Since the original publication of _Playing God?_ in 1996, three developments in genetic technology have moved to the center of the public conversation about the ethics of human bioengineering. Cloning, the completion of the human genome project, and, most recently, the controversy over stem cell research have all sparked lively debates among religious thinkers and the makers of public policy. In this updated edition, Ted Peters illuminates the key issues in these debates and continues to make deft connections between our (...) questions about God and our efforts to manage technological innovations with wisdom. (shrink)
As we envision constructive undertakings in the field of religion and science for the next decade, the emerging agenda of astrotheology is opening up a new theater for enquiry. Astrotheology provides a critical theological response to the field of astrobiology while critically assessing exciting new research on life in our solar system and the discovery of exoplanets. This article proposes four tasks for the astrotheologian: deliberate on (1) the scope of creation: is God's creation Earth-centric or does it include the (...) entire cosmos? (2) the question whether a single divine incarnation on Earth suffices for the cosmos or whether multiple incarnations—one for each inhabited planet—is required; (3) whether astrobiologists and other space scientists are sticking to their science or smuggling in ideology; and (4) readying terrestrial life for contact with extraterrestrial life by enumerating issues to be taken up by astroethics. (shrink)
This essay compares and contrasts nine different conceptual models of God: atheism, agnosticism, deism, theism, pantheism, polytheism, henotheism, panentheism, and eschatological panentheism. This essay justifies employment of the model method in theology based on commitments within philosophical hermeneutics, philosophy of science, and the theological understanding of divine transcendence. The result is an array of conceptual models of the divine which have reference, but which make indirect rather than literal claims. Of the analyzed models, this essay defends “eschatological panentheism” as the (...) most satisfying model for Christian constructive theology. This paper was delivered during the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God. (shrink)
Reviewing works by James Alison, Alistair McFadyen, Andrew Sung Park, Ted Peters, and Solomon Schimmel, the author suggests that the status and function of the discourse/doctrine of sin highlight tensions between theology and ethics in ways that suggest the character, limits, and promise of religious ethics. This literature commends attention to sin-talk because it helps religious ethicists to render more adequately the dynamics of human agency, sociality, and culture and because it raises questions about the nature and task of theology, (...) faith, and morality. Yet these volumes also indicate that religious ethics should pay more attention to particular sins. (shrink)
Astrochristology, as a subfield within the more comprehensive astrotheology, speculates on the implications of what astrobiology and related space sciences learn about our future space neighbors. Confirmation of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligent civilizations living on exoplanets will force Christian theologians to decide on two issues. The first issue deals with the question: should Christians expect many incarnations, one for each inhabited exoplanet; or will the single incarnation in terrestrial history suffice? The second issue deals with the question: why is (...) there an incarnation in the first place? Does the divine presence in the historical Jesus mark a divine attempt to fix a broken creation or does it mark a divine self-communication that would occur with or without creation's fall into sin and death? Sorting these issues out is one task for astrochristology. My own position is to affirm both a single incarnation on Earth valid for cosmic redemption from the brokenness of creation in its present state. (shrink)
Public theology is conceived in the church, reflected on critically in the academy and addressed to the world for the sake of the world. The development of a theology of nature is included in the public theologian’s list of tasks of nature that is scripturally based and heavily informed by the natural sciences. Astrotheology is one product. Astrotheology engages astrobiology and other space sciences, firstly, by critically exposing the extraterrestrial intelligence myth at the heart of science and secondly, by partnering (...) in thinking through public policy proposals with astroethicists.Contribution: The HTS collection on ‘Theology and Nature’ sparks theological discussion both within and beyond the church. By developing the fields of astrotheology and astroethics, this article contributes to a ‘Theology of Nature’ as an exercise in Public Theology. (shrink)
Might the 2018 birth of two designer babies in China write the opening paragraph for the next chapter in the history of eugenics? The worldwide scientific community has tacitly put a moratorium on human clinical application of CRISPR gene editing, waiting until unknown risks can become known. But this ethical agreement has been breached, and calls are now being heard for more rigorous regulations. Perhaps religious and spiritual leaders can join the bioethical chant: the yellow light of caution is flashing.
The phrase "playing God" so popular with journalists takes on a serious meaning in the debate over germline genetic intervention. While guarding against the dangers of human pride implied in the phrase "playing God," special attention is given here to the Christian concept of the human being as created in the divine image, the imago dei . Human beings are dubbed "created cocreators." In this light ethical arguments proscribing germline intervention are examined and refuted, leaving the door open for creative (...) responsibility on the part of the present generation for our future progeny. Keywords: playing God, created co-creator, germline intervention, human dignity CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The construction of a distinctively Christian “theology of evolution” or “theistic evolution” requires the incorporation of the science of evolutionary biology while building a more comprehensive worldview within which all things are understood in relation to our creating and redeeming God. In the form of theses, this article brings four support pillars to the constructive work: (1) orienting evolutionary history to the God of grace; (2) affirming purpose for nature even if we cannot see purpose in nature; (3) employing the (...) theology of the cross to discern divine compassion in the natural world; and (4) relying on the divine promise of new creation. Among other things, John Haught's blueprint has located the pedestals on which these pillars will stand. For this groundwork, Haught deserves thanks. (shrink)
The worldwide transhumanist movement upgrades technological hopes and expectations to a level of religious fervor. When looking through the eyes of the public theologian, we see in H+ a disguised religion replete with faith in techno-salvation and even immortality. This is unrealistic. Apologetic theologians can offer the wider public a more realistic assessment of technology's potential while providing genuine hope in a future vision based on divine promise.
Revolutionary developments in both science and theology are moving the relation between the two far beyond the nineteenth‐century “warfare” model. Both scientists and theologians are engaged in a common search for shared understanding. Eight models of interaction are outlined: scientism, scientific imperialism, ecclesiastical authoritarianism, scientific creationism, the two‐language theory, hypothetical consonance, ethical overlap, and New Age spirituality. Developments in hypothetical consonance are explored in the work of various scholars, including Ian Barbour, Philip Clayton, Paul Davies, Willem Drees, Langdon Gilkey, Philip (...) Hefner, Nancey Murphy, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Arthur Peacocke, John Polkinghorne, Robert John Russell, Thomas Torrence and Wenzel van Huyssteen. (shrink)
As Artificial Intelligence researchers attempt to emulate human intelligence and transhumanists work toward superintelligence, philosophers and theologians confront a dilemma: we must either, on the one horn, (1) abandon the view that the defining feature of humanity is rationality and propose an account of spirituality that dissociates it from reason; or, on the other horn, (2) find a way to invalidate the growing faith in a posthuman future shaped by the enhancements of Intelligence Amplification (IA) or the progress of Artificial (...) Intelligence (AI). I grasp both horns of the dilemma and offer three recommendations. First, it is love understood as agape, not rational intelligence, which tells us how to live a godly life. Love tells us how to be truly human. Second, the transhumanist vision of a posthuman superintelligence is not only unrealistic, it portends the kind of tragedy we expect from a false messiah. Third, if as a byproduct of AI and IA research combined with H+ zeal the wellbeing of the human species and our planet is enhanced, we should be grateful. (shrink)
Toward a Galactic Common Good: Space Exploration Ethics.Ted Peters - 2018 - In David Boonin, Katrina L. Sifferd, Tyler K. Fagan, Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Michael Huemer, Daniel Wodak, Derk Pereboom, Stephen J. Morse, Sarah Tyson, Mark Zelcer, Garrett VanPelt, Devin Casey, Philip E. Devine, David K. Chan, Maarten Boudry, Christopher Freiman, Hrishikesh Joshi, Shelley Wilcox, Jason Brennan, Eric Wiland, Ryan Muldoon, Mark Alfano, Philip Robichaud, Kevin Timpe, David Livingstone Smith, Francis J. Beckwith, Dan Hooley, Russell Blackford, John Corvino, Corey McCall, Dan Demetriou, Ajume Wingo, Michael Shermer, Ole Martin Moen, Aksel Braanen Sterri, Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Jeppe von Platz, John Thrasher, Mary Hawkesworth, William MacAskill, Daniel Halliday, Janine O’Flynn, Yoaav Isaacs, Jason Iuliano, Claire Pickard, Arvin M. Gouw, Tina Rulli, Justin Caouette, Allen Habib, Brian D. Earp, Andrew Vierra, Subrena E. Smith, Danielle M. Wenner, Lisa Diependaele, Sigrid Sterckx, G. Owen Schaefer, Markus K. Labude, Harisan Unais Nasir, Udo Schuklenk, Benjamin Zolf & Woolwine (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy. Springer Verlag. pp. 827-843.details
The field of Astroethics addresses moral and societal issues arising out of speculation regarding terrestrial contact with extraterrestrial life in both its intelligent and non-intelligent forms. This chapter tackles 15 ethical quandaries, 12 of which are associated with space exploration within the solar system plus 3 with exoplanet communication. Within our solar ghetto, scientists expect at best to find only microbial life, leaving intelligent life to exoplanets elsewhere in our galaxy. The intra-solar system quandaries are these: What does planetary protection (...) mean? Does microbial life have intrinsic value? Should space explorers invoke the Precautionary Principle? Should we clean up our space junk? What should we do about satellite surveillance? Should we weaponize space? Should scientific research take priority over commercial space ventures? Should we terraform Mars? Should we colonize Mars? Should we prepare for bombardment of Earth by asteroids? Should we rely upon a single planetary community of moral deliberation? Should we pursue the good of the galactic commons? The extra-solar quandaries deal with three degrees of extraterrestrial intelligent creatures: those with less intelligence than us Homo sapiens, our Extraterrestrial Intelligent creatures peers in intelligence, and ETI who are superior to us in intelligence. To each quandary we ask: What is our terrestrial moral responsibility toward extraterrestrial life? Our answer is grounded in an appeal to a galactic common good. (shrink)
Myths of origin in archaic culture – including the Hebrew Scriptures – locate reality at the point of origin. The Greek term, αρχη, means both origin and governance. How something originates governs its definition; it was assumed by our ancestors. Hence the term archonic. Until we get to Christian eschatology and the promise of the new creation. In the New Testament, we find that God’s eschatological consummation will retroactively define what has always been. God’s redemption will epigenetically redefine what occurred (...) at our genesis. Who you and I really are as creatures will be determined by our completion in the Kingdom of God. The new creation, Omega, determines what was true at the point of origin, that is, at Alpha.Contribution: This article develops a theology of nature that incorporates natural science and augments the journal series in this subject area. Furthermore, this article develops a retroactive ontology based on the New Testament promise of an eschatological new creation. (shrink)
Christian philosophy provides the form and systematic theology the substance when the church turns its intellectual face toward the wider public. This united front is vital in the context of a global competition between worldviews, where naturalism in the form of aggressive scientism has declared war on all things religious. Through discourse clarification the philosopher should distinguish between genuine science and the naturalistic reductionism that attempts to co-opt it; and through worldview construction the theologian should then demonstrate how nature viewed (...) by science belongs within a picture where all reality is oriented toward the one God of grace. In the battle between competing explanations of reality, the public Christian philosopher along with the public systematic theologian should offer a worldview with greater explanatory adequacy. (shrink)
In an exciting study that bridges science and religion, physicists think about the connection between physics and faith and biologists discuss evolution, ethics, and the future. Complementing these viewpoints, theologians address these same issues from a religious standpoint. Chapter authors include Nobel Prize-winning physicist and inventor of the laser, Charles Townes, along with Pope John Paul II.
If we human beings are successful at enhancing our intelligence through technology, will this count as spiritual advance? No. Intelligence alone— whether what we are born with or what is superseded by artificial intelligence or intelligence amplification— has no built-in moral compass. Christian spirituality values love more highly than intelligence, because love orients us toward God, toward the welfare of the neighbor, and toward the common good. Spiritual advance would require orienting our enhanced intelligence toward loving God and neighbor with (...) heart, mind, and soul. (shrink)
Public policy debates such as we find in the Untied Nations, the Singapore Bioethics Advisory Committee, and the US President’s Council on Bioethics reflect behind-the-scenes theological debates. Although religious spokespersons agree nearly universally that human reproductive cloning should be banned; moral ambivalence rises when confronting human embryonic stem cell research. Rather than focus on beneficence (medical benefits), religious bioethicists focus on nonmalificence (embryo protection). The Vatican claim that stem cell research should be banned because it destroys embryos appears at first (...) to rely upon ensoulment at conception; but a closer analysis shows that the Vatican position relies upon genetic uniqueness. Appeal to genetic uniqueness is inadequate for Christian anthropology; what needs to be added is a relational and proleptic understanding of human dignity. (shrink)
Did the God of the Bible create a Darwinian world in which violence and suffering (disvalue) are the means by which the good (value) is realized? This is Christopher Southgate's insightful and dramatic formulation of the theodicy problem. In addressing this problem, the Exeter theologian rightly invokes the Theology of the Cross in its second manifestation, that is, we learn from the cross of Jesus Christ that God is present to nonhuman as well as human victims of predation and extinction. (...) God co‐suffers with creatures in their despair, abandonment, physical suffering, and death. What I will add with more force than Southgate is this: the Easter resurrection is a prolepsis of the eschatological new creation, and it is God's new creation which retroactively determines past creation. Although this does not eliminate the theodicy question, it lessens its moral sting. (shrink)
The transhumanist train has pulled out of the station and is now racing toward its destination: technoutopia. Via GNR--Genetics, Nanotechnology, and Robotics--the H+ engineer is guiding us toward posthumanity where our descendents will enjoy superintelligence in digital, disembodied, and immortal form. How far will the Christian want to ride this train? I recommend that the Christian board the H+ train and ride the rails of technological progress as far as improved medical therapies, increased longevity, advanced robotics, and other enhancements in (...) human well-being and flourishing. But, I further recommend disembarking before the unrealistic and even undesirable posthuman utopia which would amount to the end of the line for humanity. (shrink)
Paul Tillich's eternal now is the ground from which all things emerge and perish in each and every moment. A Tillichean eschatology involves the gathering of all things finite into the eternity of the present moment, into God. Salvation is present moment. But is the “eternal now” enough? This essay offers biblical and theological critiques of Tillich's present eschatology and posits an eschatology that combines Tillich's “eternal now” with Wolfhart Pannenberg's “end‐oriented eschatology.” The result is an eschatology that recognizes the (...) eternal now in which all things (including all time) belong to God yet with an eye toward the God‐given possibilities of the next moment, the future. The end of being is not cessation; rather, it is the fulfillment of time, the consummation of all things. (shrink)