Cloning: Defying God?s will
Cloning, as a technique, is subject to many religious objections. Human cloning especially raised an alarm because creating a human being has always been a work of God. All over the world there are various religious sects, each having their own opinion on cloning. Christians, however, were the first religious community to object to human cloning.Updated: Jan 10, 2003 18:04 IST
Christians were the first religious community to object to human cloning. Representing the Roman Catholic Church Pope John Paul II said that human cloning technique is “intrinsically evil in design”. The Church is opposed to cloning because it will treat children as objects of manipulation. There is also the fear that clones might be sacrificed for the benefit of those who create it or perhaps to provide organs for transplant.
"Variety is the spice of life and cloning will create copies. It will disturb the concept of variety in nature," said Dr Dominic Emmanuel, Director of Communications at Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI).
He said, "Christianity teaches the role of suffering. If a couple is unable to reproduce, they should adopt a child. Going against the law of nature and creating another copy of oneself will be a step against God’s will. They should pray and not clone."
Executive Secretary of CBCI Dr Alex feels that cloning exploits woman as a research tool. He said: "Cloning uses the woman to give birth to a child that is not her own. Hence, she is used as a laboratory for the purpose. This is highly condemnable."
Another rallying point for Christian opposition is that it might kill the spiritual aspect of human beings and treat clones as objects that can be bought and sold.
The Protestant view of cloning is not much different and they are equally opposed to cloning. According to the Bible children should be conceived within a marital union between opposite sexes. Cloning violates God’s intentions by allowing man to reproduce without sexual partner. It also allows human beings to choose the genes of their children instead of leaving it up to God. In this sense Protestants believe that humans are playing God.
However, there are religions that are not so much opposed to human cloning. Vedic scholar and an Arya Samaj leader Swami Agnivesh said: "Hinduism does not oppose human cloning. According to Vedas no scientific research should be left untouched, and thus we welcome all forms of scientific research.”
He said, "By cloning we aren’t playing God. God has given us special abilities. Unlike animals, human beings are capable of invention and discovery. Nothing happens without His supreme will and it is by His grace that today human beings have reached a stage where we can experiment human cloning. It is God’s will and we welcome it."
However, Islamic Studies Professor Akhtarul Wasey said: "This is the most cruel interpretation of God’s will… along with knowledge God has also given us power to differentiate between good and bad. Cloning is certainly not a good attempt to make, it takes humankind to its destruction."
Islam has a dual opinion on the issue. While some Muslims feel that there should be no limits on scientific research, some others feel cloning should be banned as it could affect kinship, which is a key concept in Islamic law.
Taking a neutral stand on the issue President of Delhi Islamic centre, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan said: "Whatever is opposed by the world, Islam opposes that. We are not different and cloning should be banned if that is what the world think is right."
First Published: Dec 31, 2002 13:43 IST