Stem Cell Research: The Religious Perspective Term Paper

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Stem Cell Research: The Religious Perspective

One of the most controversial and problematic areas of contemporary medical development is the issue of cloning and stem cell research. This however is a debate that has gone far beyond the confines of the medical world. The issue of stem cell research has influenced and affected a wide of disciplines and impacted on social concerns; including ethical, moral as well as religious objections to the acceptance of this new technology. In this paper an attempt will be made to show that one of the legitimate concerns and objections to stem cell research lies in the area of religion. Many modern religious authorities and churches see this form of research as a serious threat to the foundations of society and religious practice in the modern world.

In brief, stem cell research is a modern scientific and medical technology that holds out the promise of amazing and exciting medical benefits. In essence stem cells refer to the"... undifferentiated cells that give rise to the many specialized tissues within the human body.Adult stem cells are found in particular parts of the body, some capable of developing into several kinds of specialized cells."

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Stem cell or embryonic cells are the cells that are found in embryos which have the ability to develop or grow into other types of cells. For example, stem cells have the theoretical potential to develop into heart or muscle cells, etc. Therefore this technology has opened new vistas of possibility for medical science. In theory stem cell research may lead the way to enable doctors to cure diseases that were previously incurable - such as Parkinson's disease. A central benefit of stem cell research is that it is able to create organs and tissue from the undifferentiated cells that can replace damaged or diseased human organs. Another advantage this technology is that it has the potential to overcome the problem of rejection by the recipient or host body.. "Embryo cloning has been proposed as a way to solve the immune rejection problem." www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5000788547

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Term Paper on Stem Cell Research: The Religious Perspective One Assignment

However, despite these claims, which amount to a new medical revolution, the technology has not been accepted in many quarters and has opened up a Pandora's Box of controversy. While it holds promise it is morally and ethically problematic.

Among there many opposing views to stem cell research, theorists claim that this technology may be used for commercial purposes and for the growing and selling of human body parts. A more alarming and deep-rooted objection to stem cell research lies in the perceived potential that it has to disrupt and even destroy human cultural and social institutions like the family and the Church. For example, some critics feel that in the long-term strum cell research and cloning could destroy the family. As Kass and Wilson (1998) state;

the new technologies of human reproduction - babies without sex - and their confounding of normal kin relations - who's the mother: the egg donor, the surrogate who carries and delivers, or the one who rears? - would "undermine the justification and support that biological parenthood gives to the monogamous marriage." (Kass & Wilson, 1998, p. 90)

Relate to these objections are an even more fundamental and serious aspect - this is the religious objection to stem cell research. A cardinal element of this objection is that stem cell research detracts and even threatens the religious view and understanding of creation. In essence this refers to the fact that stem cell research and forms of cloning break the essential hierarchical relationship between man and God. This means in effect that man becomes the creator and this displaces the religious structure of all major religions in the word. Stated in another way, this very serious objection means that stem cell research is not just a promising medical procedure but is in reality an attempt by man to usurp the place of God in a theological context. This is a threat to the very foundations of most of the world's dominant religions.

Coupled with this is the objection from many of the major churches that stem cell research and cloning techniques tends to reduce the significance and the value of human life. In Biblical terms, life is sacred as it has been created and granted by God. If mankind creates body parts even possibly other human… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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