“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.” (Genesis 3:17-19)
My mother once told me that no matter where one lived in the world (whether in a prosperous or impoverished society), one would have to toil until they drew their last breath. “Toil” is precisely how most people would characterize their work life as employee loyalty and job satisfaction continue on a downward spiral. These developments are indeed astonishing in a culture that gave the world a work ethic. Asians (particularly South Asians) view work as a means to several ends: wealth, status, and comfort. Westerners (North Americans in particular) by contrast view the contribution of labour as an end in itself. Traditionally, we labour on in the same manner as God who laboured to create the universe. I recently saw the General Manager of the company I work for sweep the warehouse floor, unthinkable in South Asia or the Middle East.
I recently listened to a sermon by Charles Stanley on the radio about work. Stanley decries the prevailing trend of living for Friday while dreading Monday and encourages his listeners to adopt a more positive attitude towards their work. Cynics would scoff at this sentiment and cite various examples of how degrading the job market has become. I can sympathize with the cynic’s position for I know how true this is from personal experience. In an era of labour abundance (courtesy of feminism and mass immigration) employees have become “human resources” who must approach several employers with their beggar’s bowl (resume) before acquiring suitable employment. The job hunting process makes one feel degraded rather than liberated.
Nevertheless, Stanley offers some very Protestant advice for our work related woes. He insists that when we work, we must always remember that we are doing God’s work. To do this we must adopt the attitude of a servant just as Christ came to serve and not rule. But whom do we serve? The short answer: Society. But in serving society we also serve ourselves as work hones our talents and develops our skills. I decided to try this approach at the office last week and I must confess that it was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. However bear in mind that I was able to adopt this approach (and hopefully sustain it) due of my unwavering belief in God. I then realized why gambling was a sin in Christianity. Pissing away your paycheck in a slot machine disrespects your labour which is service to God. Stanley’s approach sadly remains inaccessible to many North Americans precisely because we have (as a society) lost our Protestant values.
In his book “Mysticism and Morality” Arthur Danto rejects David Hume’s fact/value dichotomy by masterfully arguing that a society’s moral beliefs are indeed determined by their factual beliefs. In our case our values are buttressed by a bedrock of factual beliefs that are Christian in origin. Rejecting these Christian beliefs makes it incredibly difficult to sustain the values that our society deems as wholesome. Our goal here at Occident Invicta is to speak out in defense of the Protestant values that have made America and Canada the greatest nations in the world; and in doing so we are doing God’s work.