the universe is to provide a congenial home for self-conscious creatures who can ask profound questions and who can probe the nature of the universe itself.
Carbon atoms, with their self-bonding properties, provide the immense variety for the complex cellular machinery— no other atom offers a
comparable range of possibilities. But carbon did not emerge from the big bang of
creation. It was slowly produced, over billions of years, in the cores of evolving stars. Had some of the basic constants of nature been only slightly different, there would be no major abundance of carbon. And it is extremely difficult to imagine intelligent life without something like carbon.
There are enough such “coincidences” to give thoughtful observers some pause. Scientists who are loath to accept a fine-tuned universe feel obliged to take notice. Of course, if the universe were any other way, we wouldn’t be here to observe it, but that is hardly a satisfying answer.
Everything from the mass ratios of atomic particles, the number of space dimensions, to the cosmological parameters that rule the expansion of the universe, and the formation of galaxies are all exactly what they need to be to create stars, planets, atoms, and molecules.
But where does this apparent fine-tuning come from?
Is it the manifestation of a plan for the universe? An arrangement by a superior will to prepare the way for complex creatures? Is it God’s signature? People of faith believe it is so. They read purpose in the universe as a painter sees beauty in a view on the ocean.
The reality is that we are able to contemplate such questions. And the bigger the questions our brains can ponder, the more unlikely that the cosmic drama we are all participating in is simply a cosmic lottery.
This is why, at the end of the day, I can’t refrain from thinking that there actually is purpose in the universe.
As long as you are drawn toward truth, so also is the natural world that gave birth to your mind.
The two, after all, are inseparable. As long as the search for truth persists, not only can you trust your mind, you can also trust the universe that has germinated such an exquisite means of opening itself to
what is timelessly worth treasuring.
Why should we be programmed to believe in a god? Why are laws of physics designed to make life ever more complex? And where did they come from?
When I was a child, born into a Christian family, I accepted the reality of an unseen God without question. And now that I have lived almost three quarters of a century I still believe in a great spiritual power. I have described elsewhere the experience I had when I first visited Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. When, as I gazed at the great rose window, glowing in the morning sun, the air was suddenly filled with the glorious sound of an organ playing Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. It filled me with joy, brought tears to my eyes.
How could I believe that blind chance had led to that moment in time—the cathedral, the collective faith of those who had prayed and worshiped within, the genius of Bach, the emergence of a conscious mind that could, as mine did then, question the purpose of life on Earth. Was all the wonder and beauty simply the result of purposeless gyrations of bits of cosmic dust at the beginning of time? If not, then there must be some extra-cosmic power, the creator of the big bang. A purpose in the universe. Perhaps, one day, that purpose will be revealed.
“Feelings of worthlessness are probably the biggest roadblock that I am trying to overcome.”
CAN you identify with these feelings? If so, you may wonder, ‘Does Jehovah really care about his worshippers as individuals?’ The answer is yes! We find proof of Jehovah’s personal care in the words of Jesus.—John 6:44.
What did Jesus, who knows the personality and will of Jehovah better than anyone else, say? (Luke 10:22) Jesus explained: “No man can come to me unless the Father, who sent me, draws him.” So, we cannot become a follower of Christ—and a worshipper of our heavenly Father, Jehovah—unless Jehovah personally draws us. (2Thessalonians 2:13)
What does it mean that Jehovah draws us? Does Jehovah drag us against our will, forcing us to serve him? No. Jehovah gave us free will, so he does not force our heart open. (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20) One scholar puts it this way: “There is no handle on the outside of the door of the human heart. It must be opened from within.” Jehovah searches through the billions of hearts in this world, looking for individuals who are inclined toward him. (1Chronicles 28:9)
Jehovah gently attracts, or tugs at, the heart of an individual who is “rightly disposed.” (Acts 13:48) He does so in two ways—through the Bible’s message of good news, which reaches us as individuals, and through his holy spirit that help the individual to grasp and apply Bible truth in his life. (1Corinthians 2:11,12)
“Being a servant of Jehovah is the highest privilege anyone could have”, says a woman. And when Jehovah chose us to be servants of his, then we must be precious to him.
Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker
MARGARET, A STEPMOTHER IN AUSTRALIA:“My husband’s ex-wife told the children not to listen to anything I said—even something as simple as ‘Remember to brush your teeth.'” Margaret feels that her marriage suffered as a result of that divisive tactic.
STEPFAMILIES face unique and often challenging relationships with those outside their household. Most stepparents must deal with the child’s other parent when it comes to such issues as visitation, discipline, and financial support. Friends and relatives too may struggle to adapt to new family members. The Bible can help your stepfamily to meet those challenges.
RELATIONSHIP 1: THE CHILD’S OTHER PARENT
Often, it is the mother and the stepmother who have the most difficulty. What can help?
A key to success: Set reasonable boundaries. If you try to shut out the other parent altogether, your child might suffer emotionally. A child’s parents, the ones who ’caused his birth’, have a unique place in his life. (Proverbs 23:22, 25) On the other hand, if you give a former spouse too much influence in your household, you can frustrate or even anger your new mate. Strive for balance, setting reasonable boundaries to protect your marriage.
TIPS FOR PARENTS
- When you speak with your former spouse, focus on your children and minimize discussion about other matters.
- If you do not have custody of your children, perhaps you can use phone calls, letters, text messages, or e-mail to maintain regular contact. (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7) Some even use videoconferencing. You may have more influence on your children than you realize.
TIPS FOR STEPMOTHERS
- Show “fellow feeling” to the children’s mother by making it clear that you are not trying to replace her. (1Peter 3:8) Provide updates when her children are with you, focusing mostly on the good. (Proverbs 16:24) Ask for her advice, and thank her when she offers it.
- Limit displays of affection with the children in their mother’s presence.
TIPS TO HELP PARENTS AND STEPPARENTS GET ALONG
- Never speak badly about an absent parent or stepparent within earshot of the children. It is easy to lapse into such negative talk, but it is very distressing to a child. And you never know how or when your words may be repeated. (Ecclesiastes 10:20)
- Try to have consistent rules and discipline in the two households. If it is not possible, explain the differences without demeaning the other parent.
- Avoid scheduling activities for your children during the time that they will spend with the other parent. (Matthew 7:12) If you cannot adjust the activity, get permission from the other parent before telling the children what you have planned.
RELATIONSHIP 2: ADULT CHILDREN
How can you keep relationships with the adult children from damaging your marriage?
A key to success: Show empathy. The Bible says: “Let each one keep seeking, not his own advantage, but that of the other person.” (1Corinthians 10:24) Try to understand and identify with the other person’s feelings. Adult stepchildren may fear losing their parent’s affection. Or they may feel that by welcoming a stepparent, they would be disloyal to their original family. Meanwhile, parents might worry that criticizing their children will push them away.
Instead of trying to force a friendship, let your relationship with your stepchildren develop naturally. In general, it is unwise to try to coerce or pressure someone into feeling real love. (Song of Solomon 8:4) So try to set reasonable, realistic expectations when it comes to closeness with your stepchildren.
If you decide to live in the house that the children were raised in, you may be surprised at the attachment they still feel toward it. Try to minimize changes, especially to their old rooms. You could also consider moving to a new residence.
TRY THIS: If your adult stepchildren are persistenly rude or disrespectful to you, share your feelings with your mate and listen carefully to his or her thoughts. Do not pressure your mate to correct the children. Instead, simply try to build mutual understanding between the two of you. Once you “think in agreement” about the situation, you can work together to improve it.—2Corinthians 13:11.
RELATIONSHIP 3: OTHER RELATIVES AND FRIENDS
Marion, a stepmother in Canada, says: “My parents often gave presents to my son but not to my husband’s kids. We would try to make up for it, but sometimes we could not afford to.”
A key to success: Put your new family first. Tell your relatives and friends about your commitment to your new family. (1Timothy 5:8) While you cannot expect instant love for new family members from all relatives and friends, you can ask them to be polite and fair. Explain how hurt the children will be if they are passed over when it comes to attention and other kindnesses. Try to show love to all the children in the family.
Let grandparents from your first marriage have a place in your children’s lives. A mother in England relates: “Things got better when we included them more, had the kids call them, and thanked them for their support.”
Relationships with those outside your household can challenge your stepfamily. Apply Scriptural counsel, though, and your family can receive the blessing the Bible promises: “By wisdom a household will be built up, and by discernment it will prove firmly established.”—Proverbs 24:3.
Photo Credit: Inmagine-ptg02404587
YEAR BORN: 1957
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: MEXICO
HISTORY: SEMINARY STUDENT; VIOLENT TEMPER
I WAS born in the small town of Texoco. At the time, most of the streets were unpaved and dusty. We were a very poor family of nine children, of which I was number seven. My grandfather played the violin and was the conductor of an orchestra that specialized in classical religious music. Almost all my family members played an instrument. We were religiously inclined—I was an altar boy, and I dreamed of becoming a Catholic missionary. At the same time, I was a fan of karate movies. The more I watched those movies, the more I developed a violent nature.
I entered a religious school in Puebla that functioned like a seminary. My goal was to become a Catholic priest. But during my last year of studies, I became disillusioned with the Catholic Church. I observed that several priest were living a hypocritical lifestyle. Eventually, I abandoned my goal of becoming a priest.
I decided to study music at the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City (photo above). When I graduated, I got married, and my wife and I soon had four children. I provided for the family by singing Mass in the Catholic Church.
From the very beginning, our marriage was in trouble. My wife and I were violent toward each other, largely because we harbored feelings of jealousy. At first we attacked each other verbally, then physically. Finally, after 13 years, we decided to separate and later to divorce.
HOW THE BIBLE CHANGED MY LIFE:
I was living with another woman, Elvira, when I came in contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses and study the Bible on a regular basis. Even so, it took me several years to break free from my past. I realized that if I wanted to worship Jehovah wholeheartedly, I needed to make some big changes. First I had to quit my job singing Mass in the Catholic Church, wich meant that I had to find another means of making a living. (Revelation 18:4) I also needed to legalize my marriage with Elvira.
One of the hardest changes, though, was to learn to control my explosive temper. Two Bible verses especially helped me: Psalm 11:5, which shows that Jehovah hates violence, and 1Peter 3:7, which taught me that if I want Jehovah to hear my prayers, I must treat my wife with honor. As I meditated on those verses and prayed for Jehovah’s help, I was gradually able to bring my temper under control.
HOW I HAVE BENEFITED:
I now enjoy a happy family life. I am striving to repair my relationship with my sons from my first marriage and to help my present family to stay strong in the faith. Now I feel that my life has true meaning. I support my family by teaching music. I am so grateful that Jehovah was patient with me, giving me the opportunity to change and become a better person!
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
NINEVEH was the capital of the Assyrian Empire. It was a mighty city with magnificent palaces and temples, broad streets, and massive walls. The Hebrew prophet Nahum referred to it as “the city of bloodshed.”—Nahum 3:1.
That was an apt description, for reliefs from Sennacherib’s palace in Nineveh attest to Assyrian cruelty.
Assyriologist Archibald Henry Sayce describes the barbarities that followed the capture of a town: “Boys and girls were burned alive or reserved for a worse fate; men were impaled, flayed alive, blinded, or deprived of their hands and feet, of their ears and noses.”
After the reign of King Solomon, the 12-tribe nation of Israel was split. Judah and Benjamin formed the southern kingdom; and the other ten tribes, the northern kingdom. Jerusalem was the capital of the southern kingdom, and Samaria was the capital of the northern.
In the year 740 B.C.E., Assyria conquered Samaria, the capital of the norhern kingdom of Israel, and took its people into exile. Eight years later, Assyria invaded Judah. (2Kings 18:13)
About a hundred years before the fall of the Assyrian Empire, Isaiah declared that Jehovah God would call those proud conquerors to account for their insolence toward his people:”I shall make an accounting for the fruitage of the insolence of the heart of the king of Assyria and for the self-importance of his loftiness of eyes,” Jehovah said. (Isaiah 10:12) Furthermore, God’s prophet Nahum foretold that Nineveh would be plundered, its gates would be opened to its enemies, and its guards would flee. (Nahum 2:8, 9; 3:7, 13, 17, 19) The Bible prophet Zephaniah wrote that the city would become “a desolate waste.”—Zephaniah 2:13-15.
Those prophecies of destruction were fulfilled in 632 B.C.E. That is when Nineveh fell to the combined forces of the Babylonians and the Medes, bringing the Assyrian Empire to an inglorious end. A Babylonian chronicle of that event states that the conquerors “carried off the vast booty of the city and the temple” and turned Nineveh “into a ruin heap.” Today the desolate waste that was once Nineveh is marked by mounds of ruins on the east bank of the Tigris River, opposite the city of Mosul, in Iraq.
Accurate history and prophecy put the Bible in a class of its own, demonstrating to those sincerely searching for the truth that it is indeed a book worthy of our trust.
Nineveh, Kuyunjik, Iraq. View from near the northwest corner of the city wall looking south. Western city wall and Mashki gate are on the right. (Photo April 1990) — Wikipedia.
Photo Credit: (Photo at top of article) Tiglath Pileser III besieging a town.—Wikipedia.