items appear below:
Employment and the Bible
The Bible and Stem Cell Research
Bible Principles – Useful Now
EMPLOYMENT and THE BIBLE
Investigator (#97 p. 4)
published a request for Bible guidelines on
Discussion in church on
how to apply Bible principles to the workplace
is common. It's therefore easy to find testimonies by employees who
applied principles from the Bible – such as honesty,
diligence, doing one’s best, and cheerful cooperation – and who got
promoted and attribute their promotion to following Bible advice.
request in #97 p. 4 is therefore a request for standard church sermon
material and standard testimonials.
There is also an
encyclical titled ENCYCLICAL LETTER LABOREM EXERCENS
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF JOHN PAUL II ON HUMAN WORK. This gives the
Catholic Church's teaching about work and employment, not all directly
from the Bible, but in harmony with it.
If anyone still wants
to see how Bible principles apply to stem-cell
research in particular he should obtain a copy of the occupational
health and safety standards for that industry as well as a copy of the
ethical guidelines the researchers are obliged to follow. If there are
earlier and revised versions we'll need both.
Then we may be able to
examine such questions as:
Whether the industry rules and guidelines agree
with the Bible;
Whether the Bible anticipated any of the rules and
Whether, by using the Bible, we can suggest
improvements to the rules and guidelines.
principles to the job of stem-cell research should be no
more difficult than applying Bible principles to employment in an iron
foundry where water and sewer pipes are manufactured.
Consider McWane and
and ACIPCO and THE GOLDEN RULE
Corners television program broadcast on July
12, 2004 was titled "A Dangerous Business".
According to this
program McWane Inc – which owns factories in the USA
which manufacture water and sewer pipes – had 4,600 workers hurt on the
job in its USA factories in seven years including nine killed.
seven years McWane notched up more safety
violations than all its major competitors combined."
One interviewee said,
"they’d rather pay the fines than bring their
plants into compliance…they think…it's more profitable for them to take
the risk by not having safety programs in place than to comply with the
The Four Corners
program then introduced another American Cast
Iron Pipe Company called ACIPCO.
ACIPCO is in the same
business as McWane – it melts metal and casts
pipe – but has a much safer workplace.
executive officer, Van Richey, said,"We believe the
safety of the workers is number one. If we can't do it safely, we don't
Workers in pipe-casting
endure temperatures up to 130o F. In
Texas, McWane rationed the ice cubes whereas ACIPCO installed air
conditioners: "And the employees are much more comfortable, and they're
The founder of ACIPCO,
John Eagan, died in 1924. He was a devout
Christian and tried to run the company based upon the Golden Rule of
Van Richey explained,
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto
you. Before you make a rule, say, "…what if it applied to me? Is it
When John Eagan
announced he would operate his foundry on the Golden
Rule the president of the company, J R McWane, quit. McWane started his
own pipe company with a philosophy now called "disciplined management
practices" with one of the worst safety reputations in America.
If the Golden Rule
helps workers in an iron foundry it can also be
applied to stem cell research and to every other legitimate business!
And the same can be said of many other Bible principles!
ACIPCO is only one
example of employees benefiting from the Bible.
History and current events supply thousands of examples of people
applying Bible principles and changing industries, societies and
nations for the better.
FOR ANOTHER REASON
Stem-cell research is
interesting for another reason besides the
question of whether Bible ethics can be applied to it. Some researchers
have such high expectations for stem-cell research that they echo Bible
prophecies of a world without disease, physical handicaps or human
the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
And the ears of
the deaf unstopped;
then shall the
lame man leap like the hart,
and the tongue
of the dumb sing for joy… (Isaiah 36)
When I began
investigating the Bible, in the 1960s, critics considered
such prophecies silly. Now, however, science is expressing a similar
vision and even saying things like: "…nothing is now impossible.”
stem-cell research, genetic engineering, cloning,
transplant technology, electronic implants – and nanotechnology raise
the possibility that Bible predictions of perfect human health for
everyone are achievable by technology.
Had the human race not
squandered its wealth on war, crime and other
conflict and instead followed Bible instructions to seek wisdom and
peace and do useful work, and thereby developed technology faster,
Bible prophecies of paradise under the "Kingdom of God" could have
become reality long ago.
The Bible and Stem-cell research
In #99 p20, Anonymous
attempts to justify his claim that Bible
guidelines and principles are being, or can be, applied to Stem-cell
research. He cites honesty, diligence, doing one's best and cheerful
cooperation as examples.
argument falls flat when perusing the Old Testament
wherein less desirable attributes such as deceit, infidelity, abhorrent
punishments and questionable ethics not only abound but are also
commanded, sanctioned and condoned by God. One could argue therefore,
that this compilation teaches exactly the opposite and certainly has no
relevance to scientific research.
Testimonials from those
who uncritically believe in the supernatural
and the metaphysical are not based on reality, and as such, can hardly
be relied upon as worthwhile evidence.
In the New Testament,
God evidently realises what a mess he’s made of
creation and "sends his only son" to be a scapegoat.
To say, as does
Anonymous, that discussion in church on how to apply
Bible principles is commonplace, equates with discussions about the
predictions of Nostradamus. Given a lengthy timeframe, the expediential
increase in world events and multi-interpretations of words and
meanings, just about any prediction can be made to fit.
The ethics of Stem-cell
research is far more complex than a simple
"Golden Rule". As far as the Pope's encyclical endorsement of the rule
is concerned, I suggest a reading of the Catholic Church's history
would show an unbridgeable chasm between it and their activities over
The bottom line in my
opinion is therefore, that there is no direct,
indirect or implied references in the Bible to any scientific discovery
made in the past 2000 years. How could there be when it was compiled by
scientifically illiterate authors centuries before the discoveries?
BIBLE PRINCIPLES – USEFUL NOW
Mr Edwards had claimed
that Bible ethics are not useful in today's
world. In rebuttal I reviewed a television report about two American
pipe manufacturing companies. (#99)
One company allegedly
seeks increased profits by circumventing safety
regulations and had 4,600 employees hurt on the job in seven years. The
other follows the "Golden Rule” of Jesus and has a safer work place.
The chief executive explained: "Do unto others as you would have them
do unto you. Before you make a rule, say, "what if it applied to me?
Is it fair?" We believe the safety of the workers is number one. If we
can't do it safely, we don't do it.”
Clearly, ethical rules
that promote health, prosperity and life are
valid across time as long as people still want health, prosperity and
But to Edwards 4,600
people hurt means nothing – the important thing is
to define the Bible as wrong and ignore escalating proof to the
contrary. He did that too in the "Child Sexual Abuse" debate. He didn't
censure the child sexual abusers who abused an estimated 1,000,000,000
children in the 20th century. He criticised only the Bible which
teaches principles opposing sexual abuse.
Edwards argued that
beneficial Bible principles should be ignored
because there are, he alleged, questionable ethics in the Old
Testament. However, those are separate things and need to be separately
investigated. Imagine if someone argues, "I won't obey any Australian
laws because in the 1940s Australian law allowed killing of Japanese,
but now Australia invites Japanese as tourists and prosecutes anyone
who kills them – and that's contradictory."
Such a person has
ignored common distinctions such as war vs peace,
guilt vs innocence, contract vs no contract, general rules vs
particular rules, etc. If such distinctions are ignored then any set of
instructions or of rules can be made to appear contradictory.
Edwards also argued
that the evidence of people who testify they
applied Bible principles at work and thereby got a job promotion is
comparable to discussing Nostradamus.
On the contrary, to get
the testimonies of promoted workers is
scientific method because we can check their statements by:
Interviewing their employers;
Comparing the statements against government
pamphlets that advise on how to behave at work.
Finally, I invite
Edwards to admit that: