Cooperate to Graduate and other Ethical Dilemnas
Finally, brothers, let your minds be filled with everything that is true, everything that is honourable, everything that is upright and pure, everything that we love and admire—with whatever is good and praiseworthy.
9 Keep doing everything you learnt from me and were told by me and have heard or seen me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 (NJB)
With a school year fast approaching, one of the challenges for students will be dealing with the temptation to cooperate to graduate. In certain classes, in order to get a high grade, there is the thought that they must deny their own beliefs, their own research, their own thoughts and give the answer the professors have been told to produce. ( Or so they think – that some professors have to toe the department chair’s or Dean’s position)
This kind of thought, this lack is thought to be one of academic independence, but in rather, a lack of room for ethical integrity. Given enough of this, the student will bring this programmed attitude into workplace as well. We reward those who work within the system, even if the cost is one of their betraying their ethics. This also deviates into politics, and even into church politics.
We program people to a form of Machiavellianism- do what it takes to get rewarded, rather than do what is true and honorable and upright and pure. No wonder morality is no longer a standard, but is bound to its situation, and needs and wants of the moment. The good end that Machiavelli justified his unethical actions isn’t even considered anymore.
This again even occurs in the church, as I noted above. Maybe the goal is to avoid confrontation, or to please people who are “important”, or rather than work through issues, we pretend that the morality or the need for confession and absolution isn’t really needed.
Can we change this? How?
The only way is to look to the truth! And scripture defines truth, quite simply – not as something, some someone. It’s a relationship, nor a matter of cloning the right answers, but giving people the time and instruction to give them those answers. It’s about helping them through the struggles, about guiding…and loving.
Its found in walking with Jesus, in looking to Him, in treasuring not just what He’s taught us, but what He has promised to do to and through us. The grace that forgives us, the love that empowers us, the Spirit that guides us. He is our priority, not the grades, not the diploma, not the promotions, or a church which pleases our denomination or the families that have always been in power, or the newcomer who wants to know if something really is sin,
Our priority is Christ, their priority needs to be Christ.
That is what shall make a difference in their lives. That is what makes a difference in ours.