What value does trust have at work? In politics? In society in general? The LWF 2nd Symposium on the Theology of Work took a look at this essential dimension of human interaction from a variety of angles. Organized by the Department of Theology and Public Witness on 3 May 2012 in commemoration of International Labor Day.
Theme | “Trust”: Some Theological Insights
Speaker | Dr Edward Dommen
You’re taking a look at trust through a theological lens – what are three questions you want to raise?
Through a glass darkly, indeed…
- Why do the Bible, and theology, pay so little attention to such an essential question?
- How far is trust a technical concept and how far is it an expression of neighbourly love?
- What are the relations between trust, trustworthiness, truth, faith and loyalty?
How does trust, or lack thereof, factor into the current economic crisis, in particular the difficulties in the banking sector?
They play a major role.
The banking system betrayed public trust. Was the betrayal intentional? More probably, the financial system became so complex that even its actors no longer knew what they were doing. Trustworthiness at least involves knowing what you’re doing.
Now that trust in the financial sector has been damaged, society as a whole has been weakened.
What is the main contribution the churches can make to building trustworthy societies?
They can start thinking about the question!
Truth, honesty and trustworthiness are values deeply rooted in most societies, although in several they conflict with loyalty. Churches often go along with the values of the society of which they are a part, but they are not ahead of the field in this particular area, and they ought to be.
Dr Edward Dommen is a specialist in economic ethics. He has worked as an economist in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and held various teaching posts. He is a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers).