Self Interest – The Diabolical False God

February 11, 2013 — 3 Comments

A non Christian asked me unabashedly about Christianity in this way: “What’s in it for me?” In effect he said, how will my world get materially better? Or from a cost benefit analysis, exactly what benefits can I expect? Or how much am I going to lose because it may not be worth it.

Considering the state of our world where selfishness ruthlessly competes for star billing and where the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity are relegated to minor roles, his question was reasonable. Doesn’t society teach us that to understand someone we must first discern their agenda? Their self-interest? In the business world, that certainly was an objective of mine when negotiating with someone. And such a mindset is practical, astute, responsible and unfortunately, light years from altruism, the unselfish regard for the welfare of others.

Can you therefore fault someone who’s looking out for himself? His life’s journey might be scarred by countless examples of people putting his interests last. Nonetheless, what we all have to be mindful of is the cynicism that may result from always getting the short straw, (“You can’t be serious. Again!?”), or even occasionally getting a raw deal.

Life isn’t fair! The decision to pivot to the dark side and always subordinate the interests of others to our desires is a devastatingly bad move.

Self interest unchecked is a diabolical false god that turns people away from a relationship with the Holy Trinity. One’s focus becomes inward and away from the Source of all that is. Selfishness, greed, egocentrism and superficiality become the bastard children of this romance with self.

So, the question. “What’s in it for me?”

I wrote a fable titled The Mountaintop – Suffering, Seeking and Finding God. My experience inspired it. And I believe it encapsulates the essence of a Christian life and the rewards for following Christ. It’s my latest contribution to Catholic Stand. It’s here. For those of you who may have been reading my blog in October of last year, you may recognize it. However, I wanted to share it with new readers.

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  • Show-Me Steve

    MAS – Your Mountaintop fable was a terrific read. I intend to use it as a teaching piece directed to at least several acquaintances. Thanks for the work!

    Regarding your non-Christian acquaintance – perhaps he/she should have an opportunity to read and consider Pascal’s Wager. Peter Kreeft does a good job explaining Blaise’s rationale for belief in God in his piece on his own web site at the link: http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/pascals-wager.htm.

    Consider, among other areas of study, Blaise Pascal was a well-respected, 17th century French mathematician and philosopher (from the sceptical movement).

    Here are a couple verbal hooks from early in the Kreeft article which might help to reel-in some of those sceptics from our age:

    “The classic arguments for the existence of God were no longer popularly believed. What could the Christian apologist say to the sceptical mind of this age? Suppose such a typical mind lacked both the gift of faith and the confidence in reason to prove God’s existence; could there be a third ladder out of the pit of unbelief into the light of belief?”

    “The Wager appeals not to a high ideal, like faith, hope, love, or proof, but to a low one: the instinct for self-preservation, the desire to be happy and not unhappy. But on that low natural level, it has tremendous force.”

    Please, keep up your awesome brand of evangelizing.

    Show-Me Steve