To: Machiavelli From: Christianity

To: Machiavelli From: Christianity

Thanks for telling us we're born evil.
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“To live charitably means not looking out for your own interests, but carrying the burdens of the weak and the poorest among us,” says Pope Francis. However, I would like to contend with this idea of charity not being a self-interested act. Humans, at their core, are self-seeking - a thought inspired by Niccolo Machiavelli, a critical Italian philosopher. Charity is an extension of the latter three of a group of Greek inspired, levels of affection, epithyimia, eros, and agape, because it creates a beneficial relationship for both parties, where the giver expresses agape love as they attend to the receiver’s needs; the giver also expresses eros love because they desire to possess this importance and affirmation which the receiver’s gratitude conveys. Humans desire having an ontological rootedness to this world, they want to know that they belong; charity is the act of giving self or giving of self, in order to build the relationships which ontological rootedness and affirmation grow from . Human beings are selfish at their core and, for example, volunteer not only for the charitable act of it, but to reaffirm their goodness.

On the other hand, Christianity takes charity as a form of love. Christianity venerates the virtue of charity and the act of giving either one’s time or one’s self into someone because it is a way to reciprocate God’s love for us. Agape love is a step up from eros love because we are not loving the other for our own sake, but for theirs; it is typically those two types of love which can be associated with volunteering and philanthropic actions. Christian love in action combines these two to form philia love, as it forces the giver to neglect their selfishness and own needs so they may prioritize the other’s. People “who live in spiritual poverty freely choose to share and to do without for the sake of others,” are examples of extreme Christian love; the Sisters of Charity forsake their needs so that everyone may equally benefit from their profits. However, on a civilian level, Christian love is typically expressed on an agent commitment level, where the person chooses to put the needs of others on the same level of need as theirs.

In a way, expressing Christian love is also expressing charity because Christian love demands the giver to sacrifice more than what they can benefit out of that relationship. Charity in relation with others dictates that the giver must adopt a sense of preferential preference for the poor. However, poor in this sense does not necessarily mean poor in income; it can be poor in spirit, support, and even companionship. When we are charitable to others, we are dedicating our time and efforts to them without expecting much in return; we prioritize their needs over ours and develop a relationship akin to agape love. Charity in terms of a relationship with God, is different, because there is no expectation to be made of him - he has already given us the greatest gift which is eternal life. Therefore, to show appreciation and reciprocate such a tremendous show of love, we must be very charitable with others to show our gratitude. For agape love, which is the sum of philia and eros love, is the type of love we must incorporate into our relationships with others as they are created in the image of God.
Cover Image Credit: Taha Alkan

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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Don't Forget That Your Voice Matters

Once you find your voice, don't loose it!

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We all want to feel a sense of belonging, and that is why we have friends and family to surround ourselves with. However, sometimes we form our own opinion on a topic or we believe in something that not everyone else might agree with, which is completely normal to do. That is what makes us all different and perfect in the image of God. In the past year I have started to find what my voice is about and what my passion is about.

Growing up I was always the quiet soft spoken one in the classroom. At home I was raised to be obedient to my parents and so I did what I was told. Growing up, I was a people pleaser in my friend group, and I still struggle with that today because I didn't like to have the opinion that caused disruption within my friend group. I don't really get involved with the politics and the conversations that come with it because my parents never really pushed their beliefs on me growing up. When other people hear that I don't really have a strong stance they think it is wrong and that I should have a firm stance on what I agree with on how the government runs in my country.

Being involved in Cru, the campus ministry on my campus, has taught me so much about my faith and has even taught me how to share the Gospel with anyone including non believers of Christianity, which is important to me. Being able to grow in my faith over the past year and a half, God has shown me what He can do when I live confidently in him and what miraculous things He can do when He is glorified. He can use anything and turn it into something incredible. I have witnessed it and it has opened my eyes to what I am passionate about and that is sharing the word of God.

God gives those who believe in Him and in his son Jesus a spirit of God to be within us here on Earth. I believe that God does everything for a reason and He placed the people in my life that were involved with Cru last year and even now for a reason because I have been able to grow in sharing what I have a passion for and that voice in me is all in the glorification of God. I know that college students won't always agree with me if I share with them what I believe and tell them about the work that God has done in me and continues to do in my life, but He can use that in their life to hopefully change their story. I know that I have grown so much in voicing what matters to me and I give all my praise to my Heavenly Father.

In 1 Corinthians 2:9-3:3 it talks about what the spirit of God is and why God gave that to us. This is just one piece of scripture that touches on the Holy Spirit, but I pray that God will use what you are passionate about to do that in the glorification of Him because He gave that to you. If you haven't found your voice yet that is OK too, and I pray that He will reveal that to you.

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