Motivation

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Christian Motivation: An Interview with Lydia Borengasser

“Put others first.” “You think too highly of yourself.” “You’re selfish.”

If you hear these ideas enough, they can take over your understanding of morality.

What should our motivation be? Why care about doing the right thing?

I recently interviewed a writer named Lydia Borengasser. We found common ground on the controversial topic of Christian motivation.

A Flowchart of Self-Interest

Why do you follow God?

At foundation, the proper motivation is self-interest. Many don’t want to believe this. How do you convince them?

Keep asking “why?” 

If there is an answer at all to the question of “why?” it must be a reason and it must be a reason for that person. If you can convince a person to keep asking why, he will keep getting closer to the inevitable answer of self-interest.

Rational Self-Interest and the Worship of God

I advocate an unusual approach to these topics based what I see as a foundational principle in Scripture: Holy Self-Interest.

The principle says:

“It is always in your rational self-interest to do the right thing.”

Rightly understood, self-interest and morality are inseparable. The right thing is the right thing because it leads to your own rational self-interest.

Christian Rand Fan?

I went looking for Christian fans of Ayn Rand. Here are the results of my search.

If your interests are similar to mine, these lists could save you a lot of time. My search answers the question:

Is belief in Jesus compatible with conservative or libertarian political ideas?

I found only a handful of Christians who were enthusiastic about Rand’s ideas. You can find us here.

I’ve noticed many Christian writers denouncing Rand and any attempt at a political coalition between the Tea Party conservatives and the fans or devotees of Rand.

My guess is that most Christians (even most Christian leaders or pastors) have not heard of Rand. Of those who have heard of her, I think 95% have strong dislike of her, but only rarely is their opinion formed from actually reading her.

Meanwhile, mainstream Christianity is moving toward more overt socialism/collectivism politically.

But social media has allowed the Tea Party or libertarian Christians to gain somewhat of an audience. Though the base is still small, there are many more Christians thinking clearly about liberty and rights today than at any time in the past century.

As a Christian Rand fan myself, I hope to speak to Christians about the need to take Rand’s ideas seriously. Though Christians will not agree with all the answers Rand offered, we will be better off when we begin to ask the questions she asked.

Being a Christian Individualist

In a post several months ago, I wrote, “Our mission requires self-denial, but we cannot make self-denial be the mission.”

What do you think about this idea?

A friend commented wisely, saying he doesn’t believe American Christians place too much emphasis on self-denial. We pay lip service to self-denial, but we tend to struggle with self-indulgence.

I agree with his points completely. Surprisingly though, I believe the solution to American self-indulgence is not less Individualism, but more.