Don’t be evil!

Back in the heady days of the late 1990s and early Naughties, The Internet gave rise to a new breed of company. The likes of Google and Amazon.com were names unheard of before and they challenged established brands like latter day Davids vs Goliaths. The Internet had changed everything, this time it would be different, this time it would be better!

Now of course, these Internet companies (at least the ones who survived) are today’s global mega-corporations. But, are things really different now? This week, I was dismayed to hear that both Google and Amazon (companies that I use regularly) are among those accused of using various shenanigans to avoid paying the proper rate of UK tax (100% legal but of dubious morality).

Also recently, Google has controversially merged the personal data it holds on us gathered from various companies it has acquired over the years. Google’s unofficial motto is “Don’t be evil”. This is an obviously laudable objective but it seems to me if you make such a statement, it is a lot it live up to. The behaviour of these companies goes to highlight the human failings; “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. It just goes to show how temptation and greed kick-in whenever we start to taste power and success.

Is the Church exempt from such temptations? Given the behaviour of powerful Church institutions over the centuries and even today, it appears not. Therefore, I suggest that anyone in power, who claims to know God, takes heed. Ask Him to lead them and help them avoid the pitfalls of abusing power and follow the one who is all-powerful yet made no attempt to enrich or gain comfort from himself, Jesus Christ.

“With great power comes great responsibility” is a quote ascribed to Spider Man’s Uncle Ben. It was derived originally from a speech by Franklin D Roosevelt. However, the true origin of the sentiment, if not the exact words, can be found in The Gospel of Luke chapter 12 verse 48:

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” NIV

PS: The photo of St Peters in Rome was taken by me earlier this year.  A symbol of religious power, its kind of relevant but a nice photo in any case.

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