What should ethics in the marketplace look like? Well, we can’t answer this one very well without asking the “design” question first: “What should the marketplace look like?”
To a large extent, our understanding of “right” and “wrong” is aided immensely when we first get a handle on the true design. Without that, we could be guilty of polishing the fire truck before using it to pull a water skier. It might look great, but it doesn’t function very well.
However, questions about ethics or design require us to go back even further. The ultimate answer to any question or issue is best pursued by starting with the nature and character of the One who created it all.
So, let’s begin with the original Worker.
God worked and made an awesome sandbox filled with some amazing raw materials. He then created man, equipped him with gifts and talents, put him in the sandbox and gave him the privilege to be His creative steward. Man, therefore, has the incredible opportunity and responsibility to prosper God’s goods by using his gifting to fashion those raw materials into something greater.
This sounds quite grand, actually!
This is the workplace!
Ah, but enter now the villain and the picture gets a little twisted.
This, too, is a huge question that must be narrowed down to the issue of ethics. Let me reframe it this way: Is there something unique about the human being that demands ethical behavior--either from him or towards him?
To clarify this, let’s use an example.
If a bee possesses honey, is it ethically wrong to remove the honey from its hive? If a man possesses honey, is it ethically wrong to take it from his house? Do we consider it stealing if we milk a cow? What if we take it from the grocer?
If we kill a fish for supper is that any different from killing a man for his wallet? What about pulling a carrot up out of the ground or swatting a fly?
Should we weep eating beets?
“If we know what is right, can we do it?”This is the third topic in Chuck Colson’s DVD Series: Doing the Right Thing.
This question may seem tame, but it can actually lead us into some very deep theological discussions. Since we can’t do that here, I want to address only two of its issues, and try to do so with brevity.
For some, it will be way too deep and for others it will be pathetically light.
The question “can we do it” raises the issues of “ability” and “desire”: Do we have the ability to do what is right, and/or do we have the desire to do what is right.
The first is the trickiest, although it shouldn’t be. I know some people who state that man cannot do anything that is “good”. But if this were truly the case, then why try at all? Or why encourage others to do so? We could never encourage a child to do “good” or a mother or a father to do “good” or the king or our neighbor or even ourselves.
Sometimes we confuse the ability to “do” what is right with the ability to “save” ourselves.
This is a needless confusion.
Coby, I couldn’t fit my response to you in the comment area, so I have to make it a separate post. We are subject to the limitations of our means!
Also, the only way that I can do this is to highlight some of your statements and respond to them. I appreciate everything that you said, though, and the excellent attitude in how you express your differences of opinion. :) Sorry I can't deal with everything. I encourage those who are interested to read Coby’s full comments to the previous post.
Okay…here we go. except to try and make a point that somehow objective truth doesn’t exist and Jesus confirmed that by not giving any answers and only asking questions, never stating clear truth claims. Yes, Jesus used questions, and He used many of them. But to say that He never spoke objective didactic truth isn’t true. Jesus said that He was the way, the truth and the life and that no man could come to the Father except through Him. This isn't a question. It is a very important answer and a very clear truth claim. Jesus declared that apart from Him we can do nothing. He isn't asking if this is true, He is saying it is true. In the dialogue with Nicodemous, Jesus asked two questions and made fourteen didactic statements: “You must be born again” and “…whoever believes in [Me] should not perish” and “…men loved the darkness rather than the light…” Coby, Jesus spent most of His words on telling the Truth, not asking for it.
“As far as it [rationalism] is post-rational, that's wonderful news”… “the Evangelical movement, grew up in the era of rationalism” and “Atheists reduce everything to logic. That way they control the rules of the game, and they can cheat and win. God can only be known when we take Pascal's Wager, or read C.S. Lewis' fantasy stories, and open up our imagination. God can not be known very well through logic” and “We need faculties like imagination and trust to be re-legitimized. Which is what the PoMos [post modernists] have done for us. Praise God!”
All of this, Coby, makes me think that you are somehow elevating the irrational over the rational and that we are to reject logical and rational thought. (Although, you are attempting to use rational logic to make your case! :) )
Again, Jesus spoke didactically, with rational thought and logic. When He talked about the man who built his house upon the rock or the man who built his house upon the sand, He was laying out a very logical argument and calling upon rational minds to see that acting upon His words would be better than not. Elijah is laying out the same rational choice on Mt. Carmel; God is doing the same in the garden with Adam and Eve or in front of Ebal and Gerizim. Paul makes his fervent argument about the resurrection of Christ on rational logical grounds.
God is a God of order, not disorder. The universe, which Psalm 19 says declares the glory of God and Romans 1 says it reflects the character of God, is not an irrational universe. It is very logical and very orderly. Why? Because it reflects His very nature. When He speaks to us in His Word, He does so with great order, logic and rationale.
I know your position reflecs a popular notion that is floating around in Christian thought. I see it in my college students. It is reflected in what you are arguing, that somehow knowledge and logic are the ways of the world and God wants us to throw all of that out and follow Him in random abandon and what may appear as irrational behavior to the world. In reality, it is an excuse to get your own way, “follow the spirit”, “follow my heart”, etc. It isn’t really new, it is a form of Gnosticism and other “relativistic” cloaks.
Coby, I love you brother, and I have taken the time to respond to you because I am concerned with the direction of your thought and the thoughts of a post-modern, relativistic culture that is infecting the hearts and minds of believers. I know we don’t agree on all of this, but I ask you, as you asked me, to consider these things. Not in light of what I have said, but in light of the reality of the nature of God Himself, in whom there is no shifting shadow.
Blessings to you, my friend.