So Christians, you think that Christianity is opposed to man ultimately ‘loving himself’ and ‘loving his own happiness’? Well, Jonathan Edwards (for one) disagrees with you. In fact, not only does he disagree with you, but he implicitly condemns you as a destroyer of mankind.
It is not contrary to Christianity that a man should love himself, or, which is the same thing, should love his own happiness. If Christianity did indeed tend to destroy a man’s love to himself, and to his own happiness, it would therein tend to destroy the very spirit of humanity. . . That a man should love his own happiness, is as necessary to his nature as the faculty of the will is and it is impossible that such a love should be destroyed in any other way than by destroying his being. The saints love their own happiness. Yea, those that are perfect in happiness, the saints and angels in heaven, love their own happiness; otherwise that happiness which God hath given them would be no happiness to them.
-On Charity and It’s Fruits, by Jonathan Edwards
Yes, that came from Jonathan Edwards — the ‘puritanical’ man with a wig. You may be surprised to learn that he, and other puritans, had a lot more in common with joy-filled philosophers like Ayn Rand than both the modern Church and the modern school system would have you believe.
The quote he has provided above is an excellent description of true egoism — not the twisted cultural projections of blood-thirsty beasts, or of self-absorbed vanity queens, or of narcissistic idiots who can’t see past a mirror.