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God and Self Interest

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posted on Dec, 30 2011 @ 05:37 PM
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Is it not self interest that motivates someone to believe in any one particular belief concerning god? Lets say someone chooses to be a christian, is it not self interest that one agrees to believe it to begin with? The reward of eternal life and to live in a paradise. Seems like most things in life come back to ourselves. Humans tend to move in a direction toward a reward just as energy moves in the direction of positive energy. I could be wrong but it just seems we believe and make choices in life that we think will bring us a benefit or reward thus making everything in life relative to ourselves.

I would like to see what you guys think? Are we motivated by self interest even when it comes to god?

Keep in mind that I'm not stating absolute truth here, just stating an opinion that can be debatable.




posted on Dec, 30 2011 @ 06:12 PM
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It wasn't for me. Or maybe in some ways it was but not in the way you suggest. I struggled with the idea of faith and religion after some bad experiences. When I was young I went to church regularly but those experiences within the church and religion were so against what I had learned before that I couldn't abide by what I saw or align myself with any faith for a long long time.

I started learning not too many years ago examining those issues that were so against what I had originally believed and found through my studies that I was already living my life much in the way it seemed I should be. That if I searched for myself instead of listening to what others told me I felt right I guess.

The self interest for me is not thoughts so much of winning myself some special place in the after life, it is more about how it feels to reach out to others, to know I have impacted someone's life in a positive manner. And in saying this I am not really referring to converting others.

Example; a few years ago my neighbors 14 year old daughter started having problems, she was getting in trouble with the police, running away from home etc. Eventually they put her on house arrest with a leg monitor on her. She was not having a good time dealing with her parents, she could not see any of her friends and so on. I started talking to her, I listened with her to the music she liked. I let her talk about what she was feeling thinking and going through without judgement, then offered gentle and kind suggestions. She started visiting pretty much every day though that time and then eventually her and her parents moved away. Last year there was a knock on my door, it was her, she came by to thank me, she told me she had gotten the things that were hurting her worked out learning to deal with them differently, she had been able to successfully finish school and was working and happy with her life. and she felt that my being there for her was important enough to remember.

Knowing I had a part in improving someone's future and life in such a way is my reward. You can't put a price on that. So I guess if you consider that self-serving so be it but it's not just for me.



posted on Dec, 30 2011 @ 06:26 PM
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Originally posted by Ralphy
Is it not self interest that motivates someone to believe in any one particular belief concerning god? Lets say someone chooses to be a christian, is it not self interest that one agrees to believe it to begin with? The reward of eternal life and to live in a paradise. Seems like most things in life come back to ourselves. Humans tend to move in a direction toward a reward just as energy moves in the direction of positive energy. I could be wrong but it just seems we believe and make choices in life that we think will bring us a benefit or reward thus making everything in life relative to ourselves.

I would like to see what you guys think? Are we motivated by self interest even when it comes to god?

Keep in mind that I'm not stating absolute truth here, just stating an opinion that can be debatable.


You are speaking of duplicity. If we seek God for reward, then we are really after the reward. If we seek God to avoid punishment, then we are seeking self-preservation. This is the reason for faith. Faith is the veil of ignorance about fact. The point of living is to find fact from ignorance by reflecting on the impressions that symbols generate from the material world. If God had placed us here with complete fact, we would experience no separation from Him. Duplicity would be the result. Because He remains hidden, faith is the only way to reach Him with sincerity. The soul of man is accompanied by the spirit of the Hidden God. When we find true love for God, the soul and the spirit become one in union. John 3 explains this from the perspective of water baptism. Baptism is the symbol for the immersion of our soul (Temple of God) into the water of reality. Water cleanses. We are also baptized by fire, or the consuming fire of God. This is the same as the flaming sword that protects the tree of life in Genesis 3. It cuts away our pride and self-seeking by law. The law is our guardian while here. Galatians 3 explains this at the end of the chapter.

The temple in scripture is a symbol for the human soul (mind and body). The vessels of the sacrifice represent the tools needed to cleanse the temple after sacrifice. Connect this to the body and you see that the implements of sacrifice are the eyes, ears, mouth, hands, feet and so on. We use the implements with water to cleanse the temple by choice, free will and experience. Confucius said, "I hear and I forget. I see and I learn. I do and I understand." We are here to do all three so that we can eventually find God in the correct way. Value must be seen before we understand that Good is its own reward. God is the provider of the process. The value we derive from doing good is what it does for others.

This is tied to reward and suffering. As Buddha noticed, suffering can be eliminated. Unfortunately, he misses the point. Suffering should be our primary choice. If we take a reward, we cause a debt because the reward was not earned by suffering. Smoke and you get cancer. If we give our suffering in the form of work, we generate true reward. Work for a degree and get a job. Work to pay a car payment and suffer what is necessary to gain transportation. Not only do we benefit, but everyone receives reward. The world is healed when we see that doing unto our neighbor is suffering work for the greater good of the many. Taking reward represents our current world, where we are in debt 15 trillion dollars from our greed and duplicity. Jesus came to flip this back to giving as the primary motivation for truth. We are just beginning to see this as our current world of duplicity is failing.



posted on Dec, 30 2011 @ 06:31 PM
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Originally posted by Ralphy
Is it not self interest that motivates someone to believe in any one particular belief concerning god? Lets say someone chooses to be a christian, is it not self interest that one agrees to believe it to begin with? The reward of eternal life and to live in a paradise. Seems like most things in life come back to ourselves. Humans tend to move in a direction toward a reward just as energy moves in the direction of positive energy. I could be wrong but it just seems we believe and make choices in life that we think will bring us a benefit or reward thus making everything in life relative to ourselves.

I would like to see what you guys think? Are we motivated by self interest even when it comes to god?

Keep in mind that I'm not stating absolute truth here, just stating an opinion that can be debatable.


You are 100% right. Self interest is the eternal motivator. But the absolute truth is that there is only ONE self. "No man is an island". In Reality there are no individual motivations or separate intent operating in a bubble. To believe otherwise is the grand illusion. There is only one will, there is only one self interest. And then there is an illusion or delusion of how exactly we as apparent individuals are serving that one self interest.

Satan for instance serves a purpose. It might seem Satan would be the ultimate self serving entity. But if we really believe Christianity, who or what ultimate purpose does he really serve. The one of God's.

There is only one thing. One God, one reality, on truth.. Even the delusion of the one thing serves that very thing.



posted on Dec, 30 2011 @ 06:57 PM
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I'd say that all yearning to God, or turning to spirituality comes from a spark of God within us.

Even to find God as void or the self is some path to God.

I'd say that selfishness is partly natural, and even God's nature can be selfish, although it's not recommended for us.
Perhaps being consciously and selectively selfish is better than being a hypocrite about it.
At least the former position is some beginning of self interrogation, while the latter is often stagnant.

But selfishness also comes from bad spiritual teachers who lose the distinction between God as the supreme enjoyer, and their position as a servant.
So selfishness also comes from material culture, and even religion and tradition are material culture when they lose a certain focus.

But this distinction between absolute selfishness and absolute altruism is a difficult nut to crack, even in general philosophy. People are rarely altruistic without some kind of direct or indirect benefit to themselves or their group.

In many religions people invoke the demi-gods or ancestors for their daily wishes. Although African people in SA have a traditional concept of God, they don't bother him with mundane things, and believe that the ancestors will provide for their more selfish needs.

The World Religions mainly believe that God can be invoked, but even selfishness can become purified through that devotion.
An end to suffering in this body is usually not promised, but rather a kind of immunity, or a strength in the face of such suffering.
edit on 30-12-2011 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)



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