Statesboro, GA, USA
"Selfish thought, indeed."
Because I believe that purpose and significance of human life is dependent upon the prospect of eternal life, it does not follow that I am selfish. As to believing that my life individually requires immortality to have purpose ... could that be selfish? It could, but not necessarily. It depends upon which worldview reflects reality. If God has intended us to have eternal life, and to live forever, then it would be no more selfish to desire it than for children to desire to be fed by their parents. I don't know about you, but I don't scold my son for wanting what I approve of. His 5th birthday party is Saturday, and to tell you the truth, I would be hurt if he disregarded my gift. My point is, if God has willed this as necessary and proper, and he doesn't call it a selfish desire or whim, but necessary (Which is the teaching of scripture), then a person is not selfish to see the expediency of it, or to really want it.
"Why are you a Christian? What if God promised you nothing but non-existence upon death, would you still worship Him?"
I am a Christian because I believe it is the truth, and is a revelation of the reality of myself, the universe, and all humanity ,,, and because a love deep enough to die for me, a sinner, has enthralled me.
"what ifs" are not very useful in such considerations, because God is more of an "I AM" than a "What if"... he has promised what he has promised. If he promised otherwise he would not be who he is ... I have recieved grace to believe in God and worship and love him because of who he is. Your question is really almost as impossible to cogently answer as the question, "If you were Jack what would you do"? Well I can't know what I would do unless I am me. I can't know if I would worship him, unless he is indeed himself. I have not come to worship a mere title, but a personal being.
"Christianity = What is in it for me?"
No actually, Jesus said to deny ourselves in order to follow him. Sadly I always need some improvement here ... I admit that self in me is constantly vying for the throne.
Also, it's noteworthy that the very same charge you make, was made against an Old Testament saint named Job. When Satan was asking God permission to afflict and to try Job, he said "Does Job fear God for nothing? . . . a man will give all he has for his own life", implying that Job's allegience had sprung out of a selfish root. So Job was afflicted by Satan, and he himself did not know if he would live or die, yet he held on to his integrity and did not turn from God. But later in the dialogue, this afflicted man said this ... "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God." (Job 19:25,26). And nowhere in the remaining text is Job rebuked by God for having such a hope... he may have been scolded for demanding that God show him the "why and wherefore" of everthing that happened to him, but he was not rebuked for his hope of immortality.
And to be honest Opeth, If God is not offended by my dependence upon eternal life, and my desire for it, then it really doesn't matter what someone else may think or judge. He is the moral compass of this universe, knows the hearts of all persons believer and unbeliever alike, and knows what is selfish and what isn't.
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (05-28-2003 04:48 PM).]