Patheos Watermark

You are running a very outdated version of Internet Explorer. Patheos and most other websites will not display properly on this version. To better enjoy Patheos and your overall web experience, consider upgrading to the current version of Internet Explorer. Find more information HERE.

Much of the medical work being done today would have been considered science fiction one hundred years ago. In 1914, we had no penicillin and a diagnosis of diabetics was certain death. Today the ability to change appearances, halt diseases, and delay death has become nearly commonplace in many developed countries, and the boundaries are pushing into realms of transhumanism and the indefinite prolongation of life. Today's science fiction may become tomorrow's medical discoveries. To what end?

From cosmetic surgery to family planning, advances in technology and medicine have created unprecedented opportunity for modifying how our bodies look, function, and reproduce. At every stage of life from birth until death, procedures are available to prolong life, combat illness, and change appearance or sex. To what extent should medical technologies be allowed to shape human life according to our desires? What ethical concerns and guidelines do religious traditions bring to the new frontiers of medicine

The Patheos Public Square is produced in partnership with Christianity Today and the Progressive Christian Initiative.

Share:


Featured Panelists

The Practice of Medicine: The Dilemma Neglected in the Healthcare Debate

The Practice of Medicine: The Dilemma Neglected in the Healthcare Debate

Frederick Schmidt: Progressive Christian columnist, "The Spiritual Landscape"

The decision to treat an illness is not simply a decision about the fate of a single human being.

Euthanasia and Paganism

Euthanasia and Paganism

Melinda M. Wilding: Philosophy Professor, Pagan Writer

Needless suffering trumps everything in the debate. The doctor is there as facilitator, not culprit.

Down Syndrome, Prenatal Testing, and Abortion

Down Syndrome, Prenatal Testing, and Abortion

Amy Julia Becker: Christian blogger

There are grave problems with human hubris in thinking that we should try to engineer human beings according to our ideals.

The Damaging Language of Cure

The Damaging Language of Cure

Rachel Adams: Professor and author

Many women self-select out of a prenatal diagnosis, often because they would not abort a baby with an identified genetic abnormality.

Bigger Breasts and Smaller Noses: The Correction Continuum

Bigger Breasts and Smaller Noses: The Correction Continuum

Kathy Schiffer: Catholic blogger, "Seasons of Grace"

Is plastic surgery immoral? If silicone injections seem shallow, what is the imaginary "body modification" line you will not cross in order to achieve a certain standard of beauty?

"Real Housewife": Yes, Christianity Is Compatible with Plastic Surgery

Lilit Marcus: Blogger, "Faith Goes Pop"

For those of you who turn to reality TV personalities for your theological questions, you finally have the answers you've been waiting for.

Abiding with the Living and the Dying

Abiding with the Living and the Dying

Ellen Painter Dollar: Progressive Christian blogger

Wesolowska's memoir addresses the pain of living and dying and the ethics of euthanasia.

Commentary From Our Blogging Community

Does the “Fetal Cell” Problem Justify Religious Exemption for Vaccinations?

Does the “Fetal Cell” Problem Justify Religious Exemption for Vaccinations?

Ellen Painter Dollar

Rachel Stone posted yet another excellent article about the importance of childhood vaccination for public health over at her new Religion News Service (RNS) blog. Rachel has consistently spoken up in favor of most children being vaccinated against childhood diseases, including in a (surprise!) controversial post several years ago for Christianity Today in which she invoked [Read More...]

The Tragic Tale of State-Sponsored Eugenics in America UPDATED

The Tragic Tale of State-Sponsored Eugenics in America UPDATED

Frank Weathers

There I was, making the commute home from work after a long day. The skies were overcast, yet the forecasted rain had yet to start falling. I fired up the radio, and cycled through the channels listening to a snippet of a song here, and a song there. Traffic up ahead started slowing down, making [...]

Why Do Parents Choose to Screen for Disabilities?

Why Do Parents Choose to Screen for Disabilities?

Ellen Painter Dollar

Imagine you are standing at an intersection with your child, waiting for a walk light so you can safely cross the street. The traffic light turns red, the “walk” sign lights up, you grab your child’s hand, and just as you are about to step off the curb, a mysterious voice from above says, “Stop! [Read More...]

Towards a Truly Compassionate Eugenics

Towards a Truly Compassionate Eugenics

Marc

Eugenics is back, tied to unthought ideals of freedom and compassion that lend it an exciting sucrose flavor — and keep us from ever calling it eugenics. Back in the good old 100 years ago, if you happened to be one of those humans deemed “unfit” by society, your sterilization was simply required. Over 30 [Read More...]

Separate Sex from Procreation….& End Up in Dystopia?

Separate Sex from Procreation….& End Up in Dystopia?

Ellen Painter Dollar

We progressive Christians like to roll our eyes at the Roman Catholics for their official stance on reproductive issues, such as contraception and reproductive technology. Many of us assume that they are just old-fashioned, or out of it, or have a serious case of wishful thinking, or just don’t know what they’re talking about, seeing [Read More...]

Adult Stem Cells Offer Ethical Hope for Lupus Sufferers

Adult Stem Cells Offer Ethical Hope for Lupus Sufferers

Rebecca Hamilton

Dr David Prentice, Senior Research Fellow at the Family Research Council, wrote an article for LifeNews.com, that should give great hope to anyone suffering from Lupus. Unlike embryonic stem cell research, which has yet to produce effective treatments, adult stem cell research has given us a number of them. Jackie Stollfus, who suffered from Lupus, [Read More...]

Does Prenatal Testing Equal Eugenics?

Does Prenatal Testing Equal Eugenics?

Ellen Painter Dollar

My colleague and friend Amy Julia Becker had an interesting conversation on her blog earlier this week, in which she and her readers discussed “whether or not those of us with children with Down syndrome should allow abortion into the conversation surrounding prenatal diagnosis.” Most of the people Amy Julia cited in her post, as [...]

Why Allowing Parents to Choose Their Baby’s Gender is Wrong

Why Allowing Parents to Choose Their Baby’s Gender is Wrong

Ellen Painter Dollar

When I write and speak about the ethical questions raised by reproductive technologies, I do not argue that reproductive technologies are all good or all bad, or that using these technologies is clearly right or clearly wrong. My agenda, rather, is to encourage more robust and informed conversations around these technologies, because the science has [...]

CLOSE | X

HIDE | X