Rethinking the Christian Bioethics of Human Germ Line Genetic Engineering: A Postscript Against the Grain of Contemporary Distortions

Christian Bioethics 18 (2):219-230 (2012)
Unlike (especially) the various Protestantisms, Orthodox Christianity recognizes no fundamentally different problems in the development and (future) application of human germ line genetic engineering (HGGE) than those raised by more traditional medicine. The particular challenges which frame the life of a traditional Christian arise not only in view of “groundbreaking” technological progress and its attendant increase in human power over nature, but permeate already his most simple daily routines. The diverse post-traditional Christianities have ceased confronting such liturgical–ascetical challenges. The quite appropriately pious desire, among those committed to such Christianities, for some restraint in the face of such increase of power therefore gets refocused onto substitute concerns. The new challenge then arises to establish the universal validity of the moral norms underlying such concerns in order to ground the desired prohibition. The discussions of several such norms offered in this issue of Christian Bioethics illustrate the embarrassment presented by the unavailability of either theological or rational foundations needed for such a project. The attempt to prove that there is something in principle morally wrong about HGGE is thus not only unnecessary for the Christian conduct of life (and presents a distraction), but also doomed to fail
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DOI 10.1093/cb/cbs015
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Marc Lappé (1991). Ethical Issues in Manipulating the Human Germ Line. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 16 (6):621-639.
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