Don’t Be Evil

Jesus said, “This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13:35, Msg)

Why then, are Christians often known for the exact opposite? It seems that everyone and his dog are telling the world that we need more love (especially in the 70’s, but still today—just look at the movement for debt relief to Africa, for instance). Everyone, that is, but the Christians, who are often seen as being contrary to conventional wisdom and preoccupied with pointing fingers at each other and the sins of the world. In that order.

Take a look at Google. They’re a for-profit corporation, registered on Wall Street, which means that by law, they’re in it for the money. Even so, their now famous informal motto is “Don’t Be Evil”. This is the cornerstone of Google’s Code of Conduct, which highlights the value of treating colleagues, customers, and even competitors with respect.

But hey, you may argue, we shouldn’t be taking cues from the corporate world; we serve a greater master and cherish two thousand year old truths. Well, if Google is what it takes for us to realize those same truths, that says more about us than about Google. Suck it up and move on.

Brian McLaren touches on this in his brilliant book, The Church on the Other Side. One of his advices for engaging the postmodern world is: “We ought to be more fair.”

“We need to be more careful about applying a degree of scrutiny to others (other Christians, non-Christians, postmoderns, ‘the world,’ megachurches, or whomever) that we can not ourselves withstand. This is, of course, nothing more than Jesus’ splinter-and-beam principle coming up once again (Matthew 7:3-5).” (p. 176)

In other words, Don’t Be Evil.


Author: Kenneth Mollerup Birch

Living north of Copenhagen, Denmark. MA in Information Science. Interests include communication, internet, sociology, language, politics, religion, theology, travel, music, and food.

3 thoughts on “Don’t Be Evil”

  1. Master, what is the greatest commandment? Love the Lord your God with all your heart midn and strength, and the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.-Jesus- youare in good company my friend. Nicely put.

  2. Thank you for your comments.

    If it sounds a bit vague then I suspect that it’s just that my excerpt is a bit short, and McLaren ought to be read in context. What he talks about in the quoted section is criticizing other Christians in broad generalizations. To a postmodern audience, many such accusations will seem hypocritical and unfair, if the scrutiny applied to others is not applied to oneself.

    (And of course, my post is also in danger of falling into that very trap. 🙂 )

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