Very good insight.
Very good insight.
May I translate it into “free will is self-serving motivation”?
If yes, then free will is part of a life serving life itself. For this reason, it’s not free, though sometimes it looks random or not correct.
You may, but I certainly will not. Such ways of thinking, along with how self-serving you are, is a matter of choice and habit. Just because we have free will doesn’t mean we are always free. We are self-programming (i.e. habitual) entities and it is in the creation of these habits where our choices are primarily employed. However, none of this means that everyone originally had the same free will. Free will is both very fragile and highly variable, depending on a great many things like awareness. How can you be free to make choices when you are not even aware of the alternatives. This is just another reason why judging others is foolish, and why we can only be blind guides. Only God can save us, not because of some divine magic but because only God sees the truth of our situation and who we really are.
I do not doubt that many people simply cannot see any alternative to being self-serving, and what many others call serving others is really nothing but a relabeling of what amounts to no more than serving themselves (sometimes they are the most self-serving of all). But I do not believe the sophistry that there is no alternative to being self-serving. I don’t even think truly serving others is all that rare, but however rare it may be, I frankly think these denials are a poor excuse and self deception. I see no need for wallowing in self-contempt but I would really much prefer an honest evaluation and facing the facts about myself.
Sounds like self-serving is bad.
Could you please tell the difference between “serving others” and slavery?
Are people morally good when they demand or expect others to serve them (not let others serve themselves because self-serving is, at least not good)?
Nope. Self-serving is rather natural. In an infant, it is perfectly righteous. Not only is it their one responsibility but it is the only thing they can do. My objection was only to this rather self-serving rhetoric that this is the only alternative ever. It is not.
Easy peasy! Slavery is when somebody makes you serve others whether you want to or not. But people can also serve others because that is what they want to do. Most likely because they love those they serve. The God I believe in is like that.
No. And the God I believe in is not like that. Moreover, when the god your religion is teaching sounds like this, it is most likely because this religion is the creation of those using god and religion as a tool of power, control, and manipulation.
I have heard a lot of people say it’s immoral, it’s wrong, it’s selfish not to serve people when they demand you to serve them. They could be religious people and atheists. Usually they are communists, socialists, or cult operating people.
I understand why they make such type of morals. Their morals give their victims no moral ground to defend.
Come again? If I heard someone say that I would tell that person they sound like a big jerk, and I hope whatever co-dependent victim they have roped into any such arrangement gets counseling for spiritual abuse and learns proper boundaries. Ew.
There are a series of commands Jesus gives people in the Gospels that have been misapplied throughout history to try to keep people content being subservient.
Jesus did say that if someone strikes you, you should offer him the other cheek.
Or if someone forces you to walk a mile, you should offer to walk an extra mile.
Or if someone takes your coat, you should give him your tunic as well.
(I am not double checking any of this with commentaries, just going on memory, so I may not have every detail exactly right) In the context in which he was speaking these referred to things that Roman soldiers (detested occupiers of the Jewish homeland) could legally demand from Jews. They could strike them once without retribution. They could demand Jews carry their stuff for them, but for no longer than a mile. They could requisition coats without compensating the owners, but they couldn’t take anything else.
Jesus was encouraging a form of passive resistance that resisted oppression with responses that highlighted the injustice of the situation. These passages were appropriated and used to great effect by non-violent civil rights workers in America. These were things that happened with an audience and the goal was changing the relationship between oppressor and oppressed. By turning the other cheek, walking the extra mile, or giving the tunic too, the oppressed person reclaimed agency in the situation, because the choice was theirs. It was intended to be a flipping of the power dynamic, not a further debasing. Roman soldiers were not legally allowed to demand two miles, two strikes, or a coat and a tunic.
But when people misappropriate these concepts and take them out of context to tell abused wives and children they need to stay in dangerous situations and “turn the other cheek” to abusers, or that you can never stand up to people who are taking advantage of you, that’s wrong.
I think the proper question would be, Who is God? Is God someOne Who will take care of all of my problems if I just believe in God?, or Is God some One Who will help me if I will help God?
God is not the slave of those who believe in God. God helps those who need God’s help to do God’s Will. There was a old man who was a sheep herder in the dessert. One day he saw a strange sight on the mountain.
When he went to check it out, he found out that God had a job for him. God wanted him to go to Pharaoh to tell the God/King to release the Hebrew slaves from slavery and let they go to Israel.
After much hesitation Moses said yes and a close relationship with God/YHWH was born. What does God want you to do for God and for others?
There are a lot of people saying something like that explicitly or implicitly. For example, they may redefine moral, call good evil and evil good to justify their aggression and leave their victims no moral grounds to defend. And some people may invent ideologies like communism and socialism to cover or justify their aggression.
My first serious Bible teacher said God didn’t want believers’ obedience or service. God’s will was to help people. God would reward those who believed in Him and followed His rules or commandments. In other words, God takes care of people by demanding people to believe in Him and follow His rules.
I think his teaching is pretty easy to be accepted.
That not what Jesus taught. The Pharisees and the Sadducees believed in God and followed God’s Rules, but they crucified Jesus.
Jesus calls us, as He called His disciples, to trust and obey, to have faith in Him as the Messiah and to follow in His footsteps of loving and serving.
When Shaun asks: "But does God’s domain have its boundary or limit?" perhaps he is wondering if God’s concept of Goodness is altogether different than the human concept of Goodness.
This often-quoted passage from Mathew can lose some of its simplistic reassurance when we stop to think that God created the sparrow hawk that brought the poor little sparrow down–all as part of His Plan. It is up to each of us to construct a worldview that can perceive an ultimate Goodness in what, to human eyes, may seem ultimate evil.
Some fifty years ago my nephew, Jackie, contracted leukemia, and he fought it bravely for two years before finally succumbing to it. Jackie made visible to me, and to dozens of others, that somewhere, perhaps hidden deep inside the human psyche, was the Image of our God–and that Image was intimately associated with suffering. Jackie’s funeral was attended by as many nurses (nuns) as could be spared and the hospital chaplain got permission to say the eulogy–they all felt compelled to testify how deeply a pre-teen boy had affected their lives.
He certainly affected mine. I had a fresh Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry and was planning a career with Shell Development. Instead we sold our brand new home in a Chicago suburb, and I took a postdoc position with an NIH grant to develop new computer methods to develop better anti leukemic medicinals. Its hard to say just how much good our efforts actually did over these intervening years, but all the big pharmaceutical companies in the world still use our software.
So exactly what reward did Jackie, that freckled faced little league baseball player, get out of life? I leave that up to God’s generosity. And for anyone who searches for Him as you search, @gmt, I am sure you will be rewarded, I just don’t know how.
Touching story, Leo. One of my residency attendings was a pedi oncologist, and was the finest doctor doing the hardest job I’ve ever known. She would fight tooth and nail for her patients, in an time when success was not as great as the present and the losses were devastating. Dr. May Wong inspired me both then and now.
Thanks Albert Leo for your moving story.
Yes sparrows Vs hawks can only be best understood through the fall of creation (Genesis 3) as the only other alternative is evolution - strong eats the weak. I am greatly comforted by the words of Jesus from Matthew 6.
I don’t interpret God through my experience
I do interpret my experiences through God’s goodness.
Then He’s more a role model than a king.
Hi Al, Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the touching story!
The boundary or limit means whether or not there’s something that God couldn’t intervene even if He wants.
It’s like the “big bad wolf” story. When we were children, the word wolf meant something cruel and bad (we supposed it’s something against us). Now we understand the cruel wolves are a part of an eco system. Without their aggression and cruelty, deer won’t live better, though it doesn’t justify sadist cruelty.
The relationship between human beings is certainly different than that between wolves and deer. I think religious teaching should take it into account.
I have another story. I had never had anyone in my life that practised “lead by example” until I met that Bible teacher I mentioned. He taught love but never demanded us to love. We felt loved and started to understand love and God, and realised what we should do. Maybe it’s very shallow. But it’s a great change in my life.
It sounds very biblical to me. Sometimes the simple things are the hardest things.
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.
Jesus is both Role Model and King. He is the Way, then Truth, and the Light You cannot pigeon hole God or Jesus.
However God does not demand people to believe in God. God does not need us to believe. God does not need anything from us. Jesus wants us to believe in Him because He is the Truth, and to follow Him because He is the Way. He wants you to do things because they are right and you want to, not because God demands it.
Jesus said, “love one another as I have loved you.”
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