Should a Christian be selfish?
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12-07-2016, 06:08 PM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
(12-07-2016 03:30 PM)Dworkin Wrote:  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, 06:50 PM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
(12-07-2016 03:30 PM)Dworkin Wrote:  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.

Okay, snark aside, serious answer.

There's no "right" or "true" way to be a Christian. The religion isn't some fixed, abstract, Platonic ideal that people either conform to or don't. What you see as a misunderstanding they see as correct understanding, and vice versa. The religion is however it is practiced, and it is practiced many different ways.
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12-07-2016, 07:13 PM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
(12-07-2016 05:56 PM)Banjo Wrote:  
(12-07-2016 05:49 PM)unfogged Wrote:  He said selfish... not shellfish!

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oops. Big Grin

Thank you, Banjo, this just struck my funny bone and I needed a laugh today. Big Grin

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12-07-2016, 07:29 PM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
(12-07-2016 06:50 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(12-07-2016 03:30 PM)Dworkin Wrote:  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.

Okay, snark aside, serious answer.

There's no "right" or "true" way to be a Christian. The religion isn't some fixed, abstract, Platonic ideal that people either conform to or don't. What you see as a misunderstanding they see as correct understanding, and vice versa. The religion is however it is practiced, and it is practiced many different ways.

That's because their instructional manual is so damned vague and contradictory.
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12-07-2016, 08:22 PM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
(12-07-2016 07:29 PM)Dark Wanderer Wrote:  
(12-07-2016 06:50 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  Okay, snark aside, serious answer.

There's no "right" or "true" way to be a Christian. The religion isn't some fixed, abstract, Platonic ideal that people either conform to or don't. What you see as a misunderstanding they see as correct understanding, and vice versa. The religion is however it is practiced, and it is practiced many different ways.

That's because their instructional manual is so damned vague and contradictory.

Also, its users can't agree whether it's infallible or not.
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12-07-2016, 08:42 PM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
(12-07-2016 05:56 PM)Banjo Wrote:  
(12-07-2016 05:49 PM)unfogged Wrote:  He said selfish... not shellfish!

[Image: latest?cb=20121024161205]

oops. Big Grin

The answer is not "oops".

It's :




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12-07-2016, 11:13 PM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
(12-07-2016 03:30 PM)Dworkin Wrote:  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.
What is a Randian Christian? Is it a Christian who follows the philosophy of Ayn Rand, because Christianity is totally incompatible with Objectivism at the most fundamental level. But, theists seem to have no problem embracing contradictions so It wouldn't surprise me.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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13-07-2016, 01:14 AM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
(12-07-2016 03:30 PM)Dworkin Wrote:  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.

And this christian message is what exactly?

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

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13-07-2016, 02:09 AM (This post was last modified: 13-07-2016 02:31 AM by Dworkin.)
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
(12-07-2016 04:30 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  .... 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.

Hi Reltzik,

Lots of good answers on this thread, but yours hits the point I was driving at.

So - "Love your neighbour as yourself" .. if you want to get into heaven. The commandment is what it is, and if a person follows it in order to get into heaven, then what's the beef? I don't see this as any more tricky than the deathbed conversion that the Randians were talking about.

They argue that the conversion would have to be honest, and God would know if it was a genuine Scroogian conversion or smoke and mirrors. When a person is facing death square on, who's to say? There is a well known 1st world war comment, that "Everyone is a Christian in the trenches". If such mortal fear can drive everyone into the arms of the Christian God, who is to be turned away? Can't selfish people be frightened too?

It looks to me, that Christianity allows for the selfish, but would, of course, turn away the unbeliever. The latter is the deal breaker. This is not to say that Christians cannot be good people (if good is empathetic and genuinely kind to others) but it is not the Christianity that makes then so.

D.

PS - If there was no heavenly reward in Christianity, how many Randians (or even conservatives) would be Christians. Laugh out load
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13-07-2016, 03:30 AM
RE: Should a Christian be selfish?
(13-07-2016 02:09 AM)Dworkin Wrote:  So - "Love your neighbour as yourself" .. if you want to get into heaven. The commandment is what it is, and if a person follows it in order to get into heaven, then what's the beef?

D.


The problem is xianity is xenophobic and those who are not xian are evil. So what if your neighbour follows Jupiter? Are you still to love him?

2nd Chronicles19:2
And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.


Xians are not to associate with the ungodly. So if they love them, they break this command.

They are to love a people such as this, just because they live nearby?

John 8:44
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.


Indeed they are commanded to avoid such people.

1st Corinthians 5:12
For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
1st Corinthians 5:13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.


There are too many verses contradicting the love stuff. Hence the many wars between factions, the Catholics and Protestants for example. Let alone peoples of other religions in which the rampant xenophobia gave as an excuse to genocide.

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