The Limited Virtue: Altruism


“Altruism means to commit an act of goodness without seeking reward or benefit. Ethically speaking, it is the highest love that can be humanly attained … It would seem that even God is incapable of altruistic acts—how human like.”

I read this today on a post and thought it was interesting. Most Atheist’s feel like God is a concocted creation out of mankind’s need to feel relevant in the world. I say most because I was told that even Dawkins wont rule out the possible existence of God. It goes on to show how God can not be altrusitic because it “demands our prayers” and “holds a man in contempt for not following its commandments”.

Altruism

Etymology: French altruisme, from autrui other people, from Old French, oblique case form of autre other, from Latin alter

Date: 1853

1 : unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others

2 : behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species

Notice that it is an action and not an emotion. You have a devotion to the welfare of others, but it doesn’t say you always enjoy it. Since it isn’t an emotion, it really cant be the highest love that can be humanly attained. Since it can be demonstrated by an animal or a plant, it really isn’t a humanly action either. That is more of a side note though.

I wonder how you have an unselfish regard for the welfare of others. The desire to put others ahead of yourself. Helping others when there is no benefit to yourself. Laying down your life to save the life of another. Does one who follows this path continually look for ways to help people or do they just help when they come across someone in need? If it is a devotion, then doesn’t the devotee feel good about their actions. They are obtaining an emotional reward for their action.

Agape

-noun

Date: 1600-1610

1 : the love of God or Christ for humankind.

2 : the love of Christians for other persons, corresponding to the love of God for humankind.

3 : unselfish love of one person for another without sexual implications; brotherly love.

God’s love is described as an agape love. An unconditional, unselfish love for His children. As a parent, do you hate your child when they disobey? If your child is mad at you and stops talking to you, do you automatically start hating that child? No. The parent continues to love the child even when the child is doing something that could be harmful to itself.

I know people have a hard time understanding why God would allow someone to make a mistake due to disobedience to His commandments. If God says don’t have premarital sex and then someone gets pregnant, God hasn’t stop loving that person. If someone stops spending time with God and focuses on work or other activities instead, that doesn’t mean that God has stopped loving them. God doesn’t stop loving just because people move away from Him.

Mankind didn’t start out with the Law. That came as a result of mankind not wanting to have a personal relationship with God. They wanted to be humanists and perform to be worthy. Performance is tangible, easy to understand, and measurable. So the standard was given. The standard was too high for man to obtain, because God knew that man needed God to live. God doesn’t need man. Jesus came to die for man’s rebellion against God and fulfill the standard. Why? So that man could live. God is praised and worshipped, but that isn’t the reason for why he did what He did.

Is God capable of a man-made concept? Despite the human limitations on it, yes. He had already raised it to the next level and added emotions to it and called it love.

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