Secular and Atheistic

To the morally concerned, spiritually minded, and religious.

I knew this guy once.  A nice guy morally upright and respectable.  A bit slight and meek in appearance but

strong in his conviction and firm in beliefs.  He was remarkable in his sense of propriety.  I liked him and in

some ways even admired him if not for his strength then for his strength of convection, his genuine belief,

and consistent follow through of behavior.  Where we parted was our understanding of companies and the

corporate world.  He worked for a bank or financial institute as a lower level decisions maker or processor.  

He was in an environment that prided itself on its conservation sense of right and wrong, good and bad,

and worthy and not. (Side note:  If you believe that business’s, especially financial ones, don’t equate

payment, your ability to pay, and or wealth with right and wrong and good or bad then you are leaving in a

dream world -  wake up) Daily as an institution they would review factors of there own choosing against

measures of their own contrivance and determine the worthiness of others.

It was within this environment that he quietly conducted his daily responsibilities and performed his work.  I

don’t believe he had ever taken the time to look around and see the bigger picture or take a look at his

situation or the company from a different perspective.  He was as you might have guessed a spiritual man

religious in some ways but more genuinely devoted to the precepts of the Bible then the practice of a set

of rules.  He lived the idea of doing what was right and it mattered not what others did. He was to be judged

by his behavior regardless of others.

In his company there were all type of rules which he complied with to the letter in order to maintain a good

witness, avoid trouble and or correction, and maintain his position no matter how difficult in order to fulfill

his duty and provide for his family.  He had a terrible and long commute and a large family.  They lived

mildly in a small house and had few if any extravaganzas.  He would not use the company computer for

personal use nor would he even use the company phone for personal calls; not even to call home for less

then thirty second and say, “Hey, honey, I’m leaving now.”

I remember one time I had driven out to his work to meet him.  I had gotten there a few minutes before five

and so I had gone inside to say hi and see where he worked.  He took a moment came down and walked

me back to his cubical on the second floor.  We talked for a bit and he didn’t want to make me wait but said

he could not leave just yet.  As we walked back to his desk I noticed and remarked about how empty the

place was.  He had said that most people leave early to try to avoid the traffic.  I said, uagh, that’s why you

stay later. Commenting on how smart he was to avoid the traffic.  I mean everyone leaves early then they

just get to sit in traffic earlier.  If you waited a bit you might avoid it as others get done before you even get

out.  He said yeah but that wasn’t the reason even through it sounded good.  He said he could not leave

because he hadn’t hit his eight hours.  I said what?  He said he had been a few minutes late from lunch

because he had to deal with a family issue on his cell phone and so he had to wait the few minute before

he could leave… I thought, are you crazy there is no one here.  But I asked, oh, do you have to clock out.  

He said no.  They did not have a time clock.  This time I asked, why don’t you just go everyone is gone.  He

said because he hadn’t done his full time and he could not afford not to get paid for it.  I said so then just

put done eight hours on your time card to which he seemed trouble about my integrity but said they don’t

fill out a time card.  He explained that if he left early he would have to fill an out a time off request for the

10 minute that he was late and that was somewhat silly I agreed but for a different reason.  I just let my

head wrap around the mind set.  He was a good guy.  But a little too tight about it if you know what I mean.  

I am sure from his perspective I seemed a bit loose in my morality on such issues. (Note:  I thought it’s

great that you’re so detailed and upstanding about the time you own them but would they pay you if you

had to stay a few minutes late would they give you the comp time off? To which I am sure he would answer

with two wrongs don’t make a right or something like that)

By the time we finished our conversation the time had past and we could go.  I was taking him home and as

we left the thought came into my mind to chide him about how our conversation, while we waited for the

exact time to be met, was a waste of company time so he still owed them the time and he should fill out a

time off request but I thought it would be mean and he might actually do it feeling convicted.

On the way back to his house we talked about family and church and a few other things.  He was

somewhat unhappy with the job and how it pulled him away from home and family.  I was really thinking

about the situation we had just gone through and what it meant or what lesson there was to learn.  I

wanted to understand his perspective and scrutinize mine.  In the end, I came to a single understanding

but I didn’t relay it to him till later.  He had already gotten home and should be allowed to enjoy the time

with his family.

Two weeks or so later we were together at some gathering and I was talking to someone else.  He came

over and we were talking about starting our own businesses. Finding or creating a different lifestyle one

that was more conducive to family.  The thought came back to my mind as we spoke and I decided to offer

it to him.  I said the problem with a corporation is that it is atheistic.  I used the word on purpose not to

provoke a reaction from him so much as I did it to convey a clear precise thought in a way he would both

understand and relate.  I did get a reaction from him and in mid sentence he took pause.  He had never

really contemplated the thought that the entity for which he now worked (He had worked for several non

profit ministries in the past) did not believe in God.  As we got into the conversation it was clear that the

company did not believe in anything, it did not believe, it did not think.  The logic was obvious but we had

never taken time to think about it.  My experience lead me to relate to companies in a somewhat

adversarial way and his had lead him to relate in a somewhat submissive way.  You see he was bringing

his understanding of how to relate to people and applying it to the company.  I viewed companies as the

opposite of people, if such a thing exists.  It took him a bit to adjust his thinking on the subject but once he

made the switch he was quickly moving down the tracks.  A company didn’t, couldn’t believe in God it was

secular in its existence.  I guess you could include something in its charter acknowledging the existence or

even expressing a belief in God but that would be like putting a tattoo of a cross on a baby’s bottom, it

would not result in the baby believing in God.  From here it was not long before he began down a path that

would lead him out of his present company and in fact any company to start a family owned and operated

business.  One in which his values and beliefs could and would be expressed.  It was not a company, mind

you; it was just him and his family doing business.  They are doing well and I hear from them now and


The Point:

Companies are not people and our relationship with them is not and should not and can not be like that of

us with another person.  We might act towards a company the way we would another person and we might

even project our image of a person on the company but a company can not and will not respond in that

way.  If we try, we end up in an unreciprocated relationship, one sided… you give and do for and get

nothing back.  It would be like loving someone who does not love you.  It will only lead to pain and trouble

for you.  A waste of time and effort.  This is not to say that we can’t relate to people within an organization

but that is not business that is personal.

The Lesson:

Be on guard with how you perceive things and be conscious of your beliefs whatever they may be.  People

tend to humanize things.  My kids create entire personalities for dolls and stuffed animals.  I searched for

months for just the right name for my truck based on its characteristics that would express its personality.  

It’s crazy what we will do when we aren’t thinking.

The Brutal Truth:

Your company does not believe the way you do.  It does not believe.  It does not think.  It does not feel.  It

does not care, not about you not about anything.  Some of the people may care but they just work there