For my university class, my group decided to write about the ethical issues of cloning. From a religious standpoint, how does the Eastern Orthodox Church feel about cloning?
The most recent statement on the subject of cloning was made by His Beatitude, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, who just within the past several days spoke strongly against it at a gathering of medical professionals in Athens. While there is, of course, no age-old tradition on the subject—surely the early Fathers could not have imagined such a thing—the consensus seems to be negative on cloning, although I may add that the Church is not in general opposed to scientific inquiry. There are countless ethical problems involved in cloning, not the least of which involves the situation of the soul of a cloned individual. On the one hand, there are those who might argue that if God did not want humans to do certain things, He would not have given them the intelligence or ability to do them. I have heard this put forth as an argument in favor of cloning. On the other hand, one can argue—and I posit that this would be in line with the Church’s teachings—that, just because we have the ability and the knowledge to do something, it does not mean that we should do it! A serious issue in the area of cloning, as Archbishop Christodoulos points out, is the matter of “playing God.” There are other objections to cloning on moral grounds, such as the possibility of creating a super-race, the “harvesting” of humans for the purpose of “parts” for transplants, etc. Such things would be seen as abominations inasmuch as they open whole new definitions of “life” as something other than a gift from God for the purpose of sharing His love and life.
There have been a few statements issued by various Orthodox churches on cloning, all of which take a dim view on the matter.