Saturday, October 25, 2008

God and the Embryo

Brent Waters and Ronald Cole-Turner (eds), 2003, God and the Embryo: Religious Voices on Stem Cells and Cloning, Washington D.C: Georgetown University Press
Brent Waters is director of the center for Ethics and Values and assistant professor of Christian Social Ethics at Garret-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
Ronald Cole-Turner is the H. Parker Sharp Professor of theology and ethics at Pittsburgh Theological seminary and an ordained minister in the united Church of Christ.
These two collected and edited various denominational positional statements on embryonic cell research. These statements included those from the Pontifical Academy for Life, The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, United Methodist Church, Southern Baptist Convention, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church (USA), Union of the Orthodox Congregations of America and Rabbinical Council of America and The President's Council on Bioethics.
With statements from such august committees, one will expect a consensus among Christians and Jews about stem cell research and cloning. Unfortunately, what came out is not a symphony but a confusing bubble of voices. While most feel that embryonic stem cell research should not be allowed, very few statements gave convincing evidence for this conclusion. Most appeal to emotions and a sort of pseudo-social theology that involves imputing more into the Bible that what the Bible actually say. One gets the impression that the various denomination study committees are more political and socio-cultural bound than theological.

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