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Stem Cells from Human Embryos for Research? The Theological Discussion Within Christianity

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Stem Cells, Human Embryos and Ethics

The author presents a survey of what churches and some theologians from different denominations are thinking with regard to the use of embryonic stem cells for research. He finds that there is an agreement among Orthodox churches, the Roman Catholic Church and several Protestant churches raising objections against such research. However, some Protestant churches in Europe and USA support it. The most used argument against is the specificity argument: Humans are unique creatures, brought into existence by divine activity and with the right to life and to not be harmed. Other arguments are the potentiality argument (embryos have the potentiality of becoming developed human beings) and the argument pointing to the continuity in development from fertilization and onwards. Churches supporting embryonic stem cell research refer to a graduality in the development of an embryo and to the new possibilities for treatment of serious diseases by using embryonic stem cells.

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Østnor, L. (2008). Stem Cells from Human Embryos for Research? The Theological Discussion Within Christianity. In: Østnor, L. (eds) Stem Cells, Human Embryos and Ethics. Springer, Dordrecht.

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