A Flowchart of Rational Self-Interest

Cody Libolt
Mar 2, 2015 · 2 min read

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.

Let me offer a flowchart.

You can follow it yourself or use it to talk with others. For each question, self-interest is one correct answer. But if you’re not ready to say “self-interest” you can dig deeper. You’ll get there.

Q: Why should a man do the right thing?

1: Self-interest.
2: To please God.

Q: Why do you want to please God?

1: Self-interest.
2: Because he is my King and I am his subordinate.

Q: Granted that God has all power and has created you with the intention that you be his servant, why do you wish to subordinate yourself to him?

1: Self-interest.
2: I want to love him in the way he wants to be loved.

Q: Why love God this way?
1: Self-interest.
2: The sacrifice of Jesus and the realization that I was chosen leaves me so flabbergasted and overwhelmed that I worship him. I think that is the most proper response I can conceive of.

Q: Why do you want to do that which is the most proper response you can think of?

A: It is my interest to have as good a life as I can. I see God’s glory as my means of self-interest, and the two are inseparable.

This flowchart is one happy way the conversation could go. There are less happy versions. But in pattern, if one asks these kinds of questions, subjecting every premise to interrogation, he will arrive at these kinds of answers.

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. (Deut 30:15).

Run in such a way as to get the prize (1 Cor 9:24).

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