In David Vandrunen's book Bioethics and the Christian Life, he discusses the virtures needed to properly evaluate and make decisions with regard to bioethical matters. Whether it is a question of practicing particular forms of birth control or whether or not we will allow extreme measures to sustain life for a dying parent, these are issues that are not too high above us. They are intensely practical for us.
The virtues Vandrunen discusses are faith, love, hope, courage, contentment, and wisdom.
In the context of wisdom, he points out that wisdom is crucial for all aspects of life, but especially for bioethical decisions, specifically because it demands we look at details:
Wisdom is relevant for every part of our lives, but it has a special relevance in bioethical decision making. In few areas of contemporary life is it more obvious than in bioethics that Scripture does not provide a specific answer to every moral problem... about in vitro fertilization, cloning, stem cells, ventilators, and feeding tubes, Scripture says not a word. The doctrines, rules, and virtues commended in Scripture must be applied to circumstances unknown to the biblical writers, and without a great measure of wisdom bioethics will remain a murky endeavor. In addition, bioethical decisions require a great deal of attention to particular circumstances. Biblical wisdom trains us to observe details, recognizing that a small change in circumstance may require a significant change in response.
Sifting through details take work, and sometimes evaluating them means a great deal of thought must be given. Have you ever noticed that some of the wisest people you know say the least and think the most? Have you ever noticed that the wisest people you know ask more questions than give answers? My husband often asks more questions of me than he provides answers. Wisdom isn't something that just falls out of the sky; it has to be cultivated through careful thought and prayer.
Wisdom is required for all of life, but as we continue to face challenging bioethical issues, in the public square as well as in our own personal lives, we need it even more.