Original Research

‘Jy mag nie moord pleeg nie’: Die betekenis van die sesde gebod vir die mediese etiek

L. O.K. Lategan
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 50, No 3 | a2574 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v50i3.2574 | © 1994 L. O.K. Lategan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 January 1994 | Published: 14 January 1994

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Abstract

Thou shalt not murder’: The meaning of the sixth commandment for medical ethics
In this article the author analyses the meaning of the sixth commandment in terms of medical ethics. According to this command no life may be taken illegally. Although life should be treated with respect, this respect is not an absolute value. Life is God-given. It is God who deserves absolute respect - not life. People who want to preserve life at any cost treat life as an abstract, biotic object rather than a subject that is part of personhood. This is also the reason why nobody has the right to decide whether he wants to live or not. In conclusion, the author emphasizes that it is not always possible to fulfil the meaning of the sixth commandment - especially in borderline situations. A borderline situation occurs when one is confronted with two equally unacceptable possibilities. When one chooses between these equally unacceptable options a conflict of duties emerges. The Christian has no choice left to him in a borderline situation other than that of the lesser of two evils. It is in this situation that the compromise is discussed

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