Thanks for everyone who responded to the ethical dilemma posed yesterday. I guess I should have been a little more clear about the “rules” of the game, however. I assumed too much – but for the future (IF such games are played) I will be more clear.
No anonymous posts, which I believe takes away from the thoughts shared and provides a cloak for intolerance or mean spirited notes. (Not to suggest that was the case yesterday, but I am just stating where I am coming from).
As promised, I will not debate this issue as it was an open forum to share views on the subject. However, as promised, here was my response to my class:
Is it fair to measure ethical behavior by certain cultures? What culture should we measure it by? That of America or that of Ecuador?
Some things, when using a Biblical World View, are moral absolutes – such as salvation is through Jesus only. However, even when you take a commandment “thou shall not lie” (or “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”), could you still justify the unethical action of lying such as people during WWII did? Here, I am not arguing if a lie is a lie, just as I was not really arguing if a bribe is a bribe, but rather the ethical response to such actions. For example, Corrie Ten Boom lied to the Nazis when hiding Jews, who would certainly have been put to death. Was she morally unethical or wrong to do that? What about “thou shall not lie”.
Further, I may be wrong, but I am not certain of a biblical term that would say it is wrong to pay a bribe. Certainly, I would suggest that paying something to gain access or to have a better advantage in business is unethical, but it appears in Ecuador that the monies paid seem to be evenly required. And further, a “bribe” in Ecuador does not seem to meet the criteria of the American definition of the term.
And just as shown in “The Peace Child”, a great story about a family that reached a people whom never saw a white person before, it is important to reach people in the cultural context in which they live – not only regarding the love of Christ, but in the business practices that surround them.
THANK YOU ALL for participating. I have never been to Ecuador and have never discussed with locals how this day-to-day requirement is viewed by the people. But I HAVE been to other countries, including Russia, and have seen and discussed first hand how the norms are viewed and dealt with. Thank you to those who have shared their opinions, their real life situations, and such. I am reminded that life is tough sometimes – even very smart people and theologians (are theologians people???? lol) argue over points so I know we are not alone.
Again, THANK YOU everyone for sharing. I appreciate you all.
Now Gina needs to get ready for work.