Is it okay for a Christian to be crafty and exploitative for the benefit of his faith, church and God? If it benefits the religion? Isn’t it okay?
We are called to a life of virtue anchored in the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity and expressed through the exercise of the cardinal virtues and a living out of the beatitudes.
In such a framework, can you establish that “craftiness” and “exploitiveness” are virtues? I think not.
Regarding morality of acts:
1753 A good intention (for example, that of helping one’s neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. the end does not justify the means. Thus the condemnation of an innocent person cannot be justified as a legitimate means of saving the nation. On the other hand, an added bad intention (such as vainglory) makes an act evil that, in and of itself, can be good (such as almsgiving).
1754 The circumstances, including the consequences, are secondary elements of a moral act. They contribute to increasing or diminishing the moral goodness or evil of human acts (for example, the amount of a theft). They can also diminish or increase the agent’s responsibility (such as acting out of a fear of death). Circumstances of themselves cannot change the moral quality of acts themselves; they can make neither good nor right an action that is in itself evil.
To this purpose, man strives to interpret the data of experience and the signs of the times assisted by the virtue of prudence, by the advice of competent people, and by the help of the Holy Spirit and his gifts.
1789 Some rules apply in every case:
One may never do evil so that good may result from it;
the Golden Rule: "Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.
charity always proceeds by way of respect for one’s neighbor and his conscience:
How can it ever be okay for a Christian to be exploitive? Furthermore, how can being exploitive ever actually help the Church? Those who exploit others seriously wound the Chruch. This is evident in the sex scandal that has been taking place.
I agree with the previous posters, and I will add that the Catholic Church teaches that the ends don’t justify the means. I’m curious – is there something specific behind your question?
Your posts always get straight to the heart of the matter and are always spot on!
No. In fact, that is the negative connotation the word “proselytism” has taken on and why you’ll see Popes and other authorities in the Church rejecting proselytism while promoting evangelization.
[quote=Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith]The term proselytism originated in the context of Judaism, in which the term proselyte referred to someone who, coming from the gentiles, had passed into the Chosen People. So too, in the Christian context, the term proselytism was often used as a synonym for missionary activity. More recently, however, the term has taken on a negative connotation, to mean the promotion of a religion by using means, and for motives, contrary to the spirit of the Gospel; that is, which do not safeguard the freedom and dignity of the human person.
How do you even define crafty and exploitative?
Say a chapel wants to innovate and I happen to know a new contractor who just started business and would give a little commission for introducing him to some clients. I introduce both parties and come out with a sum. Anyone can easily rule my actions as crafty and exploitative.
Am I guilty of yet another obscure sin that I don’t know about? :shrug:
Jesus did tell us to be as crafty as serpents and as innocent as doves.
On the other hand, the tilt of your question suggests that we should do questionable things if it is in the service of our religion. That definitely rubs me the wrong way.
Can you give some examples of what you are talking about?
Example, somebody argued with logical fallacies to prove Christianity.
I don’t even know if that’s either crafty or exploitative… sounds a little… silly more like it.
Anyone who does such a thing either does not know better, or is dishonest.
If we’re talking directly lying about the Church, about Christ etc. I think we can all agree that’s wrong.
But what about logical fallacies used on purpose?
Let’s turn this around. Would it be OK for a scientist, or a militant atheist, to argue for evolution or the Big Bang with logical fallacies? Even though his conclusion is correct, as far as we know - that the Big Bang explains the origin of the universe, that natural selection explains why there are fossils etc. - is it right to argue using bad logic? You tell me. (For the record, I do assent to the Big Bang and theistic evolution; Darwin and Monsignor LeMaitre are no impedient to my faith.)
And I think I know what the answer is: no. No, it is not OK to “lie for Jesus”, nor to "lie for science. And here is one very good reason not to. Even if someone tells the truth using a logical fallacy, or a lie, it hinders our understanding of who/what God really is.
Turned the other way around, if, when we address non-Christians, we present what Christians really, honestly believe about God and Jesus, not only will non-Christians be able to provide rebuttals, but Christians will also be able to see (where there are logical flaws or something lacking) more clearly what God is and is not.
Discussions help to clarify both positions, to make arguments on both sides more sophisticated and complete, and to help both parties see they really have more in common than they first thought. It is lying, oversimplifying, and willfully plugging one’s ears to others’ objections and questions that results in the deep divide between, for example, American Christians and Americans atheists.