Design and DestinyJewish and Christian Perspectives on Human Germline Modification

Design and DestinyJewish and Christian Perspectives on Human Germline Modification

Ronald Cole-Turner

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780262033732

Publisher: The MIT Press

Abstract

We are approaching the day when advances in biotechnology will allow parents to “design” a baby with the traits they want. The continuing debate over the possibilities of genetic engineering has been spirited, but so far largely confined to the realms of bioethics and public policy. This book approaches the question in religious terms, discussing human germline modification (the genetic modification of the embryonic cells that become the eggs or sperm of a developing organism), from the viewpoints of traditional Christian and Jewish teaching. The contributors, religious scholars and writers, call our attention not to technology but to humanity, reflecting upon the meaning and destiny of human life in a technological age. Many of these scholars argue that religious teaching can support human germline modification implemented for therapeutic reasons, although they offer certain moral conditions which must be met. The contributions offer a variety of opinions, including a discussion of Judaism’s traditional presumption in favor of medicine, an argument that Catholic doctrine could accept germline modification if it is therapeutic for the embryo, an argument implying that “traditional” Christian teaching permits germline modification whether for therapy or enhancement, and a “classical” Protestant view that germline modification should be categorically opposed.