Despite predictions of religion’s demise in the first decade of this century (Krattenmaker 2010; Meacham 2009), religion and spirituality have come front and center in many public arenas like pop culture, health and well-being, and politics. Whether it be the power of the religious right and left in politics, anxiety over Islamic terrorism, or simply the use of meditation within large corporations, religious issues play an important role in how we view and participate in secular society. This is no less true in the world of business and professional communication. Considering the role religion has played in rhetorical thought and our understanding of writing as a technology, this should be no surprise to scholars of rhetoric. For example, Eric Havelock (1963) and Walter Ong (1982) have both pointed out the constitutive relationship between cognition and writing, as well as how these have influenced the development of religion and culture. By creating a division between the knower and the known, writing allows “introspectivity” to open up the mind to reflection on both the “objective” world and the “interior self” (Ong, p. 114). For Ong, this kind of reflection gave birth to religious traditions, like Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all of which are characteristically introspective, often focused on sacred texts. This division also makes moral character a subject of reflection, as religion grapples with the relationship between constructing a communicator’s ethos and actual moral being. Because Protestantism has developed its own special relationship with writing, growing as it did out of the invention of the printing press and the public sphere (Eisenstein 1979), developing moral character is thoroughly intertwined with the production of both business and communication.
"Religion and the Professional Ethos: The YMCA, Dale Carnegie, and the “Business Man”,"
Journal of Rhetoric, Professional Communication, and Globalization: Vol. 9
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/rpcg/vol9/iss1/2