Extreme (non-Christian) Altruism

Extreme (non-Christian) Altruism October 6, 2015

After posting my call for Christians who live in tiny homes or who have seriously downsized, I came across this article about a woman who has given away 100% of her income for nearly her entire working life.

Julia is a do-gooder – which is to say, a human character who arouses conflicting emotions. By “do-gooder” here I do not mean a part-time, normal do-gooder – someone who has a worthy job, or volunteers at a charity, and returns to an ordinary family life in the evenings. I mean a person who sets out to live as ethical a life as possible. I mean a person who is drawn to moral goodness for its own sake. I mean someone who commits himself wholly, beyond what seems reasonable. I mean the kind of do-gooder who makes people uneasy.

Julia happens to be married to a man I went to college with, also profiled in the article, Jeff Kaufman.

Extreme (non-Christian) Altruism: Surprising Faith (Patheos)
Basilica of St. Adelbert Grand Rapids, c/o Steven Depolo

Julia is not religious; in fact, one aspect of her story that fascinates me is that her morals are what drove her away from Christianity:

Until she was 11, she was fervently religious. She believed that, since God had given her life, she owed him a debt so enormous that she could never repay it, but that it was her duty to try as hard as she could. Then, one weekend, it occurred to her that other people in the world believed in their holy books just as strongly as she believed in the Bible, so what reason did she have to believe that hers was true? She had never seen or felt any evidence of God’s presence. Quite suddenly, she lost her faith.

Read the whole story on the Guardian here.

Browse Our Archives

Close Ad