Sunday, October 19, 2014

Christianity & Self Sacrifice

This was a post from 2008 that I am proud of. A taste:
Jim Babka's recent comment to one of my posts brought to mind just how much Christians -- even those who purport to believe the Bible infallible -- differ on the proper interpretation of specific doctrines. Sometimes the differences don't really matter; sometimes they do. I asserted Christianity teaches self-sacrifice. Babka replied: "Christianity is not about self-sacrifice, but living for a higher cause. The distinction is important." I await his explanation. When you google the terms “Christianity” and “self-sacrifice” you see there is a strong current in biblical Christianity that teaches this is what Christianity is about.

Dr. Gregg Frazer's thesis teaches Christianity is about self sacrifice. Indeed, he sees tension between that and the idea of “enlightened self interest” or “self preservation” as put forth by Locke et al.

I’ve come across a number orthodox Christians who don’t like [this] interpretation ... of biblical Christianity precisely because it’s so similar to how Rousseau and Nietzsche characterized Christianity (before Marx) as a temporal opiate and hence something where tyrannical rulers can make Christians into good slaves. Yet, I find this interpretation of Christianity to be authentically biblical and well within the tradition of orthodox hermeneutics. After all, Nietzsche and Rousseau weren’t shabby thinkers. ...

1 comment:

JMS said...

Jon - I agree with you on the issue of Christianity and "self-sacrifice" because I am reading James Byrd's book, "Sacred Scripture, Sacred War," about the use of the Bible in sermons during the American Revolution. Byrd would agree with you. In the book's index there are 17 entries related to "sacrifice."(p. 241) ON p. 11 Byrd states that, "The ideal of sacrifice was central to the republican concept of virtue. Liberty cam only when people of integrity sacrificed themselves for their nation. This was the essence of patriotism." Then he links colonial Protestant American notions of sacrifice to Foxe's book of martyrs, and concludes that "suffering was central to their faith." (p. 11)