Directions for Ethical Dilemma Essay

Directions for Ethical Dilemma Essay

Below is an abbreviated (800 words and one citation) essay to use as an example of the flow of thought for your essay. For the actual assignment, you will need to expand more and cite additional resources as instructed. This example is based on the following case study:

At the real estate office where JR works, a woman from out of town calls and asks him to list her deceased father’s home. She tells him she is concerned only in selling it quickly and will be happy to get $70,000 for it. JR does a quick assessment of the house and determines that it is worth at least $100,000. He also realizes that it would be a perfect place for his son who just started looking for a small house he could afford.

Do not copy the case study you choose onto your essay page. Use the “Ethical Dilemma Essay Template” provided. For great sources like the one used here, be sure to use the directions on “Navigating the GCU Library for CWV Benchmark Research” linked in the syllabus. Include the permalink for each source.

The following is an example of an Ethical Dilemma Essay.

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Benchmark – Ethical Dilemmas

People face ethical dilemmas all through their lives, some minor with few consequences, and others major with large, sometimes unexpected negative consequences. How they navigate their way through these dilemmas is influenced by their worldview and has an impact on shaping their worldview. A real estate ethical dilemma will be examined from the perspective of the Christian worldview and compared to how an atheist might approach it.

Ethical Dilemma

This case involves a man, JR, responding to a woman who has contacted him as her real estate agent to sell her father’s house. She is anxious to sell it for $70,000. After JR looks at the house he realizes that it would be just right for his son who needs a small house, but he determines that it is actually worth at least $100,000.

The dilemma is that he could easily save his son $30,000 and get him this nice house, but to do so would be to take advantage of the woman who owns it. To resolve the dilemma he could do one of the following: (a) either have his son purchase the house for the asking price of $70,000, allowing the woman to assume that this is the value, or (b) inform the woman that the house is really worth $100,000 and mention that his son is willing to purchase for the full asking price.

Core Beliefs

One of the Christian worldview’s core beliefs is the eighth commandment that says, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15 NIV). Since the house is worth $30,000 more than the woman thinks it is worth, if JR sells it for her at the lower price he may in essence be stealing from her.

Another core belief is the ninth commandment that forbids lying (Exod. 20:16). In order to sell the house to the woman at the lower value, he would have to convince her, or at least deceive her into thinking that what she wants from the house ($70,000) is a reasonable value.

In addition, Christians are to follow the Golden Rule of Jesus from Matthew 7:12, which says, “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” In this case, JR might ask himself if he were the homeowner, what would he want the real estate agent to do?


Based on the Scripture passages referred to above, it seems the Christian thing to do would be for JR to explain to the woman that her house is worth more than $70,000, and inform her of the fair market value of the house. He could then offer to her that if she is willing to sell it at the lower price right away, his son may be interested in purchasing it. This way it still allows room for God to bless the transaction in JR’s favor but also opens the door for God to bless the seller with additional funds.


As a result of JR’s honesty the woman might choose to list the house for $100,000, which, being too high a price for his son to afford, would mean that he would not get the house.

The benefit would be that JR could rest assured that his client is getting a fair deal and is satisfied with his honest work ethic. He could also sleep well, knowing that he did the right thing, as Jesus would do.


If JR was an atheist, the dilemma might be resolved very differently. Atheism, since it is not founded on a standard of absolute moral truth, would allow JR to decide for himself if this situation constituted theft and deception. JR could feel justified thinking, if the woman gets what she wants (selling the house quickly for $70,000), and he gets what he wants (a great house for his son), then it is a win-win proposition.

In this ethical dilemma, one’s worldview could make a major difference. The Christian worldview should compel JR to trust God and follow the teachings of the Bible, while atheism may allow him to justify his own self-interests to insure getting a good deal for his son. Such justification might sound like this: “And indeed, experience tells us that locally capitalized neighborhood markets do sustain their own rational order founded as they are upon an interlocking system of self-interested exchange” (Whybrow, 2010, para. 13).

There could be an unintended consequence, however, if the woman should discover the true value of the house and realize that she was deceived into selling at a low price. She might react by taking the realtor to court.


This real estate dilemma, with the temptation to be opportunistic and take advantage of someone else for gain, causes JR to wrestle with staying true to his core beliefs. For Christians this may be a kind of test of faith to trust God as they consider if they are choosing to live their beliefs or allow their selfishness to gain the upper hand. It is the kind of challenge that people face often throughout their lives, and the choices they make continue to shape their true worldview.

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Whybrow, P. C. (2010). The addictive striving for wealth has negative social repercussions. In R. D. Lankford, Jr. (Ed.), At issueAre America’s wealthy too powerful? Detroit, MI: Greenhaven Press. (Reprinted from Dangerously addictive, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2009, March 13) Retrieved from

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