We've moved!

Check out our new site at
and be sure to update your bookmarks.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Science, Faith, and Human Life Extension

FROM CAROLE BELGRADE, ASSISTANT CONVENER, WORKING GROUP ON FAITH AND GENETICS: If you haven't seen it yet, the Working Group on Faith and Genetics, sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, has published a study called "Extending Human Life: Scientific, Ethical and Social Considerations; Challenges for the Church." The study reviewed the current literature and scientific understanding of some of the aspects of the aging process and also looked at potential social and ethical considerations related to aging. Though the study was released last year, we are eager to share our findings with your readers and hope to newly encourage our 21st-century society to concern itself with the growing population of aging individuals, their overall well-being, and their continued role as productive citizens.

John Lewis, convener of the group, has a great summary of the study in his introduction to the report:

"Don Plocke surveys the state of scientific understanding of the aging process and the
prospects for breakthroughs that would allow for extending life. Christy Green identifies
a multitude of social, political, and economic issues raised by these possibilities. Norm
Faramelli examines the ethical and moral dilemmas posed, viewing these from the
perspectives of social justice, compassion for individuals, and the role of the aging in our
society. Doug Bond considers the theological perspective, finding a tension between two
God-given propensities in people: the will to live, and the desire to contribute to the
common good. Carole Belgrade reflects on these issues from a personal viewpoint.
Finally, I present the conclusions the group came to and suggest ways that churches can
help us confront the challenges ahead."