Frequently Asked Questions about The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity (CBHD)


Q: What is The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity?
A: The Center is a bioethics research center at Trinity International University and is one aspect of the University’s Bioethics [at Trinity] initiative.  Our mission, “exploring the nexus of biomedicine, biotechnology, and our common humanity,” designates our commitment to anticipate, interpret, and engage the pressing bioethical issues of our day. As a center of rigorous research, theological and  conceptual analysis, charitable critique, and thoughtful engagement, we seek to bring clarity to the complex issues of our day. 

Q: What is bioethics?
A: Bioethics is a branch of ethical inquiry that examines the nature of medical, scientific, and technological discoveries and their subsequent responsible use, with particular emphasis upon their moral implications for individuals and our common humanity. Ours is an exciting age of medical advances and innovations that in many ways enhance our lives. Yet, the pursuit of these capabilities is often engaged without substantive reflection upon their ethical dimensions or implications.

The term "bioethics" has evolved from a more specific emphasis upon medical ethics to include the wide range of issues such as allocation of healthcare resources, end-of-life treatment, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, reproductive technologies, genetic intervention, stem cell research, cloning, neuroscience, and other biotechnological advances and emerging technologies. While a branch of ethical inquiry, bioethics is interdisciplinary in nature integrating such wide ranging fields as the life sciences, medicine, biotechnology, philosophy, theology, public policy, and law among others.

Q: How do our convictions empower our research?
A: CBHD was founded on the presupposition of Judeo-Christian Hippocratism—the view that the professional virtues and ethical values contained in the Hippocratic Oath, informed by a Judeo-Christian worldview, forms the basis for the proper practice of medicine and, therefore, the appropriate framework for bioethics. Recognizing that Christian values have exercised a profound influence on Western culture, not least in Western medicine, the Center explores the contribution of these values to the morality of medicine, research, and the use of technology. We believe that being informed by this worldview gives us the ability to understand these issues in a broader context than just the research lab or short term gains and communicate them in ways that appeal to a variety of audiences. We are committed to excellence in gathering and analyzing results of research, and at the same time we are concerned to clarify our assumptions regarding our common humanity and the values entailed by certain technological and medical outcomes.

The Hippocratic Oath proscribes abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia, and a sexual relationship between a physician and his or her patient. The Oath maintains that medicine is a covenantal relationship between a physician and his or her patient and that it is a physician's responsibility to pursue the patient's good and by no means to harm the patient.

Judeo-Christian Hippocratism, by extension, also entails the special value and dignity of human life, which some refer to as the "sanctity of human life." That is, human dignity is vested in the species Homo sapiens in virtue of their having been created in the image of God. Thus every human being, regardless of age, ability, status, gender, ethnicity, etc., is to be treated with respect.

Q: Is CBHD part of Trinity International University?
A: CBHD is a Christian bioethics research center at Trinity International University (TIU) and is located on the main campus of the University in Deerfield, Illinois. We are privileged to partner with numerous aspects of TIU including the Trinity Graduate School MA and dual degree programs in bioethics.

Q: What resources are available through CBHD?
A: CBHD serves as a national and international leader in “scholarship with a purpose” producing a wide range of audio, video, and print resources examining bioethical issues. We work with world renowned scholars, clinicians, and researchers to bring together the very best information and scholarship available on the issues that impact a truly human future.

Through these efforts CBHD has been involved in the publication of over twenty books and booklets, and has produced for many years The Bioethics Podcast. We invite you to take advantage of an array of resources that we have compiled and continue to develop on this site.

Q: How long has CBHD been around?
A: CBHD has existed since 1993, when more than a dozen leading Christian bioethicists gathered to assess the noticeable lack of explicit Christian engagement in the crucial bioethics arena. This group sponsored a major conference in May 1994, “The Christian Stake in Bioethics,” and concurrently launched The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity. In 2007, CBHD formally became a center of Trinity International University.

Q: Can I get a degree in bioethics at CBHD?
A: CBHD offers a variety of academic credit and continuing education opportunities in conjunction with its annual summer conference.  However, all bioethics degree programs are offered through Trinity International University.  The University offers a Master of Arts in Bioethics in the Trinity Graduate School as well as several dual degree programs such as the Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts and the Master of Divinity/Master of Arts.  CBHD is pleased to partner with the various schools of the University to offer high quality bioethics educational opportunities. For more information on the degree program options please visit the Graduate School website.

Q: How is CBHD funded?
A: As a center at Trinity International University, a 501(c)3 educational institution, CBHD is supported by gifts and grants from corporations, foundations, and individuals like you. The Center is directly responsible for the majority of its funding through event revenue, memberships, and charitable gifts. We invite you to consider partnering with us to support our mission to provide responsible research and analysis of the cutting-edge issues of our day. To make a donation, click here