COMMENTARY: The Application of Religion to Business

Most Americans say they’re religious and their beliefs are important to their lives, yet I’m astonished at how many seem to ignore their religion’s moral expectations and prescriptions. Religion isn’t about only worship and ritual; it teaches believers how to live.

Thus, the holy books of every major religion are filled with precepts and principles about honesty, justice, fidelity, compassion, and charity that leave no doubt about the role ethics and personal virtue should play in our daily lives, at home and at work.

In his fine book The Business Bible: 10 New Commandments for Bringing Spirituality & Ethical Values into the Workplace, Rabbi Wayne Dosick tells of a soap-maker who challenged a rabbi: “What good is religion? It teaches honesty, but most people are dishonest.”

The rabbi answered, “My dear soap-maker, religion – like soap – only works when you use it.”

The ancient truths and enduring values embodied in traditional religions are more than guidelines or suggestions about how to behave. To those who profess religious belief, moral and ethical behavior isn’t an option. It’s a mandate.

To practice religious rituals and claim reverent identity without following the moral teachings of one’s faith is like going to a fine restaurant and eating the menu rather than the food. It’s also blatant hypocrisy.

Integrity is about wholeness, the unity of beliefs, words, and actions. I’m not saying you have to be devout to be ethical. I’m saying if religion is important to you, so is ethics.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Receive these commentaries by email each week by subscribing to our newsletter. You also can receive them each day (along with everything else that gets posted to by downloading our mobile app. Want audio? Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

Comments 3

  1. Michael,
    That was well said, you appear to be a good person who cares deeply about what you speak about; i’m curious how someone who came out of the world of law could end up doing his best to be honest and forthright in thought and deed. Sometime i would like to hear your thoughts on this, thanks and God bless.

  2. I appreciate your point Michael. I wish to add to it that which is more difficult to digest: that those who claim their religion and religiousness too often do so with an air of moral superiority, particularly over others who are not of faith. Many atheists and agnostics exemplify integration of true moral and ethical principles in the words and actions that make up their daily lives. I expect my point will be illustrated by the responses to this post.

  3. Michael
    In the news lately I have seen different stories of atheists angry because a restaurant was offering a discount for church goers who brought in their church bulletin, just yesterday I read a story about atheist offended about players praying for a player that was injured in a football game……my point is this, is it religion that’s offensive to atheist or is it about power. You see its okay to live any way you want but what’s not okay is to try and force those you disagree with by whatever means necessary including the law to convert to your way of thinking. Yes we all have our faults and fall short in many ways and many Christians do in fact fail horribly when it comes to living up to what they profess when they are in not at church but I don’t read about very many Christians who are using the law, lawsuits or any other means to force anyone to convert (except for radicals who are doing awful things in the name of whatever religion the profess; which by the way is not the true God’s way!!) that is in fact a perfect example of humanity trying to force those that disagree with them by whatever means necessary to conform to there way of thinking; no human has that right and quite honestly if something is offensive the right thing to do is walk away, and just have compassion!!!! our world needs it more than ever right now……

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *