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What Might Theologians Think About Nano Ethics?

When we turn to motives, nanotech investors are obviously motivated by visions of a big financial return. Those who will line up to purchase nanobiotech services such as brain augmentation may be motivated to increase their competitive edge. Most of the ethical questions above are directed toward protecting the wider society and environment from risks posed by investors and self-enhancers.

This does not cut much mustard with theologians, however. This is because theologians begin their ethical deliberations with a transcendent ground for value, God. What is good for us is the vision of well being God has in store for us. To manifest that vision of well being, Jesus gave us a double commandment: love God and love your neighbor. In bioethics, this translates into the principle of beneficence - that is, if you see an opportunity to do good, take it.

What is not clear to date from future scenarios regarding nanotechnology is whether its advances will offer anything relevant to our commitment to love God and love our neighbor. One manifestation of such love, of course, is striving for justice in society. Perhaps Christians and other religious persons committed to the love ideal will put their energies into ensuring fair distribution of nanotech benefits. Perhaps the U.S. government and other governments might find the pursuit of distributive justice worthy of investing effort as well.

Email link | Printer-friendly | Feedback | Contributed by: Ted Peters

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