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Religious views on matters of life. Starter: Complete Quiz on sheet. AIM: To understand the religious views on organ transplants & blood transfusions. Christian teachings…. “Love thy Neighbour” Matthews Gospel. "Do onto others as you would wish them do onto you." Matthews Gospel.

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Religious views on matters of life

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religious views on matters of life

Religious views on matters of life


Complete Quiz on sheet

AIM: To understand the religious views on organ transplants & blood transfusions.

christian teachings
Christian teachings…

“Love thy Neighbour”

Matthews Gospel

"Do onto others as you would wish them do onto you."Matthews Gospel

What would this mean when it comes to organ donation?

What about fertility treatment?


Throughout his life Jesus taught people to love one another and he proved his love for the world upon the cross.

  • It seems in keeping with this that Christians consider organ donation as a genuine act of love and a way of following Jesus’ example.
  • Christians feel it to be a generous and loving thing to do!
jehovah s witnesses
Jehovah’s Witnesses…

“For the life of a creature is in the blood”

Leviticus 17:11

  • Jehovah's Witnesses are a branch of Christianity. They do not agree with any blood transfusions…
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that their life is in their blood and they therefore should not take anyone else’s. This has resulted in several Jehovah Witnesses dying in situations that required a life saving blood transfusion.

They would agree with organ transplants as long as the blood is drained from the organ beforehand. These are called “bloodless transplants”.

  • Key teaching in Buddhism = Metta (loving kindness).
  • For Buddhists, any action is judged on the intentions behind it. If things are done for good then a Buddhist would agree with them.
  • Can you think of any times when Buddhists would be against organ transplants?
Explain religious attitudes to transplant surgery. (3 marks)

2. You are a Dr trying to help a sick child. Her parents are Jehovah Witnesses. How do you handle this?

  • Write out a conversation between you and the parents.


  • Christians believe that God created all life and that humans have a special relationship with him “Before you were I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5) – conception is part of God’s plan.
  • Christians regard children as a gift from God. The purpose of marriage is to “be fruitful and multiply” (have children) and to provide a stable and loving environment for raise a family. Some Christians believe it’s good to help couples have children and so accept IVF and AIH.
  • Christians do not agree with AID (Artificial Insemination by Donor), IVF (In-Vitro Fertilisation) or surrogacy because this introduces a third person in to the relationship and so can be considered being unfaithful (“Do not commit adultery”).
  • The Roman Catholic Church believe that life begins at conception (when the sperm meets the egg) and so do not agree with spare embryos being created, such as through IVF, as the embryos are either experimented on or thrown away, which could be considered murder (“Do not commit murder”).


  • Buddhists are expected to take full personal responsibility for everything they do and for the consequences that follow.
  • Allows all forms of IVF – shows Metta to those who are infertile.
  • Some do not agree to spare embryos being experimented on or destroyed as life begins at conception and the First Precept teaches ‘Do not harm others’. They also practise Ahimsa.
  • Others believe that an embryo does not possess the five skandhas (form, feelings, perceptions, thoughts and consciousness), so destruction of embryos is not an issue.
  • Destroying an embryo destroys the reincarnated foetus’ chance of gaining more good karma and chance at reaching enlightenment in this life.


  • Many Christians are concerned that genetic engineering might make irreversible changes to God’s creation.
  • Roman Catholics believe that scientists could become destroyers of creation through genetic engineering.
  • Other Christians believe that God is the creator but that His creation is ongoing. They believe genetic engineering could be used in a positive way to make the world more just and to help everyone have good health.
  • Methodists accept genetic engineering if it is used to help diseases but are concerned about what might happen if the wrong people use it.


  • * Believe in Right Intention (Eightfold Path). If the intention is good e.g. to save lives with the removal of hereditary diseases from DNA, good karma will be received.
  • Dalai Lama said ‘the destruction of nature is due to ignorance, greed and a lack of respect for the earth’s living things’ – changing nature for selfish reasons could be seen as disrespecting nature.
  • Same arguments as above with regards destruction of embryos.


  • It is not accepted by most.
  • Anglican (Church of England) Christians don’t oppose it as long as it is used responsibly, e.g. not cloning humans.
  • Roman Catholics believe cloning a human would threaten individuality. God gave humans uniqueness.
  • Some Christians are concerned that children cloned could be seen as a product of technology rather than a gift from God.
  • They also believe that cloning a child for ‘spare parts’ is unacceptable – sanctity of life.


  • Same arguments as above.
  • Metta – to help save a life, however you must consider suffering caused
  • Always link back to Buddhist belief about Karma and rebirth and how their actions affect their ultimate goal of achieving enlightenment (to end rebirth and reach a ‘state’ of contentment and peace).


  • Most Christians support organ, blood and tissue donation. The Brethren Conference 1993 said “We have the opportunity to help others out of the love of Christ through the donation of organs and tissues.”
  • For Roman Catholics, this type of donation is supported as an act of charity.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses allow transplant surgery but not blood transfusions. Leviticus 17:10-11 says “The life of everything is in the blood” and so all blood must be removed from organs and tissues before being transplanted.


  • There are no rules in Buddhism for or against organ donation, but central to Buddhism is a wish to relieve suffering (causing harm) – following Metta, Right Action, karma, 1st Precept – as long as it is done with the Right Intention – not for personal gain or greed.
  • Some see this act of generosity (alms/charity) to have positive ramifications for their karma.
  • Some Buddhists believe that consciousness may stay in the human body for some time after the breath has stopped and so until the consciousness leaves the body it is important the body remains undisturbed. They may have concerns that an operation to remove organs, which takes place so soon after death may damage their consciousness and cause harm to their future lives.