Why is religious language so common in the world of business?

August 7, 2006

Why is religious language so common in the world of business? I see people who are “Evangelists” for products and services; Boards go on “retreats”; I’ve heard of “breaking bread” and “communion” with clients and fellow workers; poor customer service operatives “confess” to their “sins”…Is it because I’m from a (predominantly) Catholic culture that this seems at little odd to me?
I’ve never met an Irish Evangelist (in a business sense anyway!), and the only retreats I can think of were those we went on at school in the hormonally charged years – much fuel for confession was generated! But what is going on here? Are we asking people to have “blind faith” in products and services? Are we suggesting that a charasmatic leader with an on target message will generate the right business environment for success? Help me out here!

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  1. Perhaps it is from your culture that you read a religions connotaon of the word? Maybe it’s just how you read them when you see the words? The word retreat has lots of meanings, the main one bring to “pull back”. Evangelist are bringers of good news. Confess doesn’t have to mean the RC sacrament of confession. Language, being a fluid process and repository, does pick things up, change them, move with them, adapt them. Also, culturally, isn’t not surprising that Ireland does have a strong religious etymology.
    As for Irish Evangelists – think of John Longergan (Mountjoy Governor) speak? Or Feargal Quinn or Eddie Haughey, even Eddie Hobbs or Peter Kelly (Weddings by Franc)? In the sense that evangelical can mean “characterized by ardent or crusading enthusiasm”, I’d say then can be pretty ardent when they speak/write.
    I suppose that often the limits with language are the limits of how we interpret it.

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