The Pressing Issues under the Christian Narrative and Vision in the Case Study

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The invitation to analyze the difficulties surrounding the Christian story and the Christian vision in the offered case study rests primarily in the ethos that have increased the tension experienced whenever people face health complications. In the instance of James, Mike and Joanne put their faith in God (via their pastor's sermon) and chose to forego dialysis, despite the fact that it is necessary. In doing so, they are following the Christian narrative of faith healing rather than scientific approaches that could have been more beneficial. In essence, Jesus says, “He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” (Luke 16:10)

This encourages Christians to live up to the vision of not taking their lives for granted. The Christian narrative inspires people to work every day to know what the Scripture teaches and apply the knowledge in all aspects of their lives. Towards this end, the most outstanding issue in the case study is the dilemma regarding when and how to adopt faith as a remedy vis-a-vis the available scientific approach (medicine). Here, there is the issue of the conflict between spiritual and ethical decision-making. According to Bruzzone (2008), there is no religion that formally forbids the receipt or donation of body organs. Only some Orthodox Jews have religious objections to the donation of organs. In this regard, Mike and Joanne appear as going against the Christian vision of helping people who are in need in whatever way they can to make their lives better.

The Christianity faith is founded on the disclosure of God as epitomized in Jesus’ life. Jesus educated people to show love to each other and embrace others’ needs. Whereas faith is an important aspect of the Christian narrative, it is also important to consider the adoption of alternative ways to ensure quality of life. As Christians, it is essential to believe that nothing happens to the body before or after demise that can impact the individuals’ relationship with God (, 2017). Thus, Mike and Joanne face the issue of living the Christian life based on faith against that of trusting that God can work through medicine too.

Discussion of Whether Mike Should be allowed to Make Decisions that are Harmful to James

From the case study, it would be rational for the physician to prevent Mike from making decisions based on his faith. Quite evidently, Mike’s decision to forego the much-needed dialysis exposed James to complications that could have been avoided had he listened to the physician. First, the physician is ethically bound to offer the best advice to help people regain their health regardless of their religion (Bauman, 2015). Whereas people could pray for miracles, it beats logic to apply faith in situations that medicine could have helped to alleviate the suffering. Mike has already questioned his faith after James got worse and even began wondering if God could be punishing him. He is among those Christians who believe that they ought to rely solely on prayers for their healing, disregarding the outcome of their previous efforts. He (falsely) claims that all healings witnessed in the Scriptures were strictly the outcomes of prayers and faith. Indeed, it is true that the gospel contains numerous examples of Jesus and his apostles healing the lame and the sick, as demonstrated by the following verse:

Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.” (Matthew 4:23).

However, it is also critical to point out that God inspires and works through people, in this case the doctors, to help people who are sick to get well. As God worked through Jesus and his apostles, so he can too through the physician. Christians should not depend entirely on prayer and faith to treat conditions that can be treated by modern medicine (Deem, 2016). However, this does not mean that they should not pray when they or their relatives and friends are sick; rather, they should show their care by seeking all acceptable means to treat them. Thus, the physician should not let Mike make any more decisions concerning James’ health because he has already used faith and prayers that did not work.

Analysis of the Case on the Basis of the Christian Narrative, Issues of Treatment Refusal, and Patient Autonomy

As mentioned earlier, Jesus encourages believers not to take any part of their lives for granted (Bruzzone, 2008). For most Christians, the subject of organ donation has a particular sense of appeal. First, the technological equipment and expertise being used, for example in dialysis, is amazing and usually prolongs lives of people. Similarly, organ transplant that tests the borders between life and death appears abhorrent, yet essential to people. In the case study, Mike and Joanne are worried that James is going to die if he does not get a kidney transplant within the year, but are also scared that Samuel’s life could get worse in the event he donates his kidney. From a Christian perspective, this is a dilemma – as much as Mike and Joanne are bound by the Scripture’s teachings regarding care and sacrificing for each other, they are also worried that their actions could lower the quality of life for another person. Here, the question is whether they can follow Christ’s teachings and achieve positive results based on the utilitarian principle.

On treatment refusal, beliefs based on cultural and religious diversity are the most significant perpetrators. The principle of the respect for the autonomy of the patient is a hotly contested topic in clinical ethics because of its impact on treatment outcomes (Beauchamp & Childress, 2008). Whereas physicians respect and value the patient’s autonomy, they also have the moral and ethical obligation to ensure the best treatment outcomes, which could possibly be against the Christian narrative of prayer and faith. For instance, James’ physician accepts Mike’s decision of treatment refusal against his own advice, but places him on dialysis immediately they return two days later. This portrays the reality that treatment refusal and patient autonomy are not always the best alternatives, in spite of their significance. It is true that physicians cannot perform certain actions on patients’ bodies without their consent, but on the other hand, it is rational to overlook religious beliefs for the best of the patients.

Christians believe that human lives are gifts from God and ought to be safeguarded at all times (, 2017). This means that it is the obligation of all believers to alleviate the suffering of others and in cases requiring organ transplants, to donate and receive. Towards this end, it is evident that James life would be better if he received the kidney donation from Samuel. Increasingly, people who are dying are putting on their wishes the expression for their organs to be donated to needy patients when they eventually pass on. Hospitals are at the forefront of accomplishing this worthy cause because Jesus would desire for everybody to live a quality life. From the case study, Mike and other members of his church are willing to donate their kidney to save James despite their previous objection to the operation. This shows that the Christian narrative is applicable, but ought to go hand-in-hand with modern medicine for effectiveness.

How Christians Should Think about Sickness and Health

Christian teachings demonstrate the best approaches towards viewing sickness and health, as well as alleviating pain and suffering (Deem, 2016). Whereas the Bible does not divulge if Jesus ever suffered a migraine or caught a cold, it is evident that he underwent human weakness… “his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood” (Lk. 22: 43–44) while expressing His anguish at Gethsemane following receipt of news of Lazarus’ death. However, Jesus’ healing practice demonstrates God’s attitude towards health and sickness. From compassion, he healed people and made them live their lives to the full. Mike ought to learn that physicians are compassionate and desire the best for James. Thus, he ought to view James’ condition as an avenue for God to show His miracles through the human hand, as opposed to solely depending on prayer.

By trusting the physician, Mike is in essence, trusting God to heal Mike. In the same manner that Christians trusted and had faith in Jesus to heal the sick and the lame, so should Mike possess faith in the physician. For Mike, James’ illness involves the stigma of being “impure” or “unclean,” which makes him think that God could be punishing him. However, this is only in his mind and is not part of God’s plan for James. Towards this end, his attitude towards James’ illness should be that of optimism and as an opportunity for God to work miracles.


Bauman, C. M. (2015). Pentecostals, Proselytization, and Anti-Christian Violence in Contemporary India. Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Beauchamp, T. L., & Childress, J. F. (2008). Principles of Biomedical Ethics. 6th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Bruzzone, P. (2008). Religious aspects of organ transplantation. Transplant Proc. 40(4) , 1064-7.

Deem, R. (2016). Prayer and Faith vs. Doctors and Medicine. Retrieved Jun. 27, 2017, from (2017). Christianity. Retrieved June 27, 2017, from

May 17, 2023

Learning Christianity

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