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  #1  
Old Mar 9, '09, 7:28 am
crowonsnow crowonsnow is offline
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Default Question for Religious Anti-Choicers: “When Does Human Life End?”

When Does Human Life End?

I thought it appropriate to ask this question as it will help me understand the religious anti-choice position. If I can understand the basis of the religious belief of when human life ends, maybe it will shed some light on the belief that human life begins at fertilization.

Is the end of human llife primarily a de-ensoulment issue? Is the end of human life de-ensoulment based on biology? Is de-ensoulment not involved, leaving it a biological issue entirely with de-ensoulment just tagging along?

Or is it just not a big deal? And if it’s not a big deal, why is it not a big deal? Are there any official teachings that Catholics, for example, adhere to concerning the end of human life?
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  #2  
Old Mar 9, '09, 8:20 am
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Eucharisted Eucharisted is offline
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Default Re: Question for Religious Anti-Choicers: “When Does Human Life End?”

Religion answers why death occurs, science answers how death occurs. Religion says the soul leaves the body. Science says the brain no longer functions.
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  #3  
Old Mar 9, '09, 8:26 am
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Mary Gail 36 Mary Gail 36 is offline
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Default Re: Question for Religious Anti-Choicers: “When Does Human Life End?”

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Originally Posted by Eucharisted View Post
Religion answers why death occurs, science answers how death occurs. Religion says the soul leaves the body. Science says the brain no longer functions.
Very good answer...I would add also other body functions cease, heart beat, nervous system etc.
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  #4  
Old Mar 9, '09, 8:48 am
Ender Ender is offline
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Default Re: Question for Religious Anti-Choicers: “When Does Human Life End?”

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Originally Posted by crowonsnow View Post
I thought it appropriate to ask this question as it will help me understand the religious anti-choice position.
There is no anti-choice position as the issue has nothing to do with choice in the first place. If what you mean is opposition to abortion then say so; don't resort to euphemisms.
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If I can understand the basis of the religious belief of when human life ends, maybe it will shed some light on the belief that human life begins at fertilization.
The "belief" that human life begins at fertilization is not religious faith but scientific fact as five minutes of Googling on the internet will show you.

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Is the end of human llife primarily a de-ensoulment issue? Is the end of human life de-ensoulment based on biology? Is de-ensoulment not involved, leaving it a biological issue entirely with de-ensoulment just tagging along?
The Church teaches that body and soul are one, that the soul is not a ghost in a machine. Death is a fact which science should be able to assertain.

Ender
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  #5  
Old Mar 9, '09, 8:54 am
ricmat ricmat is offline
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Default Re: Question for Religious Anti-Choicers: “When Does Human Life End?”

Crowonsnow - It appears that you would like to learn more about souls. There's a book called "The Science Before Science" which I read (but don't remember much from) that explains souls from a philosophical and scientific perspective. You might pick up that book from the library and peruse it.
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  #6  
Old Mar 9, '09, 9:07 am
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Ilroy Ilroy is offline
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Default Re: Question for Religious Anti-Choicers: “When Does Human Life End?”

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Originally Posted by crowonsnow View Post
When Does Human Life End?

I thought it appropriate to ask this question as it will help me understand the religious anti-choice position. If I can understand the basis of the religious belief of when human life ends, maybe it will shed some light on the belief that human life begins at fertilization.
And, I have a question for an irrelious anti-Life person...you seem to have some thought on when life does begin other than at conception...when is that, and what actual scientific proof do you have that indicates same?

And to answer your question, human life does not end. It undergoes a transition from how we currently experience it. The human person is a body and soul...at some point, the body will die and the soul will leave it for awhile. At the end of time, God will re-unite our soul with our body in a glorified state and we go on living for all of eternity, whether it be in God's presence in Heaven, or in eternal agony if we reject God and choose hell.
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  #7  
Old Mar 9, '09, 9:25 am
Leela Leela is offline
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Default Re: Question for Religious Anti-Choicers: “When Does Human Life End?”

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Originally Posted by Eucharisted View Post
Religion answers why death occurs, science answers how death occurs. Religion says the soul leaves the body. Science says the brain no longer functions.
You may be wise in avoiding giving a scientific answer to a spiritual question. the problem with the abortion debate may be that religious people have tried to find a sceintific answer to the question of when a human being is endowed with a soul. I think that to point to any specific point in time was an error that results in the absurdity of single-celled people and the source of the abortion debate.

Best,
Leela
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  #8  
Old Mar 9, '09, 9:27 am
Leela Leela is offline
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Default Re: Question for Religious Anti-Choicers: “When Does Human Life End?”

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Originally Posted by Mary Gail 36 View Post
Very good answer...I would add also other body functions cease, heart beat, nervous system etc.
If antichoicers think that a single cell is a person at conception, then maybe you have to believe that the death of every cell rather than particular organs is required to consider a person dead.

Best,
Leela
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  #9  
Old Mar 9, '09, 9:29 am
crowonsnow crowonsnow is offline
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Default Re: Question for Religious Anti-Choicers: “When Does Human Life End?”

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Originally Posted by Eucharisted View Post
Religion answers why death occurs, science answers how death occurs. Religion says the soul leaves the body. Science says the brain no longer functions.
But you are stating emphatically that life begins at fertilization, and not saying why?

To say that life begins at conception is to say that life begins at the beginning. But you are referring to fertilization as conception so I understand your position. And fertilization is a specific event.

I don’t know precisely how long it takes fertilization, your beginning, to totally occur, and we’d have to make some decisions as to exactly when to start the clock and when exactly to stop it. But at least we know can do that. And I’m assuming that even though the sperm and egg are already alive, what you really mean is that this is when a spirit you call a soul is absolutely known to have become involved.

So logically at some point a spirit called a soul is no longer involved with the human and I’m asking when exactly this occurs. Is it an event that takes time? Can we start a clock and say the soul has begun to leave? Or is there a specific set of circumstances that must be met?

Is it when the last cell dies due to a lack of oxygen? This would be a minute or two, depending on conditions, after oxygen flow ceases.

If there is no specific teaching or religious position on this issue that is okay. I’m not trying to pin anyone. But I would find it odd that this would just be left in religious limbo considering the attention given at the other end.
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  #10  
Old Mar 9, '09, 9:39 am
crowonsnow crowonsnow is offline
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Default Re: Question for Religious Anti-Choicers: “When Does Human Life End?”

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Originally Posted by Leela View Post
If antichoicers think that a single cell is a person at conception, then maybe you have to believe that the death of every cell rather than particular organs is required to consider a person dead.

Best,
Leela
There is a complete set of DNA in every one of those cells so the unique DNA that began at fertilization is still alive and obviously human so we would still have a human life. At least I would think.

And I know that certain religions believe in human parthenogenesis, where there was no fertilization. So is fertilization not really an issue? If it isn’t really an issue, where is this “conception,” this beginning?

More importantly, however, where is deconception?

Religious people who spend time on this issue aren't saying that human life begins at the beginning and ends at the end. There must be more. But maybe there isn't! I'm open to their input.
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  #11  
Old Mar 9, '09, 10:20 am
Leela Leela is offline
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Default Re: Question for Religious Anti-Choicers: “When Does Human Life End?”

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Originally Posted by crowonsnow View Post
There is a complete set of DNA in every one of those cells so the unique DNA that began at fertilization is still alive and obviously human so we would still have a human life. At least I would think.

And I know that certain religions believe in human parthenogenesis, where there was no fertilization. So is fertilization not really an issue? If it isn’t really an issue, where is this “conception,” this beginning?

More importantly, however, where is deconception?

Religious people who spend time on this issue aren't saying that human life begins at the beginning and ends at the end. There must be more. But maybe there isn't! I'm open to their input.
Hi Crow,

As I said before, I think these problems come up when people try to give scientific answers to spiritual questions. There is the fear of giving an arbitrary answer to the question of when life begins or ends, so people look to science to give such answers, but science can only give data to interpret. cience can't tell us whether to consider a human being dead at the point of one organ or another failing or a combination of organs or parts of organd or complete cell death. Coroners check for "vital signs", signs of life. (Such vital signs obviously are not available for embryos.) The question of what signs to look for is always going to be a human decision. Who else could decide for us when to draw the line between life and death? Believers say that God could, but as far as I know, even if God exists, God is silent on this and every other subject.

Best,
Leela
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  #12  
Old Mar 9, '09, 10:23 am
Ender Ender is offline
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Default Re: Question for Religious Anti-Choicers: “When Does Human Life End?”

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Originally Posted by Leela View Post
If antichoicers think that a single cell is a person at conception, then maybe you have to believe that the death of every cell rather than particular organs is required to consider a person dead.
The issue of when life begins has been scientifically determined; there is simply no more debate on that point than there is on whether the earth circles the sun. It does appear that there is scientific debate on when life ends but there is none at all on when it begins - unless you count the question of how many seconds it takes for a sperm to complete the fertilization of an egg. On the question of when life begins, truth is on the side of the antichoicers, not the antisciencers, who appear to believe that the right to accept or ignore facts is just another choice.

Ender
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  #13  
Old Mar 9, '09, 10:32 am
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Corki Corki is offline
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Default Re: Question for Religious Anti-Choicers: “When Does Human Life End?”

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Originally Posted by crowonsnow View Post
To say that life begins at conception is to say that life begins at the beginning. But you are referring to fertilization as conception so I understand your position. And fertilization is a specific event.

I don’t know precisely how long it takes fertilization, your beginning, to totally occur, and we’d have to make some decisions as to exactly when to start the clock and when exactly to stop it. But at least we know can do that. And I’m assuming that even though the sperm and egg are already alive, what you really mean is that this is when a spirit you call a soul is absolutely known to have become involved.
That's an assumption not an accurate description of Catholic teaching. You are mixing up two very different concepts: life, and ensoulment.

Physical life begins at fertilization. This is a scentific concept, not a religious one. A basic biology text will explain it. There is an instant within the moment of fertilization where the two strands of DNA combine and the division of cells is triggered. That's a new life. The Church teaches that that life is valuable,to be protected from that moment on and deserving of the dignity of a human person. Theoretically, at least, you could stop the joining of DNA, even after the egg and sperm join. I doubt the Church has spoken about that but IMHO, that wouldn't be life yet. (It would probably be wrong for many other reasons but not the taking of life)

Ensoulment is the beginning of the eternal life of the individual human life. I don't think that the Church has ever definitively defined the moment when a soul enters the body of the new human life. But the Catechism strongly implies that it is at the moment of conception. This doesn't mean that fertilization and ensoulment are the same event, only that they take place at the same time.

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CCC1703 Endowed with "a spiritual and immortal" soul,5 the human person is "the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake."6 From his conception, he is destined for eternal beatitude.

Quote:
So logically at some point a spirit called a soul is no longer involved with the human and I’m asking when exactly this occurs. Is it an event that takes time? Can we start a clock and say the soul has begun to leave? Or is there a specific set of circumstances that must be met?
The soul does not "begin to leave". It is joined to the body or released. The Church has not defined exactly when the soul leaves the body. It is broadly defined as the moment of death. That moment might not even be the same in every situation.

Quote:
If there is no specific teaching or religious position on this issue that is okay. I’m not trying to pin anyone. But I would find it odd that this would just be left in religious limbo considering the attention given at the other end.
The Church has spent enormous attention on end of life issues. There is no "religious limbo" since the soul and its immortal character and destiny is not dependant on defining the moment it ceases to be joined to the body. The Church's respect for life is not dependant on the continuing ensoulment at the end of life any more than it is defined by ensoulment at the beginning of life.
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“Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights -- for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture -- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.” Saint John Paul II

"It is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life." Pope Francis
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  #14  
Old Mar 9, '09, 11:01 am
crowonsnow crowonsnow is offline
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Default Re: Question for Religious Anti-Choicers: “When Does Human Life End?”

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But the Catechism strongly implies that it is at the moment of conception. This doesn't mean that fertilization and ensoulment are the same event, only that they take place at the same time.
You used the words ensoulment, fertilization and conception. Are you saying that fertilization and conception are the same thing within official Catholic teaching or not? You said "implies." If the teaching only implies this then in fact conception and fertilization are different within catholic teaching. That would be my understanding.

So when I discuss the phrase "human life begins at conception" with a religious antichoicer, at least a catholic one, conception to them means something more than fertilization because they include ensoulment in "conception." That would make sense if that's what they mean.
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Old Mar 9, '09, 11:11 am
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Corki Corki is offline
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Default Re: Question for Religious Anti-Choicers: “When Does Human Life End?”

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Originally Posted by crowonsnow View Post
You used the words ensoulment, fertilization and conception. Are you saying that fertilization and conception are the same thing within official Catholic teaching or not? You said "implies." If the teaching only implies this then in fact conception and fertilization are different within catholic teaching. That would be my understanding.
Yes, fertilization and conception are the same thing. Not only for Catholics, it was always the same thing scientifically too until very recently. The definition of conception was recently changed in the medical community to be synonymous with implantation. The Church uses the classsic understanding that fertilization and conception are the same thing. This is not implied. It is clear. What is implied is that ensoulment and conception happen at the same time.

Quote:
So when I discuss the phrase "human life begins at conception" with a religious antichoicer, at least a catholic one, conception to them means something more than fertilization because they include ensoulment in "conception." That would make sense if that's what they mean
Nope. Because human life is not dependant on ensoulment. Human life, from conception to natural death, is what us "antichoicers" are committed to protect. It is not because of ensoulment. We are not, strictly speaking, protecting the soul but protecting the physical human life.
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"It is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life." Pope Francis
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