Tanner Whetzel (MA) is a 2023 intern with CBHD. His interest in bioethics emerged from apologetics as he interacted with big questions and ideas. After completing a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies with emphases in biology, chemistry and psychology, Tanner become intent on studying ethical issues through a Christian lens. Drawn to the distinctively Christian approach of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School’s bioethics program, he will complete his MA in July. He plans on applying to doctoral programs in ethics and practical theology or applied ethics in the near future. He and his wife currently teach English as a foreign language in Brazil. Get to know Tanner better through this brief Q & A!
I am interested in the intersection between virtue theory and Christianity, global bioethics, and what it means to be human. For me, each of these topics is very fascinating and complex, involving dialogue that often overlooks a much-needed Christian voice. The congruity between virtue theory and Christianity has led me to value the perspectives of Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle, but my interest in global bioethics was born out of living in community with people from different parts of the world who had vastly different perspectives and experiences than my own. It challenged me to seek to understand others and their experiences and perspectives that I do not hold. Additionally, this highlighted for me the value of our common humanity as human beings and, in the case of Christians, our common faith and God. Whether making life, faking life, or taking life, and having implications for both bioethics 1.0 and 2.0 issues, there seems to be a present and emerging issue about understanding what exactly it means to be human. For me, a lot of bioethics can be summed up as understanding and valuing what it means to be human. In many bioethics conversations, the Christian voice is becoming less prominent. At the same time, a uniquely Christian bioethical perspective is increasingly becoming much more needed in the fields of anthropology, ethical theory, and the global bioethics community. Because of my personal affinity for these areas, I am committed to advocating for life and am passionate about doing so.
My wife and I are teachers and I hope to continue teaching in various contexts. I have taught science classes and English as both a foreign and second language, but my dream is to one day teach ethics either at the university level or to working professionals. Additionally, I hope to pursue a doctoral program in the near future either in applied ethics or practical theology.
My internship will focus on bringing uniquely Christian bioethics into conversation with secular cultural narratives that touch on pressing issues. I will consider the underlying themes at play in stories, cultural issues, and bioethical works and critically engage with them. With charitable engagement, critical analysis, and a Judeo-Christian commitment in mind, I hope to specifically address the topics of transgenderism and global bioethics. Additionally, I hope to contribute to CBHD’s Bioengagement with influential stories and narratives that are bioethically relevant.
I believe wholeheartedly in the mission of CBHD and truly value the uniquely Christian perspective that CBHD offers. In a world complicated by emerging and complex issues, CBHD is a bastion for a Christian perspective in bioethics. I hoped to contribute to the efforts of CBHD, even if in a small way and that is why I became interested in interning. I mostly look forward to engaging with CBHD scholars and professors, drawing from their experience and expertise. I believe this will be an incredibly fruitful scholastic opportunity and I know that the experience and knowledge gained as a student in the Bioethics program at Trinity International and as an intern with CBHD will equip me with the tools to engage critically with bioethical issues from a Christian perspective. This influences my perspective as an intern, as an educator, and hopefully one day as a Christian bioethicist.