Monday, October 10, 2011

The Communion Response to Altruism

Too often people conceive of Christianity as a repression of desire, and hence a repression of the real self. Christianity tells you to live for others, and not yourselves. Christianity hypocritically tells you to be selfish in order to gain heaven – the logical fallacy is clear.

This misses the heart of the faith. Christianity recognizes that our own desires and others’ desires are bound up together – that our very existences as social and relational creatures disallow me to separate my individuality from yours.

Christianity is not purely altruistic; on the other hand, it is not an egotistical self-gorging of the appetite. It is an acknowledgment that my desires and your desires are somehow inextricably bound up in the cosmic story of creation, salvation, and redemption.


  1. It is almost an oxymoron,
    Matthew 16:25
    25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life... shall find it.

    Might think of it as putting off (evil) layers of self (altruistic) to find the better layers underneath (egotistical). Though, I suppose if I have taken off all the evil layers then I will find a person who thinks and acts not for self but for others. Which goes with doing good/altruistic things for the HAN so we can become what we want in the eternities

    Other oxymoron truths...
    Matthew 23:11-12
    11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

    12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

    Another thought... if an individual does good HAN with only the thought of EP, over time if they continue to do the good they will find that their life is blessed/becomes better in the HAN... because doing and being good is truth. We become what we do.

  2. I feel that a lot of truth, theological and otherwise, is paradoxical. GK Chesterton wrote a lot about this. It seems summed up in the ultimate example of truth here on earth: God's death, which won for us eternal life.