Russell Moore Christian Blog and Commentary

Recommended Reading on Bioethics

  • Russell Moore

    Russell Mooreis president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. The ERLC is the moral and public policy entity of the nation’s largest Protestant…

  • 2009 Apr 28

This past week one of my students in Christian ethics class at Southern Seminary asked for a list of recommended books on bioethics (that is, issues related to such things as in vitro fertilization, cloning, embryonic stem cell research, nanotechnology). The students had read Bill McKibben’s Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age and this young minister wanted some other reading on such matters. So here’s some of my favorite books on the topic, in no particular order (and without, of course, a blanket endorsement of everything articulated in any of them).

Wendell Berry, Life Is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition

Wendell Berry, What Are People For?: Essays

Gilbert C. Meilaender, Body, Soul, and Bioethics

Gilbert C. Meilaender, Bioethics: A Primer for Christians

Oliver O’Donovan, Begotten or Made?: Human Procreation and Medical Technique

Leon Kass, Human Cloning and Human Dignity: The Report of the President’s Council on Bioethics

Leon R. Kass, Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity: The Challenge for Bioethics

John F. Kilner and C. Ben Mitchell, Does God Need Our Help? Cloning, Assisted Suicide, and Other Challenges in Bioethics

Robert P. George, Embryo: A Defense of Human Life

Patrick Lee and Robert P. George, Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics

There are many others, but that’s just a sampling. I agree with Leon Kass that one of the most important ways to understand the human dignity issues raised by bioethical questions is by reading some good fiction and poetry. Literature probes at the core of what it means to be human far more extensively than ethics or philosophy ever can.