Laurie Zoloth —
A Theological Perspective on Cloning

The idea of human cloning both fascinates and repulses many, and challenges us to ask difficult religious questions?

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is director of Bioethics at the Center for Genetic Medicine at Northwestern University, and a scholar in the Jewish Talmud and ancient rabbinic texts.

Selected Readings

"Born Again: Faith and Yearning in the Cloning Controversy"

In this essay read during the program, Laurie Zoloth addresses the ethical dilemmas and complications that accompany progressing cloning technologies from a theological perspective. The essay is included in Cloning and the Future of Human Embryo Research, published by Oxford University Press.

"Letter to Genetically Engineered Super Humans"

by Fred Dings

You are the children of our fantasies of form,
our wish to carve a larger cave of light,
our dream to perfect the ladder of genes and climb

its rungs to the height of human possibility,
to a stellar efflorescence beyond all injury
and disease, with minds as bright as newborn suns

and bodies which leave our breathless mirrors stunned.
Forgive us if we failed to imagine your loneliness
in the midst of all that ordinary excellence,

About the Image

Dr. Jing Kang, from the Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School sits in his lab in Boston, Massachusetts. He collaborated in a study with other scientists from three U.S. universities to create cloned pigs that produce higher than normal levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

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This presentation was about the moral debate on cloning and the religious view of why it should not be accepted. It starts off with an explanation of what cloning is by a scientist, how cloning could drastically change the lives of many both medically as well as psychologically and then goes on to speak of the opposition that cloning has faced. It then zeroes in on just the religious opposition to cloning. There is an attempt to redefine cloning not just of the human desire to achieve perfection but also as a tool to assist with medical technology and not just a way for grieving love ones to replace a dead family member.
It can be a very tempting endeavor, as we all have lost love ones that we continue to grieve about. However, it begs the question to what end? If you regard religion (especially Christianity) as your cornerstone, then your time on earth is nothing but a journey that leads you to heaven. If this is the case then you should be looking forward to moving on to heaven. Unless, you are not sure that is what you want, or that is what awaits you, then you would want to prolong your stay here on Earth. For the atheist it would be totally understandable. But for Christians of any kind it would directly contradict everything they believe in.
The Bible states that God is the giver of life (1Timothy 6:13). It also states He is our healer in Isaiah 53:4 and therefore we are suppose to believe in him for our healing and not take extreme measures. It beckons the question if we as humans are trying to once again be God?
What if we could live forever? What will serve as our motivation to love, and strive and dream? There would always be time. We could always put it off until later. It is ironic that extending life might take away a reason to live life.