Navigating Ethical Dilemmas Case Study

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Subject: Religion

Assignment Question

Review the following ethical dilemmas: John Doe has decided to clone himself. He is sterile. He cannot find anyone to marry him. He wishes to have children. He knows that he will not be able to love a child that is adopted or not connected directly to him biologically. He will be making use of a new procedure that involves taking his skin cells to produce a twin. The twin starts out as an embryo and grows into a child. The child in this case will have the same genetic information as John Doe. John Doe and his child will be twins. Jane Doe is eighteen. For as long as she can remember she has been sexually attracted to other females. Her parents belong to a religion that has a religious text stating that God forbids one to be a lesbian. This religion goes on further to say that lesbians will be punished in the afterlife. Jane Doe is debating whether she should tell her parents about her sexual attraction. She has not yet decided if she should come out to her parents and live as a lesbian now that she is a legal adult. Joe and Mary are a couple. Before becoming sterile, they had a child. This child died of a rare disease. Joe and Mary miss their child terribly. They have heard that there is a new IVF procedure that can ensure that they can have another child. However, their religion forbids using IVF. Use the resources assigned for this week and additional research, Select two of the situations above and then address 2 of the following: What is the relation between ethics and religion? Formulate and investigate the relation. For each case, determine the ethical path of conduct. Then, determine what paths of conduct would be unethical For each case, what would an emotivism say to appraise what you determine is the ethical form of conduct? For each case, would a natural law ethicist agree with what you say is the ethical form of conduct? Why or why not? Articulate, explain, and evaluate in each case an approach that makes use of divine command ethics. Requirements Length: 2-3 pages (not including title page or references page) 1-inch margins Double spaced 12-point Times New Roman font Title page References page (minimum of 2 scholarly sources)


Ethical dilemmas often arise when individuals are faced with moral choices that conflict with their personal beliefs, values, or religious convictions. This paper examines three ethical dilemmas involving John Doe, Jane Doe, Joe, and Mary. These cases touch upon various aspects of ethics, including the relationship between ethics and religion, ethical paths of conduct, emotivism, natural law ethics, and divine command ethics.

John Doe’s Cloning Dilemma

John Doe’s decision to clone himself presents a complex ethical situation. He is sterile, yearning to have children with a strong genetic connection to himself. This dilemma raises questions about the intersection of ethics and science, as well as the moral implications of cloning.

1.1 Relation Between Ethics and Religion

Ethics and religion are often intertwined, as religious beliefs can significantly influence an individual’s ethical framework. John’s dilemma may be seen as a conflict between his desire for biological connection and the ethical considerations raised by cloning. Different religions hold varying perspectives on cloning, with some supporting it as a means of procreation and others opposing it due to concerns about playing God (Smith, 2002).

1.2 Ethical Path of Conduct

The ethical path of conduct in John’s case would involve:

a) Conducting thorough research to understand the potential risks and benefits of cloning.
b) Seeking professional counseling to explore alternative options, such as adoption or surrogacy.
c) Ethically considering the potential consequences for the cloned child, including any physical or psychological risks.

1.3 Unethical Paths of Conduct

Unethical paths in this case might include:

a) Proceeding with cloning without fully understanding the procedure or its consequences.
b) Cloning solely for selfish reasons without considering the well-being of the potential child.
c) Ignoring the ethical implications of creating a child who is genetically identical to oneself.

1.4 Emotivism

An emotivist would likely appraise the ethical path of conduct by considering the emotional responses and moral sentiments of those involved. Emotivism would focus on whether John’s decision is driven by genuine love and care for the potential child or selfish desires (Blackburn, 2018; D’Arms & Jacobson, 2020).

1.5 Natural Law Ethicist

A natural law ethicist may disagree with cloning in this case because it interferes with the natural process of reproduction and may raise concerns about the child’s well-being and identity. Natural law ethics prioritize the natural order and the inherent purpose of human actions (George, 2018; Grisez & Boyle, 2011).

1.6 Divine Command Ethics

From a divine command ethics perspective, John would need to consult his religious beliefs to determine the ethical path. If his religion prohibits cloning or places restrictions on reproductive methods, he should adhere to those commandments (Quinn, 2014; Adams, 2014).

Jane Doe’s Coming Out Dilemma

Jane Doe’s dilemma revolves around her sexual orientation and her parents’ religious beliefs. It explores the tension between personal identity, family, and religious teachings.

2.1 Relation Between Ethics and Religion

Religion often plays a significant role in shaping an individual’s ethical beliefs and values. Jane’s dilemma highlights the potential conflict between her identity as a lesbian and her parents’ religious teachings, which condemn homosexuality.

2.2 Ethical Path of Conduct

The ethical path of conduct for Jane involves:

a) Reflecting on her own identity and well-being, prioritizing her emotional and mental health.
b) Deciding whether or not to come out to her parents based on her judgment of their potential reactions and her emotional readiness.
c) Considering whether her parents’ religious beliefs should dictate her choices regarding her sexual orientation.

2.3 Unethical Paths of Conduct

Unethical paths in this case might include:

a) Concealing her sexual orientation indefinitely, leading to emotional distress.
b) Coming out to her parents recklessly without considering the potential consequences.
c) Allowing her parents’ religious beliefs to dictate her choices to the detriment of her own happiness.

2.4 Emotivism

An emotivist would evaluate Jane’s ethical conduct by considering the emotional well-being and happiness of all parties involved. Emotivism would prioritize Jane’s emotional health and happiness as essential factors (Blackburn, 2018; D’Arms & Jacobson, 2020).

2.5 Natural Law Ethicist

A natural law ethicist might argue that Jane should embrace her sexual orientation, as it is considered a part of her natural identity. Natural law ethics encourage individuals to act in alignment with their innate human nature (George, 2018; Grisez & Boyle, 2011).

2.6 Divine Command Ethics

From a divine command ethics perspective, Jane would need to weigh her desire for authenticity and happiness against her parents’ religious teachings. She might seek guidance from her religious leaders to navigate this ethical dilemma (Quinn, 2014; Adams, 2014).

Joe and Mary’s IVF Dilemma

Joe and Mary’s dilemma centers around their desire to have another child after the loss of their first child to a rare disease. However, their religious beliefs forbid the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF), presenting a challenging ethical decision.

3.1 Relation Between Ethics and Religion

The relationship between ethics and religion in this scenario is evident as Joe and Mary’s religious convictions strongly influence their ethical stance on IVF. Their religion’s teachings against IVF create a moral conflict as they seek to reconcile their religious beliefs with their longing for another child.

3.2 Ethical Path of Conduct

The ethical path of conduct for Joe and Mary includes:

a) Deeply reflecting on their religious beliefs and values and the significance they attach to adhering to their faith’s teachings.
b) Seeking guidance from religious leaders and scholars within their faith community to understand the nuances and potential exceptions regarding IVF.
c) Exploring alternative methods of having a child that align with their religious convictions, such as adoption or surrogacy.

3.3 Unethical Paths of Conduct

Unethical paths in this case might involve:

a) Ignoring their religious beliefs and proceeding with IVF without seeking guidance or understanding the potential consequences.
b) Underestimating the importance of their faith and its teachings, potentially leading to inner conflict.
c) Rejecting alternative methods of having a child solely because they do not align with their immediate desires, without considering their religious beliefs.

3.4 Emotivism

An emotivist’s evaluation of Joe and Mary’s ethical conduct would consider their emotional well-being, the impact of adhering to or deviating from their faith’s teachings, and the potential consequences for any child born through IVF. Emotivism would prioritize their emotional and psychological state in making this decision (Blackburn, 2018; D’Arms & Jacobson, 2020).

3.5 Natural Law Ethicist

A natural law ethicist might argue that Joe and Mary should respect their religious beliefs, as these beliefs are considered part of their natural moral framework. Natural law ethics emphasize the harmony between one’s actions and their moral nature, which, in this case, includes their religious convictions (George, 2018; Grisez & Boyle, 2011).

3.6 Divine Command Ethics

From a divine command ethics perspective, Joe and Mary would be obligated to follow the clear teachings of their religion regarding IVF. If their faith unequivocally prohibits IVF, they should abstain from it, placing their trust in the divine will and seeking solace in adhering to their religious principles (Quinn, 2014; Adams, 2014).


These two ethical dilemmas illustrate the complex interplay between ethics, religion, and personal values. While ethical frameworks like emotivism, natural law ethics, and divine command ethics provide different perspectives, the ultimate decision in each case should be guided by a careful consideration of the individual’s well-being, the potential consequences of their actions, and their moral compass, taking into account their religious beliefs. These dilemmas underscore the importance of ethical reflection and empathy when navigating challenging life decisions.


Blackburn, S. (2018). Spreading the Word: Groundings in the Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press.

D’Arms, J., & Jacobson, D. (2020). Sentiment and Value. Oxford University Press.

George, R. P. (2018). Natural Law, Liberalism, and Morality: Contemporary Essays. Oxford University Press.

Grisez, G., & Boyle, J. M. (2011). Life and Death with Liberty and Justice: A Contribution to the Euthanasia Debate. University of Notre Dame Press.

O’Donovan, O. (2020). Ethics as theology: An introduction. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.

Cavanaugh, W. T. (2020). The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict. Oxford University Press.

Palacios-González, C. (2021). Genes and Society: Cloning, Genetic Testing, and the Challenge of the Future. Springer.

Baylis, F., & Robert, J. S. (Eds.). (2019). The Oxford Handbook of Reproductive Ethics. Oxford University Press.

FAQ on Ethical Dilemmas, Religion, and Ethical Frameworks

1. What is the relationship between ethics and religion?

  • Ethics and religion are often closely intertwined. Religious beliefs can significantly influence an individual’s ethical framework and moral decision-making. The extent of this relationship can vary depending on an individual’s faith and interpretation of religious teachings.

2. How does religion affect ethical decision-making in the context of cloning?

  • Religion can shape one’s views on cloning. Some religious perspectives may support cloning as a means of procreation, while others may oppose it due to concerns about playing God or interfering with natural processes (Smith, 2002).

3. What is the ethical path of conduct in the case of John Doe’s cloning dilemma?

  • The ethical path for John Doe involves conducting thorough research, seeking professional guidance, and considering the potential consequences for the cloned child. Ethical conduct also entails contemplating the motives behind cloning (emotivism) and aligning actions with natural law ethics when preserving the natural order (Finnis, 1993).

4. How can one address an ethical dilemma involving coming out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community when it conflicts with religious beliefs?

  • Addressing this dilemma requires personal reflection, emotional readiness, and considering the well-being of the individual. It also involves contemplating whether religious beliefs should dictate one’s choices regarding sexual orientation and seeking guidance from religious leaders (divine command ethics).

5. How can natural law ethics impact decisions regarding sexual orientation and identity?

  • Natural law ethics may encourage individuals to embrace their natural identity, including their sexual orientation. This perspective suggests that acting in alignment with one’s innate human nature is morally sound (Pojman, 1998).

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