Stem cell research – what BOTH sides miss
Although it is a state-level issue, the coming vote on Missouri's Amendment 2 ballot has garnered national attention. Supporters of the Amendment want constitutional protection and public funding for stem cell research on human embryos and for applying to human cells the initial steps of the process used to clone "Dolly" the sheep. Opponents call it a "clone and kill" amendment.
The "pros and cons" of Amendment 2 have been hashed and rehashed in the public square. What hasn't been discussed much by either side are the deeper issues related to the amendment.
Supporters urge voters to say "Yes" to "possible cures" and to scientific research. Yet there are huge questions to be asked! For example:
- Is a philosophy of "find a cure at all costs" morally defensible? Surely, no one could agree that it is. So if this cost is not too high to pay, what constitutes a cost that is too high?
- Using embryos and applying the initial cloning process on human cells is considered acceptable by proponents because no "human life" is actually involved. Where is the definition of human life to be found that can guarantee society this is so?
- Why is cloning not infringing on a domain rightfully owned by God alone, as many seem to feel it is? Does religion never have a role in forming medical ethics? If there is no God, how do we determine the boundaries of right and wrong?
Yet the "No" side of this issue has its own hard questions to address. Consider these:
- Why is cloning wrong in the first place? If it's because God says so, what about the many who call themselves Christians and who say He does not say so? Which "Christianity" are we supposed to believe?
- What makes the science supported by Amendment 2 more morally unacceptable than the constant "shelving" of the thousands of frozen embryos that are produced by fertility clinics? Why is allowing them to remain frozen, never to grow, never to be born, never to live their lives, not inviting similar rancor? If someone kills someone I love or keeps him or her perpetually in a state of involuntary suspended animation – either way I'm going to be outraged. Why is this situation significantly different?
The fact is that there is a God in this universe, regardless of how powerfully many deny His existence (Psalm 53:1-3), or how determined some segments of society are to keep Him out of their business (cf. Romans 1:28). Yet, He isn't one to be trotted out for a political cause, only to be "shelved" when His "opinions" interfere with other aspects of our lives. Nor is He one to try and "save" this world through the broken-down means this world provides – the compromising and inherently deceptive world of politics.
And He can be found, regardless of the mind-numbing cacophony of "Christianities" out there that claim His stamp of approval. But it will take a commitment to understand and to obey the God actually described by the Bible, even if it means painfully discarding the "God" of our imagination and our tradition.
That is a pain that most – religious and irreligious alike – lack the courage to face.
If you want to begin the process of getting to know that God and His plan for this world, consider requesting two of our free booklets: The Real God: Proofs and Promises and Do You Believe the True Gospel? Beyond the political ads and competing religions is a world that actually makes sense. Dare to begin taking the steps to find it.