Queries on Faith and Genetics

Submitted by Anne Mitchell

Queries on faith and genetics were approved by Canada Yearly Meeting in August 2012. You can find out more by visiting www.councilofchurches.org.

The following queries are intended to be attached to the Curriculum on Faith and Genetics currently being finalized by the Biotechnology Reference Group of the Canadian Council of Churches. The faith groups involved in this project have each been invited to contribute an appendix expressing their particular perspective on the issue.

Quakers believe that "there is that of God in everyone." And many also believe that this includes the natural world. In the 21st century, as we contemplate the rapid development of biotechnologies and genetics, how should Quakers respond?

During the 1700s Quakers adopted a set of queries as a form of guidance intended to help them direct their thoughts when seeking their way in the world. These queries have been augmented and reworded as time passed and have proved their worth through to the present day. Using the same approach, the following Queries on Faith and Genetics are offered for worship, prayer, discernment, and discussion.

Queries of a General Nature:

1. How does God’s presence in each one of us act as teacher and lead us to act in ways that lead to the betterment of people?

2. The potential to do good in the world and leave it better is present in all of us. As we live out that potential, how can we take into account self interest?

3. What must people of faith do to protect and to maintain hope for the potential good that can come from genetics and technological development?

Queries bearing on Genetics and Technology:

4. What criteria should we use to judge the positive and negative aspects of genetically related technological change?

5. As your congregation (Meeting) studies and prayerfully considers technological change, how do you include its impact on reproduction, on men’s and women’s bodies, their role in families and society, and on those with special needs?

6. How can we evaluate the positive and negative effects of reproductive technologies on the lives of individuals, on families and on society?

7. What are the advantages and disadvantages of particular technologies for individuals, families, local and global human society, and for all other life?