Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 30, 2013 0 comments

When you come to a crossroads in your life where you have to make a big decision, how do you decide? Do you look only at what’s best for yourself? Do you look at how your choices would affect others?

A philosopher named Jeremy Bentham lived in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and he is credited for the theory called utilitarianism. In this theory, decisions we make or actions we take should be judged on if they attain the greatest good for the greatest number of people. He believed that the best decision is one that helps the most people, regardless of the negative consequences that could happen to some.

As an illustration of this, let’s say it’s dinner time and I need to choose between eating leftovers at home, or going out to a restaurant for fancy dinner. If I choose to eat leftovers at home, that helps me become nourished, and it cleans out my refrigerator a bit more. If I choose to go to a restaurant, I’m still nourished by the food, and it provides business for the restaurant, income for the owner, and income for the person serving me. But, I had to spend money that I wouldn’t have needed to spend if I ate at home. The good of helping the restaurant, owner, and waiter outweighs the good of me saving money and clearing out my refrigerator, so based on utilitarianism, I should eat dinner out every single night.

There are many passages in the Bible that tell us to do good to one another, such as Psalm 37:27, Proverbs 3:27, and Luke 6:35 just to name a few. But, we need to place more importance on doing what is good in God’s eyes than what is good in mankind’s eyes. We can only know what God sees as good through His wisdom. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6)

At times, utilitarianism may line up with God’s wisdom, but at other times they may disagree. What will you choose in making your decisions - the worldly theory of utilitarianism, or God’s wisdom?

For further study on God’s wisdom, read Proverbs 2-4 and James 3:13-18.