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PLAYING GOD AND THE ETHICS OF DIVINE NAMES: AN ISLAMIC PARADIGM FOR BIOMEDICAL ETHICS

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT

The notion of ‘playing God’ frequently comes to fore in discussions of bioethics, especially in religious contexts. The phrase has always been analyzed and discussed from Christian and secular standpoints. Two interpretations exist in the literature. The first one takes ‘God’ seriously and playing ‘playfully’. It argues that this concept does state a principle but invokes a perspective on the world. The second takes both terms playfully. In the Islamic Intellectual tradition, the Sufi concept of ‘adopting divine character traits’ provides a legitimate paradigm for ‘playing God’. This paradigm is interesting because here we take both terms ‘God’ and ‘playing’ seriously. It is significant for the development of biomedical ethics in contemporary Islamic societies as it can open new vistas for viewing biotechnological developments.

Keywords: Al-Ghazali; Ibn ‘Arabi; Islam; biotechnology; divine names; playing God

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8519.2007.00578.x

Publication date: 2007-10-01

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