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Suffering and Bioethics$
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Ronald M. Green and Nathan J. Palpant

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199926176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199926176.001.0001

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Redemptive Suffering Redeemed:

Redemptive Suffering Redeemed:

A Protestant View of Suffering

(p.262) 13 Redemptive Suffering Redeemed:
Suffering and Bioethics

Karen Lebacqz

Oxford University Press

Is suffering ever redemptive? I argue here that, from a Protestant perspective, only certain suffering is redemptive, and that applying the concept of redemptive suffering to the situation of a dying or very ill patient eviscerates the true meaning of redemptive suffering. Contrary to some traditions, the suffering that accompanies disease is not redemptive, and should therefore be reduced or eliminated if possible. The only redemptive suffering is that voluntarily undertaken in the cause of justice and the effort to combat disease. While the moral obligation to relieve suffering is not distinctively Christian, it is certainly central to Christian belief. Christians who, out of compassion, risk their lives by exposing themselves to contagion in an effort to heal others can be said to be modeling Christ’s compassion.

Keywords:   Redemptive suffering, justice, pain, Protestantism, relieving suffering, Christ

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