I ran across this issue in a conversation recently and wanted to explore and address it. Predestination is a view many Christians hold to in varying degrees. On the one end you have groups like Calvinists who would say that God is solely responsible for who is called and receives salvation. On the other end you have many of the more evangelical or non-denominational churches emphasizing your own free will to choose Jesus as your savior. I’m not really going to delve into that or my own personal views on the subject. We’re going to play this out as if some version of predestination is true and see where it takes us. Hopefully then we can determine if it is narcissistic to believe in predestination.
What is the Source of the View?
The first question I would ask when considering this question is where did the view come from? Is it something humans made up for their own benefit, or something God shared about reality? I think the root of this challenge may be a false assumption about the source. If predestination is something that we came up with, I can see how it could very easily become a problem. Designing a system that says we are God’s special favorites does sound pretty egotistical. However, we believe that there is a God who is calling the shots, regardless of what we think. It’s not narcissistic if it’s true, especially if we had no part in making it true.
Are We Narcissistic Anyway?
The view itself is not inherently a problem. However, I can see why someone might take issue with it, in practice. If we go around proclaiming ourselves as God’s chosen few, it can easily become a way to elevate ourselves and put down everyone else. I’ve never personally encountered this, but it’s certainly a plausible scenario. In this situation however, the belief itself is not the issue, but the people espousing it. It’s not narcissistic to believe in predestination, but it’s still possible for us to act like narcissists.
Is it narcissistic to believe in predestination? Ironically, predestination is often a part of mankind’s greatest humiliation. We are not good enough to save ourselves. Many of the denominations that hold to predestination do so because they believe that humans are so broken that they cannot even desire to know God without him changing them first. The Christian worldview is built on the idea that we receive a gift that we do not deserve. If we are being arrogant or narcissistic about that, something has gone terribly wrong.
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