Indulging Anxiety: Human Enhancement from a Protestant Perspective

Christian Bioethics 5 (2):121-138 (1999)
At the heart of any ethics of human enhancement must be some normative assumptions about human nature. The purpose of this essay is to draw on themes from a Protestant theological anthropology to provide a basis for understanding and evaluating the tension between maintaining our humanity and enhancing it. Drawing primarily on the work of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, I interpret enhancement as proceeding from the anxiety that characterizes human experience at the juncture of freedom and finiteness. Religious and moral dimensions of human sinfulness are considered in relation to cultural values that motivate human enhancement generally. I employ these dimensions in a series of benchmarks to suggest a background of theological, anthropological, and moral considerations against which enhancement is not to be condemned but rather critically evaluated
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