Adult Youth Retreat 2018 – Bioethics – The Beginning and Ending of Human Life
What should we as young adults actually know about the beginning of human life and the inevitable death? Both poles of life are seemingly very far away at this point in time. But they are relevant for every person, no matter their age.
During the last weekend of April, a small youth group gathered in Elandskraal for a camp. We intensively discussed a few bio-ethics topics: Life – Received or Made, Abortion, Treatment Refusal, Stem Cells, Cloning, Euthanasia and Contraceptives. At first glance, these topics may seem strange and one does not really know how it is possible to spend a whole weekend discussing them. But thanks to the well-prepared pastors Michael Ahlers, Helmut Paul and Marlon Hiestermann, we got a very comprehensive insight into these bio-ethical fields.
On the first day, we dealt systematically with the beginning of life. “I believe that God has made me” is probably a phrase we all know from the explanation of the first article in the Small Catechism. But by what means has/can God create(d) us? Together we looked at Artificial Insemination, In-vitro Fertilization, Adoption, Abortion, etc. Do these medical advances have a place in our Christian society? How can we, as Christians, in good conscience make use of these procedures? During the course of the day, we realized that there is a great deal to know about these topics and decisions are not always easy to make.
Stem Cells, Cloning, Euthanasia and Contraceptives were discussed the next day. In addition to the fascinating scientific aspects that these fields comprise of, it was the ethical aspects that triggered challenging debates. Again, it became clear: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they did not stop to think if they should.” (Quote from the movie Jurassic Park). In that context, the following Bible verse is also applicable: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)
In today’s world, the mainstream society leads the way for many bio-ethical practices. It’s unbelievably easy for us to follow without thinking and reflecting on all the issues. The challenging situations in which we often find ourselves can also tempt us to make use of the advanced technology at all times. Would it not then be our Christian responsibility to inform ourselves sufficiently to make ethically responsible decisions – especially ones that are aligned with God’s will, as found in the Bible?
The youth camp turned out to be very suitable for exchanging thoughts and ideas – we learned a lot, reflected often and laughed a great deal. The highlight was finally the church service on Sunday morning together with the Uelzen congregation in the Elandsheim church. Old and young came together to be served by the Lord and to return to everyday life strengthened and blessed. We want to express sincere thanks to the synodical youth parents Ralph and Cornelia Schröder for their tireless efforts before, during, and after the camp. We also extend our thanks to all the others involved in making such an enriching weekend possible.
Angelika Johannes, Lüneburg