Christian Engineering Education Conference

Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23-25, 2004

Faith in Christ and His Attributes—A Basis for Ethical Behavior

Ronald E. Terry, Steve E. Benzley, Val D. Hawks
Brigham Young University

When a child plants a seed in his/her parents’ garden, the child believes and expects that the seed will yield a flower, a vegetable, or a fruit of some kind. The child’s belief was founded on some basic knowledge. For instance, the child may have seen parents plant and nourish a seed and then watched in amazement as the seed grew and yielded fruit. The same is true for any action in which we engage. Our actions are driven by our belief, based on some knowledge, that those actions will yield a desired result. A student takes a class with the expectation that a teacher will build upon previous knowledge and provide capacity for greater skill or competency. Faith can be seen as the motivating force behind all action.

What decisions will we face today that may present an ethical dilemma? By what decision-making process will we solve our problem so that its resolution will bring inner peace? There are eternally reliable guidelines to follow that will have that desired result. They are found in the life and character of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are fixed, and if we are attached to them and apply them in making decisions and in solving dilemmas, we will not have to agonize, case by case, in their resolution.
Ethical dilemmas are among the toughest problems with which we deal. Since they often require “heat of the moment” decisions, the philosophy that forms the foundation of our decisions must reflect deeply held convictions. When our convictions are founded on a knowledge and faith in Christ and His character, our actions are motivated by a desire to emulate Him and to do as He did. Our faith in Christ and commitment to strive to live a Christ-like life will aid us in resolving dilemmas.

To help resolve dilemmas, it is important to have faith based on the following:
• knowledge that Christ is real
• knowledge of Christ’s true character
• knowledge that by applying his characteristics, dilemmas can be solved correctly

The authors will use examples from the Bible and from modern day engineering and technology dilemmas that will show how faith in this knowledge base led individuals to make choices in difficult situations.

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