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Religious Views on Cloning and Technology: Analytical Essay

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In the wake of fast scientific and technological advancements witnessed in the 21st Century, much has been debated concerning human cloning and the use of technology. Most of the discussions have centered on different religions that provide different views regarding cloning and the use of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Human cloning has raised different controversial sights in Christianity, Buddhism, Protestant Churches, Islam, and many others. The religions that oppose human cloning are of the view that it is a practice that violates human dignity and the Biblical account of the story of creation. Some argue that humans are expected to be responsible over nature and at the same time, have respect for procreation and human life. In response to the emerging trend, particularly the Christian Church has embarked on a mission of using the pulpit to caution the public against human cloning. However, these religions do not speak in one voice because others have silently accommodated the beliefs of this technology, thus leading to contradicting views regarding the subject.

According to Christianity, human beings are supposed to be responsible for nature. It is because they resemble God; thus they have to take care of everything on earth. Therefore, the question of human distinctiveness is deeply explained in Christianity and Judaism where the two religions cite man as being created in the image and likeness of God. The different features of the image of God make believers draw different responses. More generally, undertaking the scientific mission of cloning is viewed as a practice of playing God. However, in some religious doctrines, this warning is not enough to warrant an argument against technology and human cloning. For most religions, a man’s quest for scientific knowledge is not considered threatening. For instance, some scholars of Islam believe that scientific discovery is important and is a revelation of God’s continuation of creation. Teachings embodied in Hadiths and Quran reiterates that assisted reproductive technologies are morally acceptable because they can address the problem of infertility (Al-Bar & Chamsi-Pasha, 2015). They believe that semen and ovum should come from the same persons who are legally married. According to the religion of Islam, a person’s infertility should be accepted, and the couple is permitted to seek other ways of procreation, such as the use of technology. Thus, to their understanding, science and technology are enough signs of God’s creation, and in this sense, they are of the view that human cloning is acceptable.

Moreover, some thinkers from the Jewish community ascertain that God has empowered human beings with the mandate of controlling his destiny in the world by making it a better place for generations to come. They draw their conclusion basing on the ground that God gave man the power to innovate and discover in the face of uncertainties. They add that man should not be overly cautious to the extent of inviting trouble, which could eventually lead to paralysis that may become difficult to control (Lavi, 2014). Besides, they find some reproductive technologies such as artificial contraception to be generally fundamental. Therefore, if they rule out the possibility of such techniques to be unacceptable, they may be contradicting their stand on the cloning of humans. Moreover, some Protestants believe that it is the responsibility of man to continue the creation of man so that a better tomorrow is secured for the man’s offspring. In this view, human destiny is a world full of possibilities, and therefore the man is expected to act as co-creator to God. Therefore, these religious perspectives offer support to human cloning and the use of Assisted Reproductive Technology.

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Nevertheless, the Catholic Church believes that human cloning is immoral and that it is a violation of the dignity of human beings. However, religion’s stance is a recent definition of personhood in the tradition of Christianity. A while back, the medieval church considered life to be constituted of a human form with a soul and that an embryo could not be considered as for that case. Even so, abortion was not regarded as a serious crime during the middle ages as compared to murder (Robertson, 2014). However, this view took a turn when Pope Pius IX became critical on the topic of research in the embryo. He then made a stand that a fetus is equally a human being from the time fertilization occurs in the womb. Ever since 1870, the Catholic doctrine has stuck to the position, and it considers the destruction of an embryo a sin and a murder case. Thus, they draw a thin line of distinction between the embryos that are a result of cloning and those that are naturally conceived. Also, the Catholic Church maintains that cloning violates the dignity of human beings because it jeopardizes the identity of both the clone and the person that his or her genome was used in coming up with the former. Furthermore, other church leaders such as Donald Bruce of the Church of Scotland strongly oppose the support of cloning.

However, other religions are not clear on their position on cloning and the application of technology in reproduction. For instance, the theological objections vanish when viewed from a Buddhist perspective. According to this religion, they believe that there is no universal creator, and the creation of life is neither a formal nor fixed process. The religion particularly maintains that life can be viewed from different angles, including but not limited to sexual reproduction (Xiarhos, 2018). Therefore, this perspective disregards the view that sexual reproduction is the only way of procreation; therefore, cloning can be one of how life can begin. On the contrary, Buddhism offers a vague approach to the utilization of stem cells from the embryos. In particular, religion stresses the importance of respecting every aspect of human beings, including the embryos that most scientists use when conducting their research. Also, Islamic scholars seek for guidance from the Quran when considering cloning and stem cell technology ethics. Many ascertain that the embryo becomes a soul only after one hundred and twenty days of fertilization, which is about four months in pregnancy. In this regard, there is no vivid consensus in various Islamic schools concerning the topic of the moral status of the embryo.

The relationship between religion and science has been complicated, especially in the 21st Century. The latter has repeatedly shaken the former’s beliefs, especially in Western countries. For instance, Charles Darwin’s take on origin and evolution cause a significant uproar between the two disciplines. Moreover, the introduction of technology and human cloning has deteriorated this matter, leading to contrasting opinions regarding the subject. Even these differences are in the religion itself, leading to the question of the role of science in man’s origin and destiny. A different section of religions supports the current development of human cloning, whereas others are in opposition to the trend. A part of Jewish, Judaic, and Christian leaders think that human cloning and the use of assisted reproductive technologies is essential. They point that it aids in cases where natural fertilization is complicated; therefore,considering alternative means is vital. Moreover, they add that human God created man in His image and likeness and therefore conducting innovation and research is a critical step in continuing the work of God. Besides, they add that man must continue shaping his destiny for the betterment of his future generations. Thus he must solve current problems that might paralyze the progress of his future.

On the other hand, some religions such as the Catholic Church are in total opposition to cloning and technological researches seen as disobedience to God’s creation. They argue that conducting such studies and the use of scientific reproduction methodologies is a violation of the dignity of human beings. Moreover, it is seen as a challenge to the beliefs of Christianity. Nevertheless, other religions, such as Buddhism, do not have a clear stand on the matter of human cloning. In some instances, they note that there is no creator, and therefore life can take any form, meaning through sexual reproduction or scientific exploration. However, they contradict their previous stance by pointing that it is fundamental to attach value on respecting every aspect of the living being; thus, in this view, human cloning should not be done. My opinion on the matter is that scientists should take into account the opinions raised by the opposing religions and establish a way of balancing. Failure to do so could further widen the hostility between religion and science, and that continual acceptance of science could be jeopardized in the long run. Similarly, religious beliefs must be open to a changing technological and scientific environment and offer their advice on how science could be applied accordingly. Indeed, the two depend on each other as Einstein postulated,“science without religion is lame, and religion without science is blind.’

References

  1. Al-Bar, M., & Chamsi-Pasha, H. (2015). Assisted Reproductive Technology: Islamic Perspective. Contemporary Bioethics, 173-186. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-18428-9_11
  2. Lavi, S. (2014). Cloning International Law: The Science and Science Fiction of Human Cloning and Stem-Cell Patenting. SSRN Electronic Journal. doi: 10.2139/ssrn.2389574
  3. Robertson, D. (2014). Religion and science fiction. Culture And Religion, 15(2), 250-252. doi: 10.1080/14755610.2014.912877
  4. Xiarhos, M. (2018). Ethics and Morality in Cloning Technology. Philosophy And Theology, 30(1), 255-267. doi: 10.5840/philtheol2018910102

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Religious Views on Cloning and Technology: Analytical Essay. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 9, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/religious-views-on-cloning-and-technology-analytical-essay/
“Religious Views on Cloning and Technology: Analytical Essay.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/religious-views-on-cloning-and-technology-analytical-essay/
Religious Views on Cloning and Technology: Analytical Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/religious-views-on-cloning-and-technology-analytical-essay/> [Accessed 9 Dec. 2022].
Religious Views on Cloning and Technology: Analytical Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2022 Dec 9]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/religious-views-on-cloning-and-technology-analytical-essay/
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