Selfish Gene

I am not a Richard Dawkins scholar nor do I even pretend to understand the mathematics and philosophy underpinning his arguments. In part because I do not make time to engage his work but also in part because I believe his understanding of Faith is locked in a modern understanding of Faith that is more of a belief system than a lifestyle of trust, fidelity and world-view.

Recently I encountered the theory of the "Selfish Gene".  In that each one of us is fighting for survival and as such much of what we do is motivated by promoting our own genes.  So if you save the life of your child it is not a total loss because 50% of your kids genes are yours so sacrificing yourself for your life so your child does not die is still acting in a way that preserves your own genes and thus that act is selfish. (I think this is the idea behind this theory, but correct me if I am wrong.)

This theory, I suppose, is used to "defeat" theology and advocate for the "death of religion". However I see this selfish gene theory as something for which is a powerful asset for the Christian faith to consider.

Christians are called to die to self and to live for Christ. Paul said that he no longer lives but Christ that lives in him. We are called to die to the self and live for the Triune God.

If we take that charge seriously, that is die to self and live for Christ, then the selfish gene becomes a powerful tool to promote the values of the Kingdom of God. If it is God that lives within us, if it is Christ that informs us, if it is the Holy Spirit that guides us then our actions will no longer be "selfish". Rather our actions will be promoting the values of God.

In part, this is what makes the death of Jesus powerful as well. We are not genetically connect to Jesus (such that as in siblings or cousins) and yet Jesus died to expose the cycles of violence (and selfishness) humanity is wrapped up in. Christ died for the promotion of the Kingdom of God. If he acted selfishly I would suppose he would have had children or even defended himself before the authorities.


Jesus had no children.
Jesus was silent before the authorities.
Jesus declared forgiveness instead of revenge on the cross.

Jesus' selfless act promoted the values of the God of Grace, Peace, Forgiveness, Justice, Hope and Love.

I guess my hope is that I would be willing to act for the values of the Kingdom of God rather than be dominated by actions that benefit myself.