“I don’t believe in Christianity because I believe it’s a selfish religion” what are your thoughts on such a statement? I have so much that I could say about it myself but I would love to hear your thoughts.
As a famous speaker once said, I feel like a mosquito at a nudist beach: Where do I start?
1) First off: Today’s church can be selfish —
But people confuse the modern messed up church with the real power of Jesus Christ. I’m certainly dissatisfied with the hoarding American church and its isolated philosophy of Prayer-Praise-Scripture at the expense of Going-Making-Giving. When $10 million megachurches are built while 26,000 children die of starvation everyday, something is wrong.
Yet megachurches represent about 2% of all churches in America. Scams and scandals are few; the media makes them look regular and anecdotal. There are countless “True Scotsmen” making a real difference and doing what the Book of James says: to take care of the widows and the orphans and remain pure in the world.
When the world looks at a few bad fruits and calls the whole farm “bad,” that’s a bigoted, prejudiced judgment that’s no better than racism.
I’ve heard enough testimonies about recovered drug addicts, homeless given jobs and options, abused women who have risen to help others, and rich-people-turned-missionaries that it’s almost laughable to say that the core of Christianity is selfish. At the very least it’s ridiculous to think Jesus himself was selfish.
2) Our God is a Humble God. —
I don’t want to get into a “my religion is better than your religion” debate (since the Bible is truth anyway), but no other religion claims a Humble God. You can stamp Philippians 2 all over that. The center of our faith is the Father of a murdered son who gave his life for people He created. I thought I wasn’t selfish until I heard that story.
3) The Bible calls us to totally selfless lives. —
Carry your cross. Deny yourself. Crucify the flesh. Leave it all behind. Consider others better than yourself. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul? Do not store worldly wealth where moth and rust destroy; seek eternal treasure. Not to us, but to His name be the glory. Seek after the widow, orphan, poor, weak, refugee, foreigner. Make a feast for people who cannot pay you back. The first will be last, the last first. Jesus washed the feet of Judas, and calls us to love the same way.
4) But isn’t “experiencing the love of God” still selfish? —
I can see in a philosophical way that people will misunderstand the Christian faith as a hedonistic, self-absorbed, God-and-Me sort of system for self-improvement and therapeutic well-being.
The problem with this is: What the heck are they talking about?
That’s a Beneficial God Syndrome.
Because it’s not the Bible. God calls disciples to GO, to MAKE, to GIVE, and that we WILL suffer. That’s not an option.
Some religions say suffering is good because it benefits them somehow, but the Bible exclusively claims that suffering for the sake of God is FOR GOD. Of course there’s some benefit for us, but ultimately all we do is for the common good of humanity and for God Himself.
What absolutely pisses me off is the media’s reaction when some missionaries get killed by pirates or politicians — “Well they should’ve never been there! It’s their fault, they risked it!” But a real missionary is glad to risk it all for the sake of the Gospel. This includes their lives. Yes, it’s tragic they died. But those dead missionaries don’t feel bad right now. They’re having the best day of their lives.
So while we do get “benefits” from God, that’s not why we follow God. God is His own highest good. Which brings us to a final point.
5) Christianity is not selfish, but God is (sort of). —
God is allowed to be selfish. He is constantly elevating His own glory with His own Trinitarian self. If He didn’t, then He would have to lift up something else, which means He isn’t God. Then He doesn’t have glory. Then He can’t be selfish.
But God has all the rights to be self-centered, because He’s God.
Which makes it THAT much more incredible that He sent His Son to die in place of His created beings. In that selfless action on the cross, He showed what love is.
The center of Christianity is that sort of gracious love. I’ve always defined love as: the self-sacrificial effort of pouring out your life for another. You can use that for free. It’s a dying of the self to seek the ultimate good of someone else. It’s what God did. It’s what we’re called to do as His Spirit of love lives in us.
In short: The God of the Bible is essentially selfless (when He didn’t have to be) and calls us to love selflessly, which we’re made to do.