How Selflessness Points Most Reasonably to the Christian God

by J Warner Wallace

As an atheist I affirmed the value of selflessness. Most cultures find this attribute similarly attractive and virtuous. People who put themselves before others are typically scorned, regardless of one’s religious convictions. As novelist and Oxford scholar, C.S. Lewis once said, “Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to – whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or everyone. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first. Selfishness has never been admired.” In fact, the transcendent, objective principle of selflessness finds representation in nearly every historic theological or philosophical system:

“The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes”
(Buddhism; Dalai Lama from The Medicine of Altruism)

“And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God.”
(Judaism; Leviticus 19: 9-10)

“Jesus said, ‘Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.’”
(Christianity; Matthew 5:42)

“By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you spend of that which you love….”
(Islam; Quran 3:92)

“Help thy brother’s boat across and lo! thine own has reached the shore.”
(Hinduism; Hindu Proverb)

“Fix your mind on truth, hold firm to virtue, rely on loving kindness, and find your recreation in the Arts.”
(Confucianism; Confucius, The Analects)

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“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
(New Age; Kahlil Gibran)

“We need to build websites with celebrity speakers who talk about the ideals of fairness, sharing, democratic cooperation, and altruism in public life.”
(New Age; Deepak Chopra)

“Sometimes give your services for nothing.”
(Greek Philosophy; Hippocrates from The Hippocratic Oath)

Theologians and Philosophers aren’t the only ones who recognize the value and virtue of selflessness. Even committed atheists advocate for such behavior:

“Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish.”
(Atheism; Richard Dawkins from The Selfish Gene)

As a secular unbeliever, I also recognized the value of selflessness. I typically praised, for example, those who served and sacrificed, even when they didn’t have to. But is this form of selflessness simply a naturalistic, evolutionary adaptation, or is this virtuous principle the result of something even more transcendent than evolution? I think there is a better explanation for such behavior: selflessness points most reasonably to the existence of the Christian God…


How Selflessness Points Most Reasonably to the Christian God | Cold Case Christianity