Introducing CS Lewis to the Business Ethics Student.pdf

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Shelton - Introducing C.S. Lewis to the Business Ethics Student Introducing C.S. Lewis to the Business Ethics Student I N T R O D U C T I O N Several years ago, students in a business ethics course I was teaching were assigned to read and write a review on the book In His Steps by Charles Sheldon. This is Sheldon’s well-known story of a church in which the members decide to preface every action and every major decision with the question, “What would Jesus do?” (Sheldon, 1993). It was the source of the WWJD fashion trend that was seen sever- al years ago among many high school and college students. There was a student in that business ethics class who made me question whether the WWJD movement was more about outward apparel and less about internalization of its message. In writing his review of the book, one young man pre- sented a critique of what he believed to be an error in the worship practice of this fictional church. The fictional church used an organ and the student was a proponent of only acappella singing in worship. That he was extremely indignant about the matter was evident from the passion with which he wrote. However, it was what that young man did later in the semester which really got my atten- tion. A few weeks after writing the review, this same stu- dent, in a subsequent class discussion, expressed his dissat- isfaction with the campus cable television system because he was prevented from watching Howard Stern’s television program. The seeming disconnect between his zeal for doc- trinal purity and his blatant disregard for common decency in wanting to watch what can only be described as extreme indecency was eye-opening to me. This incident served as a catalyst in my thinking about how we are able to fence off certain areas from moral codes we use in other areas. For instance, the young man would never dream of letting a Howard Stern monologue serve as a sermon alongside his acappella singing. Yet, in his heart, he had found room for both Howard Stern and a concern for doctrinal purity in worship practices. E T H I C S I N B U S I N E S S A N D E T H I C S I N L I F E One activity in which I had my business ethics stu- dents engage was an exercise that required them to draw the line on eavesdropping on a competitor’s conversation. The exercise is designed to be one of “progressive snoop- ABSTRACT: There is a tendency to compartmentalize morality which prevents consistent application of moral princi- ples in business and personal life. To effectively teach business ethics from a Christian perspective, a morality informed by a Christian worldview must be integrated into all facets of the students’ lives. The idea that there are morals for business and morals for the rest of life must be shown to be false. One way to do this is to introduce stu- dents to C.S. Lewis’ writings on the “Law of Right and Wrong” to show the students that morality is real and is not relative. The purpose is not to turn a business ethics class into a class on Lewis but to introduce Lewis’ simple, but
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