Saturday, September 07, 2013

The Means Justify the End

We've all heard the phrase, "The end justifies the means." Actually, I've more often heard the phrase, "The end doesn't justify the means," when the "means" being discussed are actually illegal or unethical. But we live in a world where ends are supposed to justify means all the time.

When I was growing up, "evangelistically speaking" was a euphemism for exaggeration, if not outright lying. In the workplace, achieving a goal is often an expected norm, even if it involves treating people badly to accomplish it.  One often finds that behind closed doors in a "successful" church, the leader is harsh, demanding, perhaps even abusive, or uses people to accomplish a project rather than having interest in them as individuals with their own needs. Success, it seems, is its own justification. As long as you didn't do anything outright illegal or sinful--with that interesting set of blinders evangelicals often use with regard to what is and isn't sinful--then it's okay. The end is good, and we just won't look too closely into the means.