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Is Christianity egocentric?
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2/5/2016 6:14:48 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
The deep egocentrism of Christianity is intimately tied to its reliance on fear. In addition to the fears of the devil and hell, Christianity plays on another of humankind"s most basic fears: death, the dissolution of the individual ego. Perhaps Christianity"s strongest appeal is its promise of eternal life. While there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim, most people are so terrified of death that they cling to this promise insisting, like frightened children, that it must be true. Nietzsche put the matter well: "salvation of the soul"in plain words, the world revolves around me." It"s difficult to see anything spiritual in this desperate grasping at straws"this desperate grasping at the illusion of personal immortality.
Another manifestation of the extreme egotism of Christianity is the belief that God is intimately concerned with aspects of, and directly intervenes in, the lives of individuals. If God, the creator and controller of the universe, is vitally concerned with your sex life, you must be pretty damned important. Many Christians take this particular form of egotism much further and actually imagine that God has a plan for them, or that God directly talks to, directs, or even does favors for them. If one ignored the frequent and glaring contradictions in this supposed divine guidance, and the dead bodies sometimes left in its wake, one could almost believe that the individuals making such claims are guided by God. But one can"t ignore the contradictions in and the oftentimes horrible results of following such "divine guidance." As "Agent Mulder" put it (perhaps paraphrasing Thomas Szasz) in a 1998 X-Files episode, "When you talk to God it"s prayer, but when God talks to you it"s schizophrenia. . . . God may have his reasons, but he sure seems to employ a lot of psychotics to carry out his job orders."
In less extreme cases, the insistence that one is receiving divine guidance or special treatment from God is usually the attempt of those who feel worthless"or helpless, adrift in an uncaring universe"to feel important or cared for. This less sinister form of egotism is commonly found in the expressions of disaster survivors that "God must have had a reason for saving me" (in contrast to their less-worthy-of-life fellow disaster victims, whom God"who controls all things"killed). Again, it"s very difficult to see anything spiritual in such egocentricity.