Article - Enron, WorldCom, & Situation Ethics

History illustrates that some in corporate America have thrown all morals and ethics out the window for the almighty dollar. Beginning with Enron and continuing with WorldCom, we have seen a growth in situation ethics in the business world. Situation ethics teach if the ends justify the means then it is acceptable. For example, if Enron and WorldCom’s CEO and accountants think that a quarterly profit margin will be much higher than what it actually is then it would be justifiable to lie about those numbers to gain stock value. This is a clear example of the influence of Humanism and Utilitarianism on our society. What does the Bible say about all of this scandal and situation ethics?

Our God is not a god of situations but of eternal principles. God does not change and cannot lie (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 6:18, Titus 1:2). Therefore, God’s nature and law will not change to meet 20th century problems. For example, if murder was wrong when Cain slew his brother Abel then it is still wrong today in principle and in practice. If it is wrong to lie at all (Revelation 21:8) then it is wrong to lie at any time regardless if one thinks the outcome will justify the lying. If something is sinful in principle it is sinful in practice at anytime.

The thinking of situation ethics has had a terrible impact on our society. For example, the Bible teaches that abortion is a sinful practice of killing innocent babies (Proverbs 6:17, Exodus 20:13). Then, we come along 2000 years later and approve of abortion on the grounds of rape. As much as I feel compassion and sympathy for the woman who is raped that does not mean that two wrongs makes a right. As wrong as it was for the rapist to rape the now pregnant woman, it would just as wrong for her to abort that baby. For example, rape is a violation of one’s individual privacy and will. Is not abortion the same thing? When a woman aborts an unborn baby she, in essence, rapes that child of its individual privacy and will to choose to live. Remember, two wrongs do not make a right. Another example of situation ethics in our culture is euthanasia. The Bible teaches that it is wrong to murder others (Exodus 20:13). God is the giver and the taker of life (Hebrews 12:9). Therefore, we cannot come along later and practice death for the aged and ill and be justified. We do not possess the omniscience to see the future. Those who are near death and “terminally ill” may recover and live a healthy life. Physical death is not the worse thing that could happen to someone. We may not always see the benefits of death but they can be numerous. For example, it may cause the dying person to think about his own spiritual life, he may be strengthened in the faith and become closer to God, or others may see his godly example and become Christians. It is time for us to stop playing god for He doesn’t even bend the rules to meet the situation.

Enron and WorldCom thought they could look into the future and justify their lying. They were grossly mistaken and left in a state of financial loss and embarrassment. If we would practice the principle of right at all times life will be much easier for us. May we never give in to the allurement of situation ethics but practice what the Bible teaches in principle.

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