Thursday, July 2, 2009

On Faith, Self-interest, & Greed

It is my opinion that faith is a beautiful thing. It is required in almost everything we do. In remarking on faith now, however, I refer to faith in life after death. I have faith and I have hope that my spirit will continue living long after my body dies. Is this reasonable? Of course it is. Who of sound mind wouldn't want to continue life after death? But what causes that faith and hope?

It can only be self-interest. Can I say that? Is it okay for me to admit that the reason I have faith and hope in an afterlife is because I am interested in myself? Is that selfish? I don't think it's selfish; I think it's logical and true. Self-interest is behind everything we do, even altruistic things like serving our neighbor. I also believe it's behind everything God and Jesus Christ do.

In the book of Moses we read, "For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Emphasis added.) Obviously, God is as self-interested as we are. And he doesn't try to hide that fact. He does what he does for us because it glorifies Him. Jesus Christ atoned for our sins so that we may obtain eternal life. But he could only obtained his glory by doing so. And that's okay!

It's okay because it's who we are. We are self-interested beings, and it seems as if we've inherited that from our Creator. It's a good thing, but like all good things, it can be used for evil. There's certainly no shortage of greed in this world, used for evil purposes. Are self-interest and greed the same thing? I believe they are on the same scale, with one end being the self-interest that leads us to do good, to obtain a glorious after-life, and the other end being the evil greed that leads to the plunder and murder of our fellow man, and of our want of something for nothing.

So of which economic system is best adapted to our inherent self-interest? I believe the answer is the free-market. For only in the free-market is everyone required to trade voluntarily and without coercion. By contrast, those economies that are centrally planned require the forceful fist of a central power, fueled by greedy politicians, who are elected by greedy constituents, looking for hand-outs at the expense of everyone else. This can hardly be an economic system ordained by God. The free-market, however, is a system of cooperation and peace, of win-win exchanges, or else they wouldn't happen.

As we can see, faith in God and faith in having a life after death begins with self-interest. Faith and hope lead people to serve others and better mankind. But that same self-interest that causes faith can also cause greed. And only in the free-market is greed confined to it's proper sphere, and unable to harm. For that, I believe the free-market is the market of Heaven.

2 comments:

Jeffrey said...

I believe you may be interested in this article that I wrote for my blog on the subject of self-interest:

http://www.ldsphilosopher.com/2009/07/17/on-the-impossibility-of-genuine-self-interest/

Skyler said...

I read that just this past week. Love your site!

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