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Location: Montgomery Area, Alabama, United States

Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Christian Carnival CXIX

I am very dreadfully late in posting this, but here is last week's Christian Carnival, brought to you by JCHFleetGuy at Brain Cramps for God.

And speaking of brain cramps, there is a post by Silas Jones that attempts to reconcile Ayn Rand's idea that selfishness is a virtue with Christianity.

Ayn Rand's writings are in every way right on track. The virtue of selfishness is that our standard, our guiding post for morality, that we must follow if we want to live life and be satisfied by and within it, is that we must hold the pursuit of our life's best above all else. I think Ayn Rand hit the nail on the head when it comes to how we ought to view our system of morals, which determine the way we believe we ought to act. But at the same time, doesn't it sound kind of counter-intuitive to Christianity?

Ummm, yeah. 'Cause it is.

There is a paradigm shift that has occured sometime between the time following the writings of ancient Jews such as David (the king of Israel) and the church of the last 200 years. David understood that following God meant following him because it was in his (David's) best interest. But this understanding has been perverted by much of the church to the point that most people look at ethics as a top 10 list of things to do to avoid condemnation. It is from this assumption, that we must follow God to avoid hell, that I think people have received their problems with guilt. Christianity does not cause problems with guilt. Christianity, at its core, focuses on our own pleasure and enjoyment - it is self-centered and hedonistic in every way (however, with this hedonism of sorts, the standard of pleasure is what is ultimately best for us, not whatever happens to be our whim or seems best at the moment.) It is the removal of our focus from our own pleasure that has ultimately resulted in the problems with guilt and fear that causes many people to abandon religion. I obviously do not think that ignoring religion is the solution to these people's problems. The solution is to truly (for the first time, maybe) seek their own ultimate pleasure, that which is the pursuit of the ultimate value that Ayn Rand talks of. This is not, nor can it be, done by a non-religious or condemnnation-avoidant approach to morality.

Nice try, but no cheroot. "In our best interest" and "hedonistic" are two very different things. Hence the problem of pain and of bad things happening to good people. Interesting nonetheless.


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