Benchmark: Gospel Essentials
There are many issues in the world that people have different opinions of. Some people might even have a separate opinion for certain circumstances of the same issue. The certainty or uncertainty of an issue can depend on a person’s view of truth. Whether there is an absolute truth for all circumstances, or a relative truth, where what is true in one situation might not be true in another. The Christian worldview holds truth to be absolute, and being consistent with the mind, will, character, glory, and being of God. This paper will address the ethical dilemma of using performance enhancing drugs, from the perspective of the Christian worldview.
The ethical dilemma at hand regards a young athlete named Paul. Paul is a hard-working, successful athlete, who has recently started to fall behind since his teammates have been using a new performance enhancing drug that is not banned, and they claim is untraceable. The coach is aware of the drug being used and has chosen to let it slide because it is technically not a banned substance and the team has been winning. Paul’s coach has just told him he may be losing his starting position, and Paul’s friend has offered him a sample of the drug to catch up with the rest of the team. Paul is now faced with the decision to take the drug and keep his starting spot or to refuse the drug and risk losing his starting spot
In this scenario, the using of the performance enhancing drugs can be described as cheating. Although the Ten Commandments do not specifically say “thou shall not cheat”, the ninth commandment “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor”, deals with being dishonest. The Christian worldview perspective would consider the use of performance enhancing drugs being dishonest. The user of the drugs is gaining an advantage in this case that is unknown to the opposing team and the rest of the league. The use of this drug quite simply is not fair, it gives Paul’s team an unfair advantage over the opposing teams, and it gives Paul’s teammates an unfair advantage over him, which has led to his current situation. Isiah 56:1 starts out by the Lord saying, “Be just and fair to all, do what is right and good…”. The Christian worldview would say that God tells us to be fair to our fellow human beings, He does not give circumstances, or options, He just tells us to be fair, concluding that He must mean in all aspects of life. Looking at the situation through the lens of the Christian worldview, Paul’s situation of possibly losing his starting position does not give him any excuses to take the drug. Taking the drug is unfair and dishonest, no matter the circumstance, and the Bible is clear about being fair and honest. If Paul knows the Bible clearly tells him hold values that are clearly opposed to the concept of him taking the drug, he should be swayed to not accept the drug even though all his teammates are using it and he might lose his starting position.
According to the Christian worldview, Paul should not take the performance enhancing drug. Taking the drug would be unfair and dishonest, regardless of the circumstances. In fact, Paul’s teammates are being unfair to him by taking the drug, because if they were not taking the drug Paul’s starting position would probably not be in jeopardy, and he would not be in his current situation to begin with. Paul should realize that him taking the drug would be doing the same thing, and being unfair to his opponents, whether they know about the drug or not. The best option for Paul would be to reject the drug, and instead work harder by practicing more to keep his starting position on the team. The drugs can only help Paul get stronger quicker and easier, which may give him an advantage short term. It is unclear what sport Paul is playing, but in almost every sport, technique and skill will surpass strength. Strength can only get an athlete so far, it is the athlete with many hours and hard work put into his sport that has skills and techniques mastered that make him a great athlete. The Bible has a lot to say about the benefits of hard work, for example Proverbs 12:24 says “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor”, in Paul’s case taking the drug would be lazy, a short-term advantage, but if he works harder, and practices more in the long run it can pay off more than the drug ever could. If Paul held the Christian worldview in this situation, that would have a great influence on what would be called his “doping attitude”, according to studies an athletes attitude towards using performance enhancing drugs is one of the most important factors in determining intention or behavior related to performance enhancing drugs (Brand, Heck, Ziegler, 2014). Paul would have a very negative attitude towards using the drug if he were to look at the situation with a Christian worldview, and should choose not to take the drug.
If Paul was to follow the resolution according to the Christian worldview and not take the drug, but rather practice more and work harder to keep his starting position there are many different scenarios that could play out. The main two scenarios might be, the hard work from Paul could pay off and result in him keeping his starting position. This could even persuade some of his teammates to stop using the drug and put in more work like Paul. Second, Paul could put in a lot of hard work and practice and still lose his starting position. However, this could also be only short term, maybe next season the drug becomes recognized and banned in the league, now Paul’s teammates are suffering consequences because they used the drug, and Paul may now find himself with a starting position again because he did things the right way.
In Paul’s situation, there are only two options, take the performance enhancing drug, or don’t. In arguing for the drug, one might point out the fact that the drug is already being taken by everyone else on Paul’s team. Typically, athletes will make decisions to use performance enhancing drugs based on the perceived level of risk associated with using the drug. Likewise, if the use of performance enhancing drugs is common practice in a sport, it will create the belief among athletes that it is morally acceptable, because everyone is doing it (Boardley, Grix, Dewar, 2014). In Paul’s situation, everyone on his team is already using the drug, and the drug is not yet recognized in drug tests so there is virtually no risk of getting caught. If Paul was to take this stance on whether or not to use the drug, it is very likely he would choose to use the drug. In this case Paul would be holding truth to be relative, because rather than just viewing the use of performance enhancing drugs to be wrong, he would be using his circumstance to decide whether using the drug would be right or wrong (Jibben, 2014).
Paul is faced with a tough decision, he can give in and take the performance enhancing drug, that all his teammates are taking so he can catch up, or he can reject the drug and risk losing his starting position on the team. The Christian worldview would tell Paul not to take the drug, because it is dishonest, and unfair. This would require Paul to hold truth to be absolute, and that no matter his circumstances taking a performance enhancing drug is wrong. However, Paul may hold truth to be relative, and make a decision on if using the drug is right or wrong after considering his personal circumstances. If Paul decides to take the drug, he will probably not lose his starting position, but he has made a moral compromise that could end up having consequences later on. If Paul rejects the drug he might lose his starting position, but will have stuck to his morals, and should his teammates be caught for using the drug Paul will not face the consequences that they will.