Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A great and important read

If you are looking for a "thinking" book to read this Christmas break, can I recommend Dr Megan Best's "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made - Ethics and the beginning of human life" (2012, Matthias Media).

It is a great book - I've just finished it.

I highly recommend it because it gives the average person like me a thoughtful and perceptive insight into the ethics involving the beginning of human life. Dr Best is a committed Christian, a very smart lady, has a sensitive pastoral heart and writes brilliantly. Her desire for people to understand the science, the history, the theology and the pastoral implications of the ethics of reproduction, assisted reproduction technology, experimentation, stem cells and all sorts of other related topics is clear and helpful.

Megan writes clearly and in a really engaging way - the book is 500 pages and I read it while on a couple of flights this week - it is that sort of deep, but in an engaging sort of way book. You don't need a degree in embryology / ethics / law / theology to understand what she's saying.

For me, a few things stood out, and these are the reasons why I think you should buy and read this book.

- The science of the beginning of life is complicated. We need someone like Megan to explain what is going on. I learnt things that perhaps I should have known earlier... (It has actually been a really useful reference book for us to give to daughters growing up in our house.)

- The ethics associated with the science are equally complicated, but cannot be ignored or distilled into "soundbites". It is clear that the debate regarding these issues has often descended into "Who can produce the best one-liner or the most emotive story". As a society we can't make decisions about human life on this basis. This book opens to door to the possibility of an informed discussion.

- From the statistics presented in the book, the ethics of the beginning of life touch an extraordinary number of people. We are living in dreamland if we think these issues have not / do not / will not touch our lives or the lives of those close to us. This book will help us help them.

- The pastoral advice Megan gives is sensitive, wise, careful and based on many years of experience. Great advice for those walking in the pain and fog of infertility or suffering loss, or for those who are wanting to support those who are.

I urge you to read this book. It will help you think carefully, act wisely and in a godly way and encourage those around you in their walk.

PS For those who are blessed to have children, I think it will also encourage you to love them more deeply.

PPS  Don Carson says this is the "must read" book in the field. Who am I to argue?

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