Does being a Christian stop you being a good person???

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by x, Jul 15, 2008.

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  1. x

    x Active Member

    Hey guys I just wanted to get peoples thoughts on this topic….

    There is a school of thought which holds that what makes an action right or wrong, is not the action itself but the motivation or reason for the action. For example….

    Example A
    For example lets say a man gives €100 to charity because he cares about the charity and wants to do some good, it is the mans hope that his gift will improve the life of others. I hope it should be clear to everyone that this action is what we might term right/good.

    Example B
    This time a different man with similar financial means gives €100 to the exact same charity but does so not because he cares about the charity and wants to help other people, but because he wants to impress a woman who works at the charity because he wants to sleep with her. He does not love the woman he simply hopes to impress her with his 'generosity' and then fuck her. I hope it should be clear to all that even though the action, namely giving €100 to charity, is identical to the one in Example A the motivation for the actions means that the man in Example B has behaved in a wrong/bad way and done a wrong/bad thing.

    Christians Vs Atheists
    When an Atheist does something ‘good’ lets say for example giving their life to save the life an other person. They very often do so without the prospect of reward. Their motivation for the action is simply to help others. However a Christian (and people of many other religions) will very often do good things, like sacrifacing their lif to save others, as they believe by doing so they will secure a place in paradise in the after life and avoid eternal damnation. Very often their actins although 'good' and apparently sefless will be motivated on some level by selfish goals. So the question is... Does belief in God and in heaven/after life prevent you from becoming a good person???
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2008
  2. Atheist Demon

    Atheist Demon Account Closed

    There is a school of thought which holds that what makes an action right or wrong, is not the action itself but the motivation or reason for the action. For example….

    Example A
    For example lets say a man gives €100 to charity because he cares about the charity and wants to do some good, it is the mans hope that his gift will improve the life of others. I hope it should be clear to everyone that this action is what we might term right/good.

    Example B
    This time a different man with similar financial means gives €100 to the exact same charity but does so not because he cares about the charity and want to help other people, but because he wants to impress a woman who works at the charity because he wants to sleep with her. He does not love the woman he simply hopes to impress her with his 'generosity' and then fuck her. I hope it should be clear to all that even though the action, namely giving €100 to charity, is identical to the one in Example A the motivation for the actions means that the man is Example B has behaved in a wrong/bad way and done a wrong/bad thing.

    Christians Vs Atheists
    When an Atheist does something ‘good’ lets say for example giving their life to save the life an other person. They very often do so without the prospect of reward. Their motivation for the action is simply to help others. However a Christian (and people of many other religions) will very often do good things as they believe by doing so they will secure a place in paradise in the after life and avoid eternal damnation. Very often their actins although 'good' will be motivated on some level by selfish goals. So the question is... Does belief in God and in heaven/after life prevent you from becoming a good person???[/QUOTE]

    Not really, there are good ppl in all religions. There are god loving/fearing christians who what to do the right thing. Atheist can be good ppl too. I try to be good and I don't believe in God. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to help other ppl and make their life better.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2010
  3. x

    x Active Member

    I’m not sure I understand your response....it appears to make no sense and does not relate to the question…This is probably my fault as I made the question unclear…. can you elaborate on your response
     
  4. Atheist Demon

    Atheist Demon Account Closed

    well I meant that christians are imperfect too and they will make mistakes and no there isn't anything wrong being one if that is what you meant.
     
  5. unbearable

    unbearable Well-Known Member

    ryan do you mean atheist do it out of the goodness of their hearts and perhaps christians(and all other religions) do it for the possible reward from god, making it a little bit of a selfish act?

    unless you can get into the heads of all religious people and analyse their motivation I think its a little hard to say and i would be reluctant to stereotype.
     
  6. x

    x Active Member

    Yeah that’s what I thought you meant in your original post, but unfortunately you have misunderstood the topic, this is my fault as I made my original post overly wordy. To put it in more simplistic terms the topic we are discussing is….

    Does having selfish motivation for a ‘good’ deed prevent the deed from truly being good?

    Yes this is closer to what I meant

    I see your point however I do not consider it to be stereotyping to say that all Christians believe in heaven and believe their good deeds will be rewarded in heaven. Believing this is a fundamental corner stone of the Christina faith. I am yet to meet the Christian that does not believe in Heaven.

    Therefore on some level all a Christians actions must be motivated at least in part by their belief they should live for their God (Jehovah) and do Gods will. Their motivation is in part to do the work of their God Jehovah and thus to spend eternity in paradise. An atheist has no such motivation.

    Let us say two soldiers give their lives fighting for freedom on the beaches of Normandy. One is a devout Christian the other an atheist. Which of the two made the greatest sacrifice when they gave their lives? The one who expected to spend eternity in paradise after death or the atheist?

    It is clear to me the Athiest made the greater sacrifice and did the greater deed
     
  7. nedflanders

    nedflanders Well-Known Member

    Drat. You question isn't as stupid as I expected from your headline. And I was all set to make a comment about that selfish jerk, Mother Theresa.

    The Christian spin on things goes something more like this: acting in holier ways is a proper expression of gratitude for what God has already given us (our lives, the Earth and its beauty, baseball), rather than an attempt at spiritual brown-nosing. Even the best, most generous saints began their lives deeply in God's debt, and the way they spent their lives is merely an expression of gratitude for gifts they never earned.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2010
  8. unbearable

    unbearable Well-Known Member

    no i didnt mean its stereotyping saying they believe in heaven, i meant its hard to know if they are doing it for selfish reasons or not, just because someone believes in heaven it doesn't mean they are only doing good deeds to get the reward, they could still just be doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, hence its hard to know the answer to the question.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2010
  9. x

    x Active Member

    I beg to differ. Throughout the bible the carrot and the stick approach to good deeds is encouraged. For example in the ten commandments, the very bed rock of Judeo Christian beliefs, does not Jehovah state words to the effect of….

    “You shall have no god but I, for I am a jealous god and I shall punish you, your children and your great grand children if you worship an other God."

    At what point does this deity state you shall have no god but I, in order to thank me for the beauties of life on earth and baseball?

    And does not Jesus that other bedrock of Christian beliefs state words to the effect of…

    “who so ever believes in me shall not die but shall have ever lasting life”

    clearly he was encouraging people to believe in him and the Jewish deity Jehovah who he claimed to be the son of, and offering them the ever lasting life in paradise as a reward.

    Where in the bible does it state to do good deeds as a way of thanking god for the world….where?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2008
  10. Insignificant

    Insignificant Account Closed

    i am going to do my best to respond to this although i'm not the best with words.

    i am a christian personally. i believe that being a christian is more based on faith than works. i feel ned there came closest as to how it is....

    gratitude for what God has already given us (our lives, the Earth and its beauty, baseball), rather than an attempt at spiritual brown-nosing. Even the best, most generous saints began their lives deeply in God's debt, and the way they spent their lives is merely an expression of gratitude for gifts they never earned

    i also happen to believe it's a matter of living our lives as an example of how God is. if that makes sense to ya.

    anyways i'm going to let this go for now. my words are becoming harder to come by.

    please take care
     
  11. x

    x Active Member

    To be honest that does not make a great deal of sense. If your referring to the Judeo Christian god named Jehovah, does this mean you live your life by punishing the so called wicked by flooding the earth and raining down fire upon them for the so called crime of being a sodomite?

    Or if you are referring to Jesus as a deity does this mean you live your life by referring to non Jewish people as Dogs and refusing to help them? (Mark 7:24-30 btw)
     
  12. Insignificant

    Insignificant Account Closed

    i stricktly mean it to the good. it's not any christians place to pass judgement along to anyone else.
     
  13. nedflanders

    nedflanders Well-Known Member

    Bullshit.

    Jesus told the disciples that if they weren't welcomed in a particular town, to shake its dust from their feet in testimony against the townspeople (Mark 6:11). Jesus instructed Peter, "If you forgive men's sins, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (John 20:23) And He Himself chased the moneylenders out of the Temple with a whip (John 2:15).

    Christians are instructed to be charitable. They are not instructed to be pushovers. They are most certainly not instructed to stand by and let others do evil.
     
  14. nedflanders

    nedflanders Well-Known Member

    Fortunately, your opinion doesn't matter. The content of Christianity is spelled out quite specifically and objectively. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 2099:

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2010
  15. nedflanders

    nedflanders Well-Known Member

    And here's the corresponding passage from Matthew (15:21-28):


    In each case, it is clear that Jesus was indeed ministering to both Jews and Gentiles, and does, indeed, hear the prayers of non-Jews, since He was moved by the Gentile woman's supplication on behalf of her daughter.

    More explicit endorsements of this universal call to discipleship can be found in John 4:1-42 (the "woman at the well") and Luke 10:25-37 (the parable of the good samaritan). And, of course, all over St Paul's epistles--for example, Galatians 3:28:


    Any other silly questions?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2010
  16. Esmeralda

    Esmeralda Well-Known Member

    This goes back to the age-old question of whether or not there is any unselfish good deed.

    Now, Protestants believe that it is not works that save us, but faith alone. So by this rationale, the faithful would be doing good deeds NOT because of the promise of salvation, but because they believe they are doing the right thing based on the teachings of Christ.

    Catholics believe that "faith without works is dead", meaning that if one has true faith, they will naturally choose to do what is right simply because it is the right thing to do.

    Either way, we are not talking about "earning" your way into Heaven, because Christianity by its very nature admits that no-one is worthy of salvation because we are all sinners.

    Also, as per your example of sacrificing one's life for another's, there is nothing in the Bible that requires this of anyone. There is a passage stating that there is no greater love thatn the love of one who is willing to lay down his life for his friend, but again, this is not a requirement.

    One might even say that since the faithful Christian has "assurance" of salvation, that his/her actions are actually LESS selfish than those of the atheist, who may have any number of motivations for doing good deeds that may indeed be selfish (the "feel good" factor, the fame that may come from saving another's life, etc.).

    At any rate, I completely disagree with your thesis for obvious reasons.
     
  17. Darken

    Darken Well-Known Member

    There is a really simple answer to your question. Both atheist and christians some times do good deeds for selfish reasons. To say one or the other is worse is a bad generalization. It is totally a personal thing that doesn't come about from either belief system. So imo you shouldn't judge people based on that, but there individual character. Also like anastasia said your whole idea is flawed in the first place, cause christians don't get into heaven for their deeds but for their faith. You could be a mass murderer and rapist and be accepted into heaven cause your belief in jesus as your saviour.
     
  18. Random

    Random Well-Known Member

    Christians Vs Atheists
    When an Atheist does something ‘good’ lets say for example giving their life to save the life an other person. They very often do so without the prospect of reward. Their motivation for the action is simply to help others. However a Christian (and people of many other religions) will very often do good things, like sacrifacing their lif to save others, as they believe by doing so they will secure a place in paradise in the after life and avoid eternal damnation. Very often their actins although 'good' and apparently sefless will be motivated on some level by selfish goals. So the question is... Does belief in God and in heaven/after life prevent you from becoming a good person???[/QUOTE]

    Actually, it's possible that the motive of the atheist was selfish as well. Even if you don't believe in an afterlife or "Heaven" or whatever it is, giving your life for another is viewed as noble and heroic by other human beings. So in a way, the person who is remembered as a hero in that way has achieved a sort of immortality in that he (or she) will be remembered long after he would have died a natural death.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2010
  19. see

    see Well-Known Member

    Romans 12:2

    Dont copy the behaviour and customs of the world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.Then you will know what God wants you to do and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.:biggrin:
     
  20. Esmeralda

    Esmeralda Well-Known Member

    Perfect quote for the question at hand :) The good deeds of a true Christian are not a mere "imitation" of what they see as being God's will, but literally, God's will becomes their will because of the intrinsic "rightness" of it.
     
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