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I hate that expression. In my world I usually see it when someone is being critical of Dr Covey’s writing because he was a Mormon, and since that church’s beliefs are considered to be a bit ‘out there’ by the mainstream Christian religions it seems to be a stick used to criticise his work. For example, I read somewhere that someone was given a copy of the 7 Habits and later said, “You can see this was written by a Mormon” like that was a rational reason for dismissing the book – which uses the word God 3 times, one of which uses is where it was added to the words ‘tin-pot’ to describe bad managers. Hardly religious. Another person, who actively sought out a LinkedIn 7 Habits group, also whined about the ‘religious’ values expressed by those who liked the book.

Here’s the thing: Values are NOT religious, religions adopt values.

That’s my point – the alternative view is that principles like honesty, truth, effort, discipline and so on, being espoused by ‘religions’ and which are therefore (by the detractors’ definition) ‘religious values’, should somehow be fought against by the secular as an attack on their freedom. To paraphrase Dr Covey they are presumably arguing we should be lazy, ineffective liars to avoid living these ‘religious values’.

They seem to believe that these books are telling us what to think and are therefore trying to indoctrinate us into the writer’s ‘religion’. Actually, my reading of these books is that they are telling us that it is we who are ALLOWED to think, while also making the argument that these values make sense because the opposite does not.

(Oddly, no-one even asks about other writers’ religions, they only harangue Dr Covey because he proudly acknowledged his own. Consider the nonsense of the argument ‘J K Rowling believes in God, don’t read Harry Potter!!!’)

So just because I believe in self-discipline, honesty, integrity and other principles does NOT mean I am religious, nor does it mean that I am not. It just means I believe in the things any sensible person believes in, because believing the opposite would be manifestly stupid. You/I may occasionally make excuses for NOT acting in accord with our values, but we know that they’re excuses, that they are rational lies. That doesn’t make us stupid – it makes us human.

What excuses do you make to NOT act in accordance with your value system?