Guest / Limited Access /

Democratic House members hope to pass six items during their first 100 hours in control of Congress. Only federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research will raise serious objections by conservative Christians. President Bush has already vetoed a similar bill, and it increasingly appears that he is the final bulwark preventing the unchecked use of nascent human life for medical research.

It is becoming progressively more difficult politically to argue that we should respect the human life of those bundles of cells that hold promise for potential cures of diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Of course, such cures remain theoretical, the only proven therapies coming from adult stem cells.

Yet true believers in embryonic stem-cell research find our opposition heartless. They tell us we are imposing archaic moral codes on society. They tell us we care little about alleviating suffering or forestalling death.

It can be hard to know how to respond, since the logic of these believers appeals to a deep Christian instinct: to offer healing to those who suffer. No wonder even many Christians wonder: So what's the big deal, especially if we might save or extend human lives?

The problem is not just the immoral destruction of the embryos from which stem cells are extracted. The larger cultural issue is an ethic of immortality that undergirds the push for embryonic stem-cell research. It's an ethic that has already warped our culture's perspective and now threatens to warp our Christian worldview, too.

Quest for Immortality

Leon Kass, a member and former chair of the President's Council on Bioethics and professor at the University of Chicago, argues that "victory over mortality is the unstated but implicit goal of modern medical ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only
Family Feud
Roger Olson calls for a ceasefire in a long-running theological civil war.
RecommendedPersecution in the Early Church: Did You Know?
Persecution in the Early Church: Did You Know?
Beginning as a despised, illicit religious sect, Christianity endured 300 years of hostility to emerge as the dominant force in the Roman Empire.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickMy Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
My Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
But only after I went to Japan in search of his life story.
Christianity Today
Go Gently into That Good Night
hide thisJanuary January

In the Magazine

January 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.