Hudgins on 'The Passion of the Christ'

In his latest op-ed, Objectivist Center Washington Director Ed Hudgins is critical of the moral message in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” Arguing for a morality of self-interest over a morality of self-sacrifce, Hudgins writes:

In “The Passion” we see Jesus passively submitting to his own brutal torture and death, even forgiving his tormenters. Many see Jesus’s sacrifice as a moral model: He forfeited his life to save us sinners; we are all responsible for the problems of the world; thus we each should sacrifice ourselves for the good of others. But this is exactly the wrong moral lesson. A morality of life requires the pursuit of happiness and pride in oneself, not self-abnegation and acquiescing in the role of a sacrificial victim. It requires that we judge both others and ourselves, both their actions and our own, by standards of justice, and not offer moral absolution for the most heinous crimes and criminals.
This is the key to the right moral code: We each have a right to our own lives and should act out of self-interest, not self-sacrifice. True self-interest means seeking rational values that preserve and enrich our lives. It means we should each seek the best within us. It means neither sacrificing ourselves to others nor asking others to sacrifice themselves for us. It means engaging in relations with others because we value them and they value us. For example, when we give up time and money to help a sick spouse — someone with whom we share our values, interests, and deepest thought and feeling; someone to whom we bare our souls; someone who we love — we are not sacrificing but, rather, affirming our highest values and self-interest.

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