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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Since When Did Having Your Life Figured Out Become An Expectation?

There's no timeline for life, and there shouldn't be.

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Let's just cut to the chase. There shouldn't be an expected timeline of life that us, as humans, should be expected to follow. There isn't a certain age that we should be married by, or a time slot that we have to graduate in. It's just unrealistic because, well, life happens. And the majority of the time, we can't control it.

So then why does society pressure us into this schedule that seems to be looming over our heads? There's no consequence to not having children by 27, there's nothing wrong with having a steady significant other and not being engaged by 24. And really, nothing horrible is going to happen if your timeline doesn't match up with your best friend's.

A whole lot of things in life are out of our control. We don't know when we're going to meet "the one", or even if we already have. We don't know what job we will have after graduation, or if it will be a job we stay in for years to come. And guess what: it's okay. Because we have time.

One of the best lessons I have learned in my life is that we cannot control everything in our lives. We can't predict the future. Yes, you can feel as though you have your whole life planned out, but in the blink of an eye, everything can change. So moral of the story, don't stress about things that you can't control. Because all the time you spend stressing about them, is time that you could have spent enjoying the moment that you are in.

There's not a fairy that is going to come down and curse you for not having a job by 23, or forbid you from finding love because you haven't found it by 25. It's an unrealistic expectation. And guess what: life happens on its own, and we can't control all of it. Sometimes it may suck, and it can be entirely unexpected, but it's life. So put an anchor in the present, and have faith that you will figure it out.

Because you will.

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