Saturday, October 25, 2014

Can we change the American mindset?

1. It occurs to me that there is something I despise as a Christian about "both sides" of the political scene in America. I questioned whether to put "despise" because should Christians despise things that are so closely associated with people that it is hard to disentangle the two? "Hate the sin, love the sinner"?

Perhaps if I were a more Christ-like person, I would be able not to despise the attitude I have in mind. I am committed not to act unlovingly toward anyone in the process.

The cardinal sin is not pride. It comes maybe third on the list. No, if love is the supreme command, the mother of all absolutes, then hatred is the cardinal sin. And coming in a close second, selfishness.

Selfishness is a cardinal sin because it stands directly opposed to the love of God and the love of neighbor. When I am selfish, I do not love others. When I am selfish, I do not give God his due.

2. America is grotesquely selfish. Our first preoccupation above all is selfish pleasure. This is understandable because we are, after all, animals.

In the political scene, "both sides" in their most public forms, it seems to me, are bent on pushing different forms of societal selfishness.

On the left, selfishness manifests itself in the form of "rights" language. I have a right to be provided this or that. On the right, it shows itself in language about "freedom." So the one side says, "I have a right for you to give me whatever I want you to give me." The other side says, "Forget you, I have a right to do whatever I want with my stuff."

Both sides are wrong insofar as they are selfish. Those who want to provide for others are of course the more Christ-like, but be aware that the "founding fathers" were simply children of the Enlightenment with their rights language. Philosophy has moved on. Forgive me for believing that half of the US has an entitlement mentality--as if any of us truly deserve anything.

We give to others not because anyone deserves it but because we need to give.

Meanwhile, many have have developed a "You made your own bed, now lie on it" mentality. This is my stuff. I can do whatever I want. From a Christian standpoint, that's hogwash too. Nothing belongs to us. Everything belongs to God.

Remember that a "law and order" mentality, one that is oriented around rules, is an inferior stage of moral development (one that half of "Christian" America is stuck in).
Taken from

3. Here's how societies really work. We live together on the basis of a contract. If we think we are just individual people living next to each other who have no obligations to each other, we are mistaken. That is the recipe for anarchy. Go live on an island somewhere.

We live here together with some ground rules we've agreed on. I won't kill you if you won't kill me. From a Christian standpoint, of course, I won't kill you out of my commitment to God. For the same reason, I must help you if I can when you are in need. Ideally, the fundamental value of love becomes a fundamental principle of living for us.

From an atheist standpoint, I can't kill you because it's in the social contract. I agree not to kill you if you agree not to kill me, and the government is here to make sure we both play by the rules.

4. I abhor selfishness, the "live for me" attitude. Both political parties reek of it. I have a right to... (guns, a bathroom that fits my identity, not paying taxes, someone else to pay my bills).

If a shift really does come to where it is to a personal disadvantage to be a Christian, we will find that all the self-centered "Christians" will leave the faith. We'll find out that there really weren't as many true Christians in the US as we thought.

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