Should a Christian be selfish?
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12-07-2016, 03:30 PM
Should a Christian be selfish?
Hi,

I used to debate at some length with a couple of Randian Christians. Their view seemed puzzling, as I remembered the Christian commandment, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Mark 12:31

So, to me, shouldn’t the Christian be concerned for others just as much as for his/her self? That’s how I was reading it. However, the Randians stuck to their line, and I began to realise that the commandment does take account of self love, just as strongly as the love of others. As our debate proceeded, it became clear to me that the Randians believed that their self love included profiting in worldly goods in the here and now, and then, crucially, gaining immortality in eternal heaven of the next world. For a selfish person, what’s not to like?

But, what of others? Here, the Randians presented two arguments. Firstly, their view is that loving others does not need to include practical help, unless this help is in the form of some useful advice: i.e. ‘look after yourself’. In this perspective the Randians own selfishness can be of help to others by sharing such nuggets of wisdom. The second argument is about Christian belief. They argued that redemption is not a matter of good works in this world, but of believing the gospel. Again, interestingly, they saw a deathbed conversion as a fully effective passport to the new world, no matter what kind of life has gone before.

As a result of these debates, I took a fresh look at the nature of the Christian idea, and it was a disturbing look. Of course, selfish people can turn any politics or creed to their own ends, but I was becoming aware that the Christian message can be fractured at a deep level and may be misunderstood by many good folks.

D.
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12-07-2016, 04:20 PM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
Most religions are "open to interpretation". Which doesn't really make much sense, because if this it suppose to by a guide book on how to live a "good" life. well then their should be no interpretation it should be black and whilte, clear as crystal.

Another thing is the rules like "love thyn neighbor as yourself." was mostly intended for the jewish. Love other jews like you love yourself. Ancient Jews didn't give two shits about what happened to the canaanites, or babylonions.

Don't Live each day like it's your last. Live each day like you have 541 days after that one where every choice you make will have lasting implications to you and the world around you. ~ Tim Minchin
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12-07-2016, 04:27 PM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
I classify "Christians" into two categories, mentally-- followers of Jesus and followers of Paul.

The ones I see being selfish and bigoted tend to express more of the teachings from the Epistles than from the Gospels. However, Jesus was pretty clear about how to get to heaven:

Luke 10:25-37 New International Version (NIV)

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”


(Bold emphasis my own.)

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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12-07-2016, 04:29 PM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
Oh, and there's also that whole "give away everything you have and follow me" stuff, but most of them write that off as specific advice to a specific person... though I could never fathom how they justified that conclusion.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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12-07-2016, 04:30 PM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
.... question.

If one lives a life of charity and helping others based on a faith-and-works model of salvation, specifically to get into heaven and avoid hell, does that count as selfish?

Say what you will about the Randians, they're still (slightly) less obnoxious than the prosperity gospel folks.
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12-07-2016, 05:29 PM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
(12-07-2016 04:20 PM)Commonsensei Wrote:  Most religions are "open to interpretation". Which doesn't really make much sense, because if this it suppose to by a guide book on how to live a "good" life. well then their should be no interpretation it should be black and whilte, clear as crystal.

Another thing is the rules like "love thyn neighbor as yourself." was mostly intended for the jewish. Love other jews like you love yourself. Ancient Jews didn't give two shits about what happened to the canaanites, or babylonions.

I agree anyone can interpret Christianity to their own gains, and it's been done a lot over the last 2,000 years.

Christians believe they worship the creator of our universe who is also the embodiment of all that is good, he is the objective moral standard bearer yet they don't know what is truly moral?

How can one Christian ever question the teachings of their God and his mortal son Jesus? Clearly it means they don't have a truly objective moral God whose rules and laws are truly set in stone and can't be questioned or dismissed.

I honestly don't think a true Christian would be selfish, they wold have to be the most giving, humble, and kind person ever, even if you attack them they will not fight back, they will turn the other cheek and go about their merry way.

I don't care that much since I don't believe in eternal life anyway but dang I feel sorry for people who do, how can you know for sure you're doing the right thing? I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. Unsure

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12-07-2016, 05:39 PM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
(12-07-2016 05:29 PM)SitaSky Wrote:  I honestly don't think a true Christian would be selfish, they wold have to be the most giving, humble, and kind person ever, even if you attack them they will not fight back, they will turn the other cheek and go about their merry way.

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even their own life--such a person cannot be my disciple."

"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

I haven't noticed that xians in general are much better or worse than any other group in general. Whether they are selfish or selfless they can find verses that say what they want it to say so that their predilections are confirmed and they can still call themselves xians.

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12-07-2016, 05:43 PM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
Christians should not eat shellfish.

Leviticus 11:9-12King James Version (KJV)

9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.

10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.

12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

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12-07-2016, 05:49 PM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
(12-07-2016 05:43 PM)Banjo Wrote:  Christians should not eat shellfish.

He said selfish... not shellfish!

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12-07-2016, 05:56 PM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
(12-07-2016 05:49 PM)unfogged Wrote:  
(12-07-2016 05:43 PM)Banjo Wrote:  Christians should not eat shellfish.

He said selfish... not shellfish!

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oops. Big Grin

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