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May 01, 2008

Marketers: Don't Prey. Pray.


Today is the National Day of Prayer in the U.S.

I originally did not intend to write a post about it, but as I drove to work, listening to the Focus on the Family broadcast, I reflected on something CK said to me once about how people have a distaste for marketers because they expect them to prey on people. If that's true, then marketers are seriously lacking in proper ethics and behavior.

Perhaps, I thought, this would be a good time to reflect on the things we can do to increase the likelihood that we behave in a way that brings credit to ourselves and our profession. I then was reminded, as I often am, on the wise admonition of George Washington.

Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. - George Washington

If CK's assessment is right, then I'm convinced that we need less preying and more praying.

The verse that immediately came to mind was Matthew 6:5-6, but before I posted it, I decided to break out and dust off (yeah, I know) my old study Bible and look up today's memorization verse. It's a much more appropriate passage for marketers, given our fears and motivations, don't you think?

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come to pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. - Jeremiah 32:27 (NIV)

I won't go into a long analysis of what that passage means, but instead will ask you to consider and meditate on it. Also, if you are so inclined  -- and even if you are usually not much for praying -- I would greatly appreciate your prayers, not only for me, but also for our leaders and our countries. - Cam Beck


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Excellent post! The ones who prey aren't Marketers. The Market is cluttered with non-marketers (people can't tell the difference). Simple question - uh "Do you have a Marketing degree?" or "case studies" or "references"? As a Marketer, I have found that prayer keeps my ideas fresh and my focused inspired. Great Marketing strategies resonate and speak the soul and intellect.

Andy Valadez
The Marketing Evangelist/StealthMarketer
Team Marketing Dynamics

If prayer is seen as a means of meditation on principles, a critical and mindful examination of self, and heartfelt desire for self and other-improvement...then I say go for it. If it lacks these elements, then the individual needs to learn how to better pray.

Regarding Washington's perspective, I believe what he says if I were to expand 'religion' to also mean 'living philosophy'. I say this because (I believe) moral behavior, like religion, is learned through Experience - observation & practice.

Mario - Regarding Washington's assertion, keep in mind that he did not say it was impossible for people who were not religious to be moral, he just said that reason and experience should both cause us to be cautious, not exclusionary.

Yeah, I can see that. From my listening to the Adams book, in the late 1700s people took a sorrowing & critical look at the revolution in France and its moral effect on their society. Atheism had a little popular movement going on in many French circles during their enlightenment period, that some people improperly applied an absolution of moral obligation to. All these historical factors together made a strong case for acknowledging the cultural importance of religion in society - especially for a young developing nation like the U.S., where unity and national identity were prized.

In quoting Washington are you asserting that you believe morality cannot exist without religion? Or that religion is inherently moral?

Gannon - Neither. See my comment above to Mario.

How should we be cautious?

I'm not trying to instigate anything, by the way, I'm just trying to understand you better.

Mario - All correct. I would also add that not only were unity and national identity prized, but so was the maintenance of a virtuous republic governed by the people themselves! It was by no means assured at the time.

Adams added at one point, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

All of which plays nicely into William Penn's warning: "If men will not be governed by God, they will be ruled by tyrants."

Without a definitive source of truth, morality does not exist. Everything becomes relative. People take on the, "It's my life, I'll do whatever what I want" mentality. Not only is this harmful to the individual, but it's disastrous to society as a whole.

Personally, I don't believe morality is merely a product of experience or social constructs. It's already embedded inside us. We cannot escape it. We know what's right or wrong without someone explicitly telling us so. Which, many would argue, is an astonishing case for God (or a greater being or whatever you prefer to call it).

It's important to understand that not everything which exists is a product of teaching. Mathematics would still be fundamentally true, even if you'd never heard about it. In the same way, morality exists whether you're taught it or not.

Finally - in order to continue living morally, we need a roadmap of some sort. We need to know what's the right path and what's the wrong path. Yes, it's often inside us, but we usually choose the wrong path because it 'feels better' or makes us happier or keeps us from being mocked, etc.

This is where religion comes in. It's the guiding light, the definitive moral truth, and (in theory) the basis for making our every decision. Without out, we'd go our own way and wind up in a sea of moral relativism. Which, sadly, is where we seem to be headed more and more every day.

P.S. I realize some horrible things have been done in the name of religion (namely Christianity). It's important to understand that Man is at fault in these cases, not the moral teaching of the religion itself. One of the greatest tragedies in Christian history is what human beings have done in the name of Christ. There's a reason we need saving...

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