Two of the most powerful intellectual and social forces in our culture are the hard sciences and capitalist economics. Together they have conspired to produce images of personhood that undermine Christian understandings. According to these images, persons are defined by their rational capacities and their productive contributions. These images often lead us to dangerous judgments at the edges of life: we consider genetic testing for mental handicaps and abortion at the beginning of life, and euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide at the end.
Christianity presumes that we are creatures made in the image and likeness of God, destined for communion with God. The praise of God in Christian worship invites persons to participate regardless of their cognitive abilities or their productive usefulness.