Social Implications

Ethical Issues: Religion

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Different religions have had varied responses to genetic engineering. Is genetic engineering amoral and aspiritual due to its connection to mass profits? Is it a continuation of God's own creation?
Christianity has provided two polar responses to this issue. One response, which is derived from liberal Protestant thought, believes that our role is aiding God in creation. Because humans are created in God's image, it is believed that this image is tied to creativity. This belief states that we are helping God in his continuous creation of the world (Epstein, 1998). Another view is that all creations have an inherent value, and as such we should not tamper with them. Humans are not capable of fully understanding what they are doing and do not understand evolutionary changes as God understands creation. It is believed by some that "we will continue to pursue our knowledge and technology. We have no alternative. We will do so in sin (Epstein, 1998:3)". This view believes that we are not humble enough to those creations around us, and we are ultimately creating lasting problems, both for the environment and our spiritual future.
Buddhism has offered a very different view. The central principle of this faith is ahimsa, which means "non-harming". This concept respects the intrinsic value of all lives, not only human life. Additionally, it does not base values according to the usefulness of something in society. Everything is valued in its own right. Another idea in Buddhism is that the universe is an open system. As it is an open-system, opposed to the popular scientific view of a closed system, it is impossible for us to fully understand the implications of genetic engineering for living creatures. Overall, Buddhism believes that one should have compassion for all living creatures, regardless of size or practicality (Epstein, 1998).

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