+37

“The Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or — if they think there is not — at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it.” C.S. Lewis

63%Agree37%Disagree
Fanatics avatar Religion
Share
3 41

This doesn’t apply solely to Christians, people can be “genuinely good” without Jesus. So Christians aren’t in a different position in that sense.

Also you could argue that we are ‘inherently’ good for selfish reasons, stemming back to our primitive ancestors’ sole purpose to survive, i.e. the Selfish Gene Theory.

@PopsicleStick This doesn’t apply solely to Christians, people can be “genuinely good” without Jesus. So Christians aren’t...

But Christians do believe that we can't be "good" without God. We can do good deeds, but what are good deeds without the right motive behind doing them?

@Fanatic But Christians do believe that we can't be "good" without God. We can do good deeds, but what are good deeds...

I'm assuming you meant "can".

They're still deeds that will benefit others, that's what matters. So it doesn't really matter what the motive behind a good deed is as long as there is no evil intent.

@PopsicleStick I'm assuming you meant "can". They're still deeds that will benefit others, that's what matters. So it doesn't...

No, I meant can't. We believe that God is good and without God, we are nothing. It's important to bless others and do good works, but the intentions do matter to God.

@Fanatic No, I meant can't. We believe that God is good and without God, we are nothing. It's important to bless others and...

Oh okay, I assumed that because that sounds ridiculous to me. Your prerequisite of a "good" person is that that they have to be Christian, I get that but in no way do I understand your thought process. It's absurd that people consider having faith in a god a virtue.

Do you disagree with the statement "God prefers kind atheists over hateful Christians"?

@PopsicleStick Oh okay, I assumed that because that sounds ridiculous to me. Your prerequisite of a "good" person is that that...

I don't think you are a good person just because you're a Christian. Im a christian and i sin all the time. But I can be forgiven time and time again only through Jesus Christ. When you sin against people constantly, they wont always forgive you. But it is my belief that God always will. And I believe he can set my paths straight, because he has.

@Fanatic I don't think you are a good person just because you're a Christian. Im a christian and i sin all the time. But I...

Yeah I figured, that's why I didn't say that.

I find the whole concept of sin and forgiveness faulty, but that's a whole different discussion.

@PopsicleStick This doesn’t apply solely to Christians, people can be “genuinely good” without Jesus. So Christians aren’t...

I wanna start by saying, I'm an atheist, there isn't a bias of me being Christian for me to agree with this.

Yes, people who are not Christian can be good, the post doesn't say they aren't, the post is describing how the Christian feels about their own goodness, that the greenhouse does not attract sun because it is bright, the greenhouse is bright because of the sun- I can see from your comment about assuming they meant can't because it just sounds ridiculous you are not understanding their point. God doesn't love you because your good. You are good because God loves you. And since God loves everyone, even the atheists are good because he loves us (I know it says in the Bible we're going to hell cuz we don't believe, but I'm not sure if that means he doesn't love us. I'm just going off of the position of the average Christian) Also, they're not saying that's how it objectively is, but how it feels for them. I don't believe any of that, seeing as how I don't believe in God, but their position on being good is different than my position about being good.

I agree that people are good for inherently selfish reasons. But I don't believe in a selfish gene, I've never even heard of that before. There is no true altruism, and any sort of altruistic like behavior is reciprocal. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. Even when there is no reward from the person's whose back you scratched, there is cognitive reward and studies have shown that. Doing good makes you feel good. People need each other to survive, and it requires a group effort. It doesn't work if only one person is doing it. You feed a starving orphan, and some day if you die, hopefully someone will feed your starving child. I don't think there's a gene for that, I think that's just how it worked out because we need each other to survive.

@Frank_n_Furter I wanna start by saying, I'm an atheist, there isn't a bias of me being Christian for me to agree with this. Yes...

Basically my definition of good conflicted with hers. But yeah, your explanation gave me a better understanding of the post.

Maybe, giving themselves to God or Jesus alleviates their guilt from being told we are all sinners. In turn making them feel like they’re truly good people, and interpreting that as being God’s love being the cause of their goodness.

It's a metaphor.It proposes the effect that that genes have on organisms are as if they themselves are selfish;their only interested in multiplying.

Cool. Specifically what kind of cognitive rewards, how does it work?

Atheists do good things because humans are good. They do not need approval from their peers. They are not bright because a light shines on them, their light comes from within. Your author is misguided and brainwashed into thinking that humans without a god are fundamentally selfish. He is wrong.

VicZincs avatar VicZinc Disagree -4Reply
@VicZinc Atheists do good things because humans are good. They do not need approval from their peers. They are not bright...

I think we are naturally selfish with or without God. That's just how human nature is. I know very few people who would donate thousands of dollars to a charity knowing they would get zero recognition for doing so. It is our nature to want to please others.

@Fanatic I think we are naturally selfish with or without God. That's just how human nature is. I know very few people who...

I could not disagree more. We are generous and loving. I do find that religious people are somewhat less so than atheist. Every atheist I know would give the shirt off his back to help anyone and refuse to accept acknowledgement for his actions. I suspect that is why some people are attracted to religion, they have a fundamental flaw that makes them selfish and they need an artificial god-like punisher to keep them from being bad.

VicZincs avatar VicZinc Disagree -5Reply
@VicZinc I could not disagree more. We are generous and loving. I do find that religious people are somewhat less so than...

That's not fair, you happen to surround yourself with people you consider to be nice, and generosity is relative.
For us we have a saying, "give so secretly that you left hand doesn't know what your right hand gives"
So perhaps you just don't know what people donate or what they do!
But I think without the fear of an afterlife most people do what society deems as good because they wish to assimilate into society peacefully. (I'm not saying religious people are only good because they don't want to be punished and I'm not saying atheists are only good to fit into society)

@Naggs That's not fair, you happen to surround yourself with people you consider to be nice, and generosity is relative...

I don't know. My experience has been that virtually every atheist I have met is kind, charitable, open hearted and generous in their giving. While many staunchly religious folks are tight fisted, conservative, espouse extreme right-wing capitalist views, begrudge others, and whine about how they should be exempt from paying taxes.

VicZincs avatar VicZinc Disagree -6Reply
@VicZinc I don't know. My experience has been that virtually every atheist I have met is kind, charitable, open hearted and...

Haha I think you're looking for the good in one group and bad in the other. We're all sinners and we all have flaws, I'm not saying Christians are any better than atheists, because that's simply not true. Christians don't claim to be any better, and we'd be lying if we didn't say we're hypocrites. We're inconsistent, there's no doubt. But no Christian I know has ever claimed to be perfect in the first place. I just claim to believe in a God who is.

@Fanatic Haha I think you're looking for the good in one group and bad in the other. We're all sinners and we all have...

The biggest difference I have observed is that (most) religious folks are taught that humans are basically bad (all people were born broken and selfish, saved only through the power of divine intervention - based on the sin of the the first woman).

Whereas atheists believe that people were born good, instinctively concerned with the welfare of others.

It comes down to a simple question: which behavior—selfishness or cooperation—is intuitive, and which is the product of rational reflection?

My experience has been that you act selfishly only when you override your intuitive cooperative impulses with rational self-interest and that you were taught to do this by the very institution that you hold so dear.

In every scientific study I have read, faster—that is, more intuitive—decisions were associated with higher levels of cooperation, whereas slower—that is, more reflective—decisions were associated with higher levels of selfishness. These results suggest that our first impulse is to cooperate.

We become reflective (and reflexive) when we believe that we need to be careful because "the devil" is out to trick us. When we are taught that our impulses are bad and that we need to ask ourselves questions before we respond, like "what Jesus would do?" When in simple fact, if we just did what came naturally we would all be kind, cooperative and generous - it is all this darned thinking and rationalizing that causes us to worry about self preservation and who's out to get us.

VicZincs avatar VicZinc Disagree -2Reply
@VicZinc The biggest difference I have observed is that (most) religious folks are taught that humans are basically bad (all...

"The biggest difference I have observed is that (most) religious folks are taught that humans are basically bad (all people were born broken and selfish, saved only through the power of divine intervention - based on the sin of the the first woman)."

and actually how many religions have the concept of original sin?

only one that I know of

both Adam and Eve messed up and were forgiven

there is a passage that singles out Adam for blame
but there is not a passage that singles out Eve

you're taking one religion and saying it represents most religious folks


human nature is essentially good
and only responsible for their own actions
not that of others

@fuzala "The biggest difference I have observed is that (most) religious folks are taught that humans are basically bad...

I agree with everything you said. "...I observe..." because, unfortunately I am (for the most part) only exposed to christians and jews. I know very few muslims and even few eastern religion observers. So yes, sadly, when I say I observe religious folks, those are who I observe.

VicZincs avatar VicZinc Disagree 0Reply
@VicZinc I agree with everything you said. "...I observe..." because, unfortunately I am (for the most part) only exposed...

that was my bad
I missed the "observe"

that being said
Judaism doesn't have original sin

and although most denominations of Christianity have this concept
not all of them do

@VicZinc The biggest difference I have observed is that (most) religious folks are taught that humans are basically bad (all...

I guess it's all what you consider sin. I do believe we were created with good in our heart and we have a desire to do good things. But I know for a fact that we all do wrong in our lifetime. Whether or not you want to call it sin, I really don't care. But the thing is, yes, humans have good qualities, we're not monsters, most of us want to love and sympathize and be honest and all those wonderful things. But at some point, we will lie, we will cheat, we will be selfish, we will hate. That's what I'm trying to get at. We're may not be constantly sinning, but we're still sinners

@Fanatic I guess it's all what you consider sin. I do believe we were created with good in our heart and we have a desire to...

And so back to my down vote on this post. Lewis claims that the brightness come from outside the human, I say it comes from within.

VicZincs avatar VicZinc Disagree 0Reply
@VicZinc And so back to my down vote on this post. Lewis claims that the brightness come from outside the human, I say it...

I think he's saying that people influence your decisions to do good. It's what you do when no ones around that shows who you truly are.

@Fanatic I think he's saying that people influence your decisions to do good. It's what you do when no ones around that...

"The Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good." Agreed - christians think that they cannot be good without the help of their god.

"They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or — if they think there is not — at least they hope to deserve approval from good men." Disagreed - non-Christians are good because they are human and humans are naturally good.

"But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him." To me this means that without christ, christians are afraid they would be bad.

"He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us;" I'll have to his word for this. But I find it sad that christians think without god they are not good and the only god can make them good.

"just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it.” This is bogus analogy. Non christians are bright with their own light, they do not need a god to shine on them, they shine on their own.

I just find it really sad that so many people can't imagine being good without the aid of a supernatural force; but I am happy that so many people I know find that the source of goodness is within themselves and they shine love, beauty and happiness in this world without having to rely on some external impetus. I only wish that those who cannot manage to shine on their own could see their inner strength and just be the naturally good person they are without needing a crutch to hold them up and "make them good."

VicZincs avatar VicZinc Disagree -2Reply
@VicZinc "The Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good." **Agreed - christians...

I'm sorry you find that loving a God and believing in Him with all your heart is sad for some reason. And as for being "good", I guess it depends on your definition. I'm not here to argue about that. I believe humans can do good deeds without God, no doubt, but speaking for myself, I was at my all time low before I found God. Depressed and anxious and everything in between, so God finding me in my time of need was a miracle. I do believe I would be nothing without Him. That's not sad to me. That's amazing how much he's helped me through life. And that's fine that you don't believe in him, but I do with all my heart. Lets just respect each other and not call each other "sad" for believing in different things. I've happier than I've ever been in my life

@Fanatic I'm sorry you find that loving a God and believing in Him with all your heart is sad for some reason. And as for...

Well I am glad that you are happy. Perhaps if I ever went through the kind of turmoil you did I would have a different outlook. I cannot help being sad that so many people (perhaps not you, but clearly other posters here) believe that humans are inherently flawed. I know this debate has been going on for centuries and we certainly won't resolve it here.

I am sure there are also believers that think that god created humans in his own image and one of my favorite one-liners is "god doesn't make junk." When I did believe in a creator I did believe that humans were his finest creation so it bothers me when people who still believe indicate that we are somehow flawed. That is what I got from Lewis's quote. I did not mean to imply that I found you "sad" but that rather that I found the outlook present in this quote "sad".

VicZincs avatar VicZinc Disagree 0Reply
@VicZinc Well I am glad that you are happy. Perhaps if I ever went through the kind of turmoil you did I would have a...

We are God's finest creation! We were created in His image and he beautifully crafted us before we were even born. It's not him who makes us flawed, it's us. And compared to the world, sure humans are nice and sympathetic and compassionate for the most part. But when Christians say that humans are flawed, we're comparing ourselves to God. He is perfection, yet here we are, his beautiful creation, lying and being disrespectful to our parents or other authorities in our lives. Or gossiping. Or harming our body with drugs or alcohol. Or judging non believers. It's all shameful when I want to be as much like God as I can be. Which I know is impossible because I am flawed in some ways. Not all of them. But definitely in some.

@Fanatic We are God's finest creation! We were created in His image and he beautifully crafted us before we were even born...

I am proud to be human. Humans are fallible. Therefore I am proud to be fallible. I have no desire to be perfect.

VicZincs avatar VicZinc Disagree 0Reply
@VicZinc I am proud to be human. Humans are fallible. Therefore I am proud to be fallible. I have no desire to be perfect.

It's not so much that I desire to be perfect. More that I desire to please God and do things in His name, which I know sounds stupid to you because you don't believe in Him or know Him. And you probably think I shouldn't live for something else, I should be living for myself and not depending on something I can't see. But I truly love and trust God so much that I am willing to do anything he says.

@VicZinc The biggest difference I have observed is that (most) religious folks are taught that humans are basically bad (all...

Islam believes everyone is born pure actually and that evil is a learned behaviour which is why we believe all children go to heaven regardless of their actions
And I don't want to assume about Judaism but I'm almost positive it doesn't believe in humans being born flawed either.
It's just Christianity..

@Naggs Islam believes everyone is born pure actually and that evil is a learned behaviour which is why we believe all...

Well, 90% of the faithful I interact with are christians, so that explains (but does not forgive) my misconception. Thanks for straightening me out.

I am glad I am not the only one who believes humans are not born selfish and flawed.

VicZincs avatar VicZinc Disagree 0Reply
@VicZinc Well, 90% of the faithful I interact with are christians, so that explains (but does not forgive) my...

Well that's why we go more towards the route of keeping a state of purity then seeking salvation.
Prevention instead of cure type deal
But not saying that we don't ask for forgiven when we mess up we just try to avoid it from the start I guess

@Naggs Islam believes everyone is born pure actually and that evil is a learned behaviour which is why we believe all...

Christianity also believes that children are innocent and will go to heaven, because they are not old enough to decide for themselves

@VicZinc I don't know. My experience has been that virtually every atheist I have met is kind, charitable, open hearted and...

Well, that's not a good type of religious.
For me I surround myself with religious people because its who I'm comfortable with and I find the more attuned to their spirituality the less they care about material goods.
For instance, I have a friend who will literally give anything to you that you ask and regularly donates but no one knows because being generous isn't about people knowing its simply about benefiting others.
I try my very best to be giving (I don't know if I'm generous) but I do so because I know God has my back so I'm not worried about losing my "wealth"

This comment was deleted by its author.
@1918822

Well I'm sure generous people come from all walks of life.
But we believe that it's as humans we are flawed and no one is perfect but that you should strive for the closet to perfection as you can get.
Maybe they behave this way because of a certain "image" they must maintain of the typical American person? Idk

@Naggs Well, that's not a good type of religious. For me I surround myself with religious people because its who I'm...

my comments are based on my little world where the religious people are reading the bible not the quran so I honestly cannot generalize to all faiths. My observations are based on the faithful people I know who fear original sin and believe that humans are flawed and need to be saved.

VicZincs avatar VicZinc Disagree 0Reply
@VicZinc I could not disagree more. We are generous and loving. I do find that religious people are somewhat less so than...

I'm not saying we aren't all generous and loving and that we would act selfishly towards others. I'm saying a lot of the times, we do have selfish motives, no matter who we believe in. That's a fact. Doesn't mean we aren't generous and loving, but we all fall in this trap of doing good things to make us feel or look good.

@VicZinc That may be true among the believers, but not among the atheists I know.

Then I would go as far as to say you don't really know them. Anyone can seem like a good person from the outside. You never know what they're thinking or what their real motives are.

Please   login   or signup   to leave a comment.