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Myrkhoos

Problems with behaviour of charity from Christianity

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                   It is said , and I observe it to be true, that, on the surface, many self identified Christians of many denominations make works of charity. I define here charity by giving objects or services to some in need. Not a very concrete definition, but it works for I want to say.

                   The problem is how and why. One of the reasons professed in the New Testament is most clearly threats. If do not feed the hungry or visit the poor , or, or...than you will end up in eternal torments. One of the issues here is that genuine compassion cannot be made out of fear, at least when someone needs comforting for a loss. If I sense someone is coming to me all anxious and about that if he fails to comfort me he will be punished I could not in the least feel comfort, or care, or compassion, which requires a sort of inner peace , freedom and warmth, not obligation and anxiety. 

                   Another is the idea of pleasing God, so a kind of weird narcisstic feeling, where the believer has to maintain a good image in front of the Father, always seeking to impress him and not having a life of his own.This again is problematic. 

                   Another issue is that the highest good in the Christian mind is salvation, so all the others, are a way of convincing others or scoring personal points in accepting the teaching, a sort of PR tactic. Like a tobacco company building a lung hospital, or something else. Their interest lies elsewhere.

                   Even another is that while in some vague way we agree on what good IS, christianity has very definite ideas, some more mystical and harder to express of course, but anyway. So anything from eating to relationships, to and to and from are subject to their own ideas. For example, we might say a very vague idea about loving children. Some people in the world think that sexual games with children are a form of love. Where are the limits. And of course, the talk of peace. But how and what is peace? A feeling? Than why wouldn t we just get high a lot, that qualifies as peace? Or does this mean lack of physical harm ? Again maybe, but how do you apply that when sometimes police and armies are needed? Plus the world does people psyhical harm, animals and plants and asteroids and whatnot. And people have differences in wants needs and opinions. How will they be mediated? And how do you reconcile this with God s obvious use of force against humans, Jesus included?

                    I see that people can have slogans and all that, but when have to go back to reality, inner and outer reality, those slogans do not apply too well, as the world is more complex than a superbowl commercial.

                  This is of course, is a widespread issue for all groups and individuals professing to do some kind of good. Things are just more complicated than that.

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The overall problem, as I see it, is that, for christians, everything has to be defined within the context of christianity: charity, compassion, morality, peace (both internal and external), even logic and intellect.  Truly hateful things are done in the name of Christian "love"; and horrific atrocities committed in the pursuit of christian "morality".  It is reminiscent of the double-speak of 1984--"war is peace, freedom is slavery..."  Their definitions are radically different from those understood by the rest of humanity; and some might describe them as fundamentally flawed.

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22 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

The overall problem, as I see it, is that, for christians, everything has to be defined within the context of christianity: charity, compassion, morality, peace (both internal and external), even logic and intellect.  Truly hateful things are done in the name of Christian "love"; and horrific atrocities committed in the pursuit of christian "morality".  It is reminiscent of the double-speak of 1984--"war is peace, freedom is slavery..."  Their definitions are radically different from those understood by the rest of humanity; and some might describe them as fundamentally flawed.

This is a good expression of my intuitions. First there comes the context, then the other things. If we do not or cannot agree on the underlying context, our discussion is going basically nowhere. Or at at least acknowledge our intentions and contexts and see if and when there is some kind of overlap. Anyway, I often heard the idea that true submission to God is freedom, that struck me as something weird, at least in the way I understood those words. Thank you for you contribution, it helped me clarify a bit.

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On 6/4/2019 at 10:40 AM, Myrkhoos said:

I define here charity by giving objects or services to some in need. Not a very concrete definition, but it works for I want to say.

I would go one step further and define charity as giving to someone in need without expecting anything else in return. What you describe - what many Xians describe as "charity" - is more of an attempt to bargain or placate an entity for forgiveness or reward, in my opinion. A lot of Xianity just reeks of disingenuousness to me, where everything is framed in terms of how it could materially benefit you, personally (the materiality of the motivation is dressed up as spirituality, however). I remember back in the day preachers trying to proselytize people by suggesting that the reward of eternal life offered by Xianity is supposedly so much better than what is offered by other religions that one should choose Xianity solely based on that "wonderful" promise. Putting aside that that presumption is just factually wrong (there are other religions that promise the offer of eternal life), it is based on the idea that one should base their faith largely on what features it advertises. I mean, seriously, are they selling a car?

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56 minutes ago, DestinyTurtle said:

I would go one step further and define charity as giving to someone in need without expecting anything else in return. 

I think, personally, and please do not be offended, that this is an illusion. We as beings are not built to make an effort without expecting a return, a positive result. Even if that result is seeing the happiness on  someone s face, feeling better about oneself, etc. This idea of unconditional love seems like such a nice idea, but I do think, from my experience, observation and personal work, that is false. Because anyway you always  get some reaction. There is a reason behind giving. For example, I feel it is good to give. That feeling good, or right, or anything is what drives you to do it, which then gives you a reward.  

      For example the idea of a mother s unconditional love for children is a , excuse my language, a load of crap that many times hides narcissist attachment to the child object. Biologically a mother gains a lot from having a child, plus the feeling of power, of a purpose, of importance, etc. A child s existence in itself can and usually gives parents many rewards. I think that the problem in attachment issues is not the lack of unconditional love, which is unatainable, but a sufficently balanced conditional affection. So good conditions, vs bad conditions, not lack of conditions. 

       I would personally rephrase what you said as an act which is self-rewarding with the possibility of containing the emotional results. Because we are pleasure seeking beings, and limited in our abilities.

And helping others in need is, in some degree, a natural wiring in the brain that releases positive sensations. Some people can become hooked on helping, and become compulsive helpers. I think that it is more realistic to say, I wish to become resilient and even anti fragile to my expectations not being met, that not having any. 

        Of course, the problem in Christianity is its definitions and actual practic steps for reward, forgiveness, etc. There are numerous version of those.  One is the fact that a really unconditioned and perfect being does need any offering to forgive. It cannot be offended or hurt, actually. It could not posses human weakness. That is what I was taught in some versions of Orthodox Christianity, that human actions are just a way of grabbing and processing the free gift. Like a fruit in a wild tree. You take it, eat it and digest it. 

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13 minutes ago, Myrkhoos said:

I think, personally, and please do not be offended, that this is an illusion.

I feel no offense. Thanks for sharing your perspective :)

 

13 minutes ago, Myrkhoos said:

       I would personally rephrase what you said as an act which is self-rewarding with the possibility of containing the emotional results. Because we are pleasure seeking beings, and limited in our abilities.

I can buy that. I guess part of what I was trying to say earlier was that I'm bothered by how transactional the Xian perspective on charity is. Doing a nice thing for someone because the heart is uplifted and that it feels good can be a sincere and good thing. The Xian perspective doesn't say that though and it's more like you're purchasing a product ("eternal life"), or at least that's how it seems to me - there's no joy or sincerity in it, other than perhaps a temporary, manic relief of someone who is desperately seeking a narrative with which to escape their fear of death.

 

13 minutes ago, Myrkhoos said:

        Of course, the problem in Christianity is its definitions and actual practic steps for reward, forgiveness, etc. There are numerous version of those.  One is the fact that a really unconditioned and perfect being does need any offering to forgive. It cannot be offended or hurt, actually. It could not posses human weakness. That is what I was taught in some versions of Orthodox Christianity, that human actions are just a way of grabbing and processing the free gift. Like a fruit in a wild tree. You take it, eat it and digest it. 

In my experience Xianity seems to go back-and-fourth on whether salvation is a free, "gift" thing or it's something that's earned with works. There's a whole "salvation by works vs. salvation by faith" theological dialogue which pretends to put it to rest but rather ends up talking itself in circles - not leading to a definitive conclusion, in my opinion. There are so many contradictory directions as to what you actually need to do to be considered "saved", and the goalposts always move.

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On 6/8/2019 at 5:44 PM, DestinyTurtle said:

 

In my experience Xianity seems to go back-and-fourth on whether salvation is a free, "gift" thing or it's something that's earned with works. There's a whole "salvation by works vs. salvation by faith" theological dialogue which pretends to put it to rest but rather ends up talking itself in circles - not leading to a definitive conclusion, in my opinion. There are so many contradictory directions as to what you actually need to do to be considered "saved", and the goalposts always move.

This is golden. Especially the last part. I could not seem to phrase that feeling of fleeting and ever moving reference points. I am not sure what to think of that. And this is also the point about God is love, but not human love, I mean God is not an emotion, so that word can mean virtually anything you want. Especially as the whole literal vs metaphorical interpretation is another back and forth.

 I would not say that there is Christinity, but lots of Christianities, even in the same denomination. I mean you can find different christianities in the New Testament from what I see, not to mention the whole Bible. And that is again the problem of reference. You cannot get a straight answer, but you are told that there is a straight answer. Weird.

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2 hours ago, Myrkhoos said:

And that is again the problem of reference. You cannot get a straight answer, but you are told that there is a straight answer. Weird

jesus is the answer.  Which jesus is yet another question, though.  But jesus is definitely the answer.

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