Religion and Business
Are Religion and Business complimentary or in competition with one another?
Modern capitalism is exemplified by the business organization's drive for maximum profits. In its purest form, the driving engine behind the existence of a business is, minimize costs and maximize profits. News media globally and locally on the African continent is littered daily with stories of business scandals who in the attempt to realize said goals, go to incredible lengths, often at the cost of their "humanity" in order to maximize the bottom line.
Having that said and becoming a norm of corruption and greed, is there a place for religion in the boardroom? Is there a way of bridging the gap between Sunday and Monday or the boardroom and the pulpit?
Modern Christian churches are faced with their own real challenges as they face increasing competition from new secular religions, as well as other religions that people are finding more relevant with business practices and business successes as the old stereotypes still resonates through society with reference to your Islamic, Judaic business owners.
The questions that beg answering are:
i. can business benefit from Christian principals and tenants; and
ii. can the Christian churches learn from business;
To expand on the 2 questions posed, let us look at the following examples respectively:
A growing SMME is in line for a government lucrative contract that would be of great benefit to the local community and profitable for the business. However, the government official responsible for the awarding of the tender demands a kick back for the successful awarding of the contract. If you a businessman, what would you do? This is the kind of story that litters African news almost daily.
Let's look at the second question with the following example. A local congregation is faced with a dwindling and ageing membership. What should they do? Do they research, formulate a strategy and implement it to increase membership or do they leave it in God's hands? After all, churches are in the business of saving souls. Besides, perhaps it is God's will.
In conclusion, business and religion are at a cross roads. Business people find it increasingly difficult to keep their principles when the industry of business dictates them to conform to the system and go against Godly principles. Which journey does religion and business continue on?