This weekend, I spent some time with another gay christian libertarian — a combination that rivals the Australian Hairy Nosed Wombat for rarity. He’s letting an unemployed, down-on-his-luck human being crash in his spare bedroom. Over breakfast in a local mom-and-pop diner, we got into a conversation about charity toward others. How we had helped other people out in the past, sometimes with good results, more often not, sometimes, people straight up took advantage. We had no hesitation about extending charity when opportunity arose, but we also found room to criticize people whose form of charity only perpetuated the dependency and low state of others.
But the central focus of our conversation was “Why be nice to people.” Both being of the Christian persuasion, we were both very clear that the Gospel inspires charity. But we also agreed that there is a misunderstanding among non-believers (and an unfortunate number of Christians, unfortunately) that being charitable toward others is how you buy your ticket to Heaven. That’s not how it’s supposed to work. Becoming a disciple of Christ changes your heart such that helping out others just becomes something you do. People who treat it like a deposit in the Bank of Karma are missing the point. People who think Christians only do it to win favor from God are also missing the point. It’s just good to be good.