Desire.

Where Christians can talk among themselves, and about those Godless atheists.

Desire.

Postby mitchellmckain » Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:39 pm

This is about a paradigm shift that can happen with Christians -- should happen with Christians. I am well aware that it often doesn't happen and also aware that people can change this way of thinking in many other ways than Christianity.

It seems to me that for too many people their world revolves around what they want. They plot, work, manipulate and do whatever it takes to get it. After all, isn't it the people who go this extra mile who win most of the races, contests, and competitions in the world? They typically trample on competitors because it is a strategy that works.

I find this 'way of the world' particularly disturbing when the object of desire is a person. They just seem to pick someone that bets suits their own inflated opinion of themselves and sabotage, undermine, and clobber anyone who seems to stand in their way. I don't just see this in "romantic" relationships but also in parental relationship where the parent wants their child to accomplish something -- but it can often be more about their own desire than anything else.

So how is it and why should this center of life shift to something else, to where what drives you isn't some thing that you want?

I am amazed how often I hear atheists championing the idea that self-interest necessarily drives everything human beings do. I do not take that to mean that Christians are on average any better because I see no evidence of that. Indeed, if you are going to live a life motivated purely by self-interest then the atheist approach is more honest and less hypocritical. But you can say the same of a serial killer so that is hardly an impressive recommendation. So I am led suppose there is a least a loose connection there. Even if it isn't a necessary link, it is bound by the fact that for most people honesty does lead from atheism to a life revolving around self-interest alone.

It makes me wonder if we cannot forge a different pathway of thought from atheism to something else.

How does it work with the Christian (or theist)? It that case it is (at least theoretically) acknowledged that what defines the good and worthwhile thing isn't the self but a divine creator. In practice, words such as "God" are often thrown around as a tool just to make others capitulate to their own desires. When religion is legalized then it all becomes coercion of other people into your way of thinking and living.

So if not God then what can pull the atheists out of this mindset that life is all about what they want and nothing else? My thoughts are drawn first to the simple observation of how poorly this works in human relationships. But the problem is that this is simply a lesson of life, suggesting that people can only learn this the hard way. Therefore I feel this is not enough. But then it occurs to me that there is a another rational from the simple logic of putting ourselves in the other person's shoes. What kind of people do we want to be around? Is someone who only thinks of their own desire and self-interest attractive to us?

thoughts...?
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Re: Desire.

Postby Kub » Wed Aug 05, 2015 4:34 pm

I've noticed that this day and age is all about self love, going after what YOU want and deserve and screw the ones who get in your way. I see posts, quotes, memes and posters that preach it all of the time. It doesn't sound appealing and it's not as attractive to truly place others before yourself. Even if we place others before ourselves we want some sort of self gratification out of it rather than receiving nothing at all in return. How much more valuable would we be if we were placed here to serve others and not ourselves. I don't know how to get people to realize this other than by showing them. Even then some will consider you as weak, lazy, unattractive, and stupid. I must admit, I fail miserably at times trying to truly put others before myself. It's something I'm really trying to work on.
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Re: Desire.

Postby Simplyme » Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:33 am

What situation can we be able to place ourselves, where we would be placing others interest before ours, in where self gratification is not involved? I feel rather self gratified in placing others before me.
I find it rather amusing, when thought of as ignorant or stupid(though I can be on many subjects). Especially by those who believe in a deity up in heaven watching our every move, and rewarding or punishing us after we have expired.
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Re: Desire.

Postby kjw47 » Thu Aug 06, 2015 4:11 pm

Simplyme wrote:What situation can we be able to place ourselves, where we would be placing others interest before ours, in where self gratification is not involved? I feel rather self gratified in placing others before me.



This is the tough one for most--Matt 16:24---one must disown themselves to follow Jesus. And to follow Jesus one must learn and apply every single teaching--there is no pick and choose. Few can do it. WHY? many are mislead by false religions, handed down from parent to child because that is the tradition from where they are located. Or sadder even yet is that 99% of all religions claiming to be Christian, aren't. the majority of those teachers tickle ears with--you are saved or born again, and then they don't need to bother learning and applying Jesus' truths, because they go through life believing the word of those teachers. If they knew the teachings of Jesus, they would know, not a single mortal on earth knows if another will be saved. They only have theory.
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Re: Desire.

Postby Kub » Thu Aug 06, 2015 6:31 pm

Simplyme wrote:What situation can we be able to place ourselves, where we would be placing others interest before ours, in where self gratification is not involved? I feel rather self gratified in placing others before me.


First I want to say that, I'm not saying it's a bad thing to feel happy because you made someone happy. But have you ever put someone before you and they don't give a crap, take advantage. ...it sucks. It's not easy, but I personally am trying to put my feelings aside and do it anyway.
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Re: Desire.

Postby somecallmeTim? » Mon Oct 05, 2015 7:22 pm

mitchellmckain wrote:This is about a paradigm shift that can happen with Christians -- should happen with Christians. I am well aware that it often doesn't happen and also aware that people can change this way of thinking in many other ways than Christianity.

So if not God then what can pull the atheists out of this mindset that life is all about what they want and nothing else? My thoughts are drawn first to the simple observation of how poorly this works in human relationships. But the problem is that this is simply a lesson of life, suggesting that people can only learn this the hard way. Therefore I feel this is not enough. But then it occurs to me that there is a another rational from the simple logic of putting ourselves in the other person's shoes. What kind of people do we want to be around? Is someone who only thinks of their own desire and self-interest attractive to us?

thoughts...?


Selfishness is certainly not attractive. But we are often blinded to our own flaws, including our own selfishness. It takes the Holy Spirit to wake us up and make us see what we don't want to see - especially our own flaws.

Often "people can only learn this the hard way". A difficult and painful life-experience is often the door through which God may walk and help people (including Atheists) see that there is, indeed, something more to life. The toughest times in my life were also the times I grew the most, spiritually.
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Re: Desire.

Postby spongebob » Tue Oct 06, 2015 6:46 am

I would really like to contribute to this topic, but since it's in the Christian section that wouldn't be appropriate. Mitch, is there a need to keep it limited to Christians or would you consider moving this topic to the general section? Or would you rather I just start a companion thread there instead?
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
~Bertrand Russell

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Re: Desire.

Postby mitchellmckain » Tue Oct 06, 2015 2:56 pm

spongebob wrote:I would really like to contribute to this topic, but since it's in the Christian section that wouldn't be appropriate. Mitch, is there a need to keep it limited to Christians or would you consider moving this topic to the general section? Or would you rather I just start a companion thread there instead?


It is already in the General Discussion section under the title "Self-interest or Something Else?" I posted this in both the General Discussion section and the Christian section at the same time.

If you want to reply to a Christian comment here, I see nothing wrong with copying the comment over to the thread in the General Discussion section and making your response there.
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Re: Desire.

Postby Og3 » Sat Oct 17, 2015 2:45 am

In the book the Four Loves,, C.S. Lewis raises the question of whether any love between living creatures can be truly disinterested. At first he said that he thought of a mother giving milk, but then he realized that the act of giving milk relieves pain in the mother, so it does have a self-interest element.
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Re: Desire.

Postby Rian » Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:17 pm

I think it's also in that book where he points out that people don't have a problem with the giver getting satisfaction if it's a satisfaction "proper" to the action, or something along those lines. If a couple marries for love, it's a good thing even though they also receive as well as give. If they marry for money, most people think it's wrong.

If a mother gives milk in order to relieve pain, I think most people would say that's not a good motive. But if she gives milk in order to take care of her baby, and also receives the relief from pain, then the latter is just a side-benefit.
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Re: Desire.

Postby Og3 » Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:21 pm

Rian wrote:I think it's also in that book where he points out that people don't have a problem with the giver getting satisfaction if it's a satisfaction "proper" to the action, or something along those lines. If a couple marries for love, it's a good thing even though they also receive as well as give. If they marry for money, most people think it's wrong.

If a mother gives milk in order to relieve pain, I think most people would say that's not a good motive. But if she gives milk in order to take care of her baby, and also receives the relief from pain, then the latter is just a side-benefit.

I believe that he had originally intended to point to things like that as examples of dis-interested love, that is, love for love's sake, with no return. But the fact that it has a return, even though its trivial, does not dismiss that it is an act of nurture and self-sacrifice.

I once had an atheist take exception with whether leaving groceries anonymously on the doorstep of an elderly poor couple was pure altruism; didn't the giver get a sense of self-satisfaction, imagining the joy the couple would experience on finding the gift? Well, okay, if we're going to look at it from that angle, then no gift given by a human can ever be completely dis-interested. But is that the right angle from which to see it?
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Re: Desire.

Postby mitchellmckain » Sun Oct 18, 2015 10:23 pm

Og3 wrote:I once had an atheist take exception with whether leaving groceries anonymously on the doorstep of an elderly poor couple was pure altruism; didn't the giver get a sense of self-satisfaction, imagining the joy the couple would experience on finding the gift? Well, okay, if we're going to look at it from that angle, then no gift given by a human can ever be completely dis-interested. But is that the right angle from which to see it?

Does the joy we have in serving others somehow subtract from its value? Not at all. It make it that much more sweet, both for God and those you serve.

What we see condemned by Jesus in the NT is doing such things to seek approval and to craft a better image. There is insincerity in that motive, precisely because what you are actually taking joy in is not the advantage to others but the advantage to yourself. The same would go for legalistic reasons founded on a belief that doing good deeds will get you into heaven.
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Re: Desire.

Postby Og3 » Sun Oct 18, 2015 11:02 pm

mitchellmckain wrote:
Og3 wrote:I once had an atheist take exception with whether leaving groceries anonymously on the doorstep of an elderly poor couple was pure altruism; didn't the giver get a sense of self-satisfaction, imagining the joy the couple would experience on finding the gift? Well, okay, if we're going to look at it from that angle, then no gift given by a human can ever be completely dis-interested. But is that the right angle from which to see it?

Does the joy we have in serving others somehow subtract from its value? Not at all. It make it that much more sweet, both for God and those you serve.

What we see condemned by Jesus in the NT is doing such things to seek approval and to craft a better image. There is insincerity in that motive, precisely because what you are actually taking joy in is not the advantage to others but the advantage to yourself. The same would go for legalistic reasons founded on a belief that doing good deeds will get you into heaven.

Precisely. Ananias and Saphira were not struck dead for selling property, nor for keeping a portion of the proceeds. They would not have been struck dead for keeping it all. They were struck dead for lying about what they had given.
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Re: Desire.

Postby Rian » Mon Oct 19, 2015 2:17 pm

Og3 wrote:I once had an atheist take exception with whether leaving groceries anonymously on the doorstep of an elderly poor couple was pure altruism; didn't the giver get a sense of self-satisfaction, imagining the joy the couple would experience on finding the gift? Well, okay, if we're going to look at it from that angle, then no gift given by a human can ever be completely dis-interested. But is that the right angle from which to see it?
That's a good way to look at it. I mean, what's the alternative - letting the elderly poor couple starve? Then you would feel bad, so that's good? :roll: I think the two great commandments, love God and love others, is the best yardstick with which to measure our actions. That yardstick, plus the Golden Rule(r) ;) - love your neighbor as yourself.
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Re: Desire.

Postby Og3 » Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:37 pm

Rian wrote:
Og3 wrote:I once had an atheist take exception with whether leaving groceries anonymously on the doorstep of an elderly poor couple was pure altruism; didn't the giver get a sense of self-satisfaction, imagining the joy the couple would experience on finding the gift? Well, okay, if we're going to look at it from that angle, then no gift given by a human can ever be completely dis-interested. But is that the right angle from which to see it?
That's a good way to look at it. I mean, what's the alternative - letting the elderly poor couple starve? Then you would feel bad, so that's good? :roll: I think the two great commandments, love God and love others, is the best yardstick with which to measure our actions. That yardstick, plus the Golden Rule(r) ;) - love your neighbor as yourself.

It was pointed out to me that the Cross consists of lines in two dimensions: Vertical -- our relationship with God -- and horizontal -- our relationships with others.
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