"Having left behind pseudoscientific racial theories, it’s easy for us to look back and pass judgment on yesterday’s eugenicists. It’s harder to acknowledge what we have in common with them. First, a relentless desire for mastery and control, not only over our own lives but over the very marrow and sinew of generations yet unborn. And second, a belief in our own fundamental goodness, no matter to what ends our mastery is turned."
This is the commentary of Ross Douthat (op-ed writer for the New York Times) as he reflects on the incredible technology available to us today and danger of our good intentions ending in Eugenics (read the rest his article here). This power will give our society the ability to create genetic 2nd class citizens if they are not careful.
Bioengineering and bioethics are areas where the Christian worldview offers some significant moral reasoning...if our culture will listen.
Here are two questions and principle from a group of bioethicists that must become common knowledge in our churches. They will help guide us as we face an ever-expanding buffet of biotechnologies.
The first question: “Does the technology facilitate healing or restoration from disease or disability, or is it for reengineering (so-called enhancement)?”* Christians need to say clearly that we are for therapeutic uses of biotechnology.
The second question: “Does the technology require or promote the commodification or destruction of human life? Does the technology demean, debase, or degrade individuals?”* Christians must stand up for all of humanity — especially the weak, impoverished, and defenseless.
Finally, as technological progress is made at a dizzying pace, we must not forget that the “fundamental human problem of humankind is not physical or mental inadequacy, but sin.”* Whether it is in economics or genetics, we are tempted to seek a Utopia where technology can save us. It can’t. It can alleviate much suffering, but it cannot save us. We are broken, and only God can heal our deepest wounds through Jesus Christ. The pride that exists as we develop biotechnologies will be expressed in the way these technologies are used in the future.
God is not surprised. He knows the end from the beginning and will be with us in the midst of the unknown challenges and opportunities (Isaiah 46:10). May God give us the grace and wisdom to be good stewards of the technology we have been entrusted with for the good of humanity.
I go in to more detail and offer more resources in my book Think Christianly: Looking at the Intersection of Faith and Culture
*For more on these quotations, see Biotechnology and the Human Good
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Labels: bioethics, Faith and Culture, Jonathan Morrow, Think Christianly