According to Orthodoxy, When Do You Become A Person?

There has been considerable discussion on the topic of human beings and personhood in Orthodox theological circles.  Fordham University’s Public Orthodoxy Blog recently published an article entitled “Human Beings or Human Persons?” that raised a number of serious questions in the context of the Great Council of the Orthodox Church.     Are all human beings persons?  What does it mean to be human?  What does it mean to be a person?   Is an embryo a human person? How does this impact our understanding of the vocation of men and women today and the critical questions each of us face regarding our own identity and our responsibilities to others?  What does it mean to be an Orthodox Christian who believes in human rights?   What does it mean to embrace the pro-life Tradition of the Orthodox Church in 2017?

Stephanie Gray recently delivered a wonderful talk at the offices Google on the topic “Abortion: From Controversy to Civility”  “Should personhood be grounded in how old we are, or should personhood be grounded in what we are?” she asked. “The quality of age shouldn’t be the basis for which someone has personhood status,” she answered, noting that the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the rights of “all members of the human family.”

Stephanie Gray’s talk aligns with the teachings of the Orthodox Church and is a great teaching tool on the important issue of the human being as created in the image and likeness of God.  It is also a great tool to cut through much of the clutter that surrounds this important issue in 2017.   This is a great topic for parish discussion and for discussion among the many young people who will be attending Orthodox summer camps.

Watch the whole video and feel free to offer a comment.

Andrew Estocin

Andrew Estocin is a lifelong Orthodox Christian. He received his B.A. with a double major in Philosophy and Theology from Fordham University. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including The Albuquerque Journal, Touchstone, Beliefnet.com and The Orthodox Observer. Andrew’s work is featured on the The Orthodox Christian Network where he writes on a variety of contemporary issues.

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