Sacred Cells? Why Christians Should Support Stem Cell Research

By Ted Peters, Karen Lebacqz, and Gaymon Bennett
Rowman & Littlefield, 2008
ISBN-10: 0742562891 ISBN-13: 978-0742562899

"Sacred Cells? is a well crafted book about whether stem cell research is ethically, as well as socially and politically, acceptable by people of faith. The authors know the science and practices involved and report them in an engaging narrative. The authors bring clarity, precision, and depth to the subject, seeking to convince the reader by their multidimensional discussion, not by demeaning other beliefs or opinions. A wonderful book."—Francisco J. Ayala, University of California, Irvine

Unknown to most outside observers, from the earliest days of embryonic stem cell research through today's latest developments, Christian theologians have been actively involved with leading laboratory research scientists to determine the ethical implications of stem cell research. And contrary to popular expectation, these Christians have been courageously advocating in favor of research. Three of these dynamic theologians tell their story in Sacred Cells? Why Christians Should Support Stem Cell Research.

Sacred Cells? takes readers through the twists and turns of stem cell development, providing a brief history of the science and an overview of the competing ethical frameworks people use in approaching the heated debate. Each new scientific advance, from the cloning of Dolly the sheep to the use of engineered cells in humans, had to be carefully considered before proceeding. Rejecting the widely held belief that the ethics of stem cell research turn on the moral status of the embryo, the authors carefully weigh a diversity of ethical problems. Ultimately, they embrace stem cell research and the prospect of increased health and well being it offers.


Chapter 1: The Ethical Pre-History of Stem Cells
Chapter 2: From Science to Ethics in a Flash
Chapter 3: Working within the Research Standards Framework
Chapter 4: Three Contending Frameworks for Stem Cell Ethics
Chapter 5: The Embryo Protection Framework
Chapter 6: The Human Protection Framework
Chapter 7: The Future Wholeness Framework
Chapter 8: Ethical Smoke and Mirrors in Washington
Chapter 9: The Hidden Theology Behind the International Debates
Chapter 10: The Vatican's Strong Stand
Chapter 11: The Vatican and Embryology
Chapter 12: The Vatican Argument in a Cracked Nutshell
Chapter 13: Leon Kass, Protector of Human Nature
Chapter 14: Jewish and Muslim Bioethics
Chapter 15: The Terror of the Chimera
Chapter 16: Justice and the Patenting Controversy
Chapter 17: The Spiritual Soul and Human Dignity
Chapter 18: The Ethics of the Ethicists
Chapter 19: Theologians Say "Yes" to Regenerative Medicine

About the Authors