What do I think of Scott Henderson’s book published by Pickwick Publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
For most of us, it’s a no-brainer. You go to get a license or register to vote or something like that and you’re asked if you want to be an organ donor. Why not? After all, once you die, you’re not really going to need them. Might as well help someone out here? Scott Henderson certainly agrees with that, but at the same time, has a caution about the matter.
This caution is relevant to those of us who are Christians because we want to be consistently pro-life. We would not want an innocent baby put to death to harvest its organs. What about someone who is possibly dying? Could it be that death is being pronounced too early just so we can get to the organs?
It’s quite interesting that once when I was reading this, I took my wife to see the sleep doctor about some tests to see if she has sleep apnea. The doctor saw the image and asked about what I was reading. I told her and gave her some of the main thesis and she immediately replied that brain death is the time that someone is said to be definitively dead.
The problem for that is that’s the very claim that Henderson goes on to question. Is brain death a settled matter? Could this be a question that needs a little bit more looking into?
Henderson looks at the history of organ transplants, focusing mainly on 1968. From there, he goes on to present what happened with the history and problems, such as how sometimes when organs have been in the process of being gathered, there is actually some resistance on the part of some patients. In this section, he mainly relies on medical scholarship.
People like myself will be much more interested in questions of dualism that he raises. This is where we get into if a person has a soul or not and what constitutes being a person. Henderson has said that he thinks that the organ donation issue is one where we are not consistently pro-life and we know the artificial category of being a human but not being a person has been used as a weapon against the pro-life community.
Many people who are involved in pro-life apologetics will especially appreciate this section and I found it timely as I have been going through an advanced copy of Nancy Pearcey’s Love Thy Body on Kindle at the same time and she is making much of the problematic dualism we have, not arguing against the body/soul idea, but a radical disjunction between the two.
Henderson is not opposed to organ donation, as I know through personal conversation, but he is saying we want to make sure the person is truly dead first. Perhaps it is time to re-open this discussion. We want to make sure life is the best for all. Killing a patient early in one area can very easily lead to doing the same in other areas. There’s no need to risk it.