Brain Death and Life Ethics from the Perspectives of Religions


  • Kyoung-dong Yoo Methodist Theological University


After brain death criteria was first established at Harvard University in 1968, Korea included brain death in the guidelines for the determination of death, through the organ transplant law in February 1999. Since then, various legal, medical, ethical, and social issues regarding the determination of death related to brain death have surfaced, but no research has been conducted from the perspectives of comparative religion regarding the position towards the brain death, The author will examine the life ethics related to the brain death from the perspectives of the Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Confucianism. Three arguments will be unfolded through this paper at large. Firstly, internal and external perspectives on the brain death will be briefed, and secondly, issues related to brain death will be examined from the perspectives of various religions, and thirdly, a few proposals will be made from the perspective of the life ethics. Through this paper’s various religion’s organic perspectives on the entire human life overcoming biological or reductionist perspectives regarding the brain, the author expects the understanding of the human life to deepen in relation to the brain death.