I had a conversation with one atheist on this subject and after a number of exchanges she wrote that she had this sudden revelation that we all do what we feel like doing.
What is the ultimate point? Truth ought to be the ultimate objective in our worldview and let the consequences to our public altruism fall where they may. But how does truth win when the ultimate objective is feeling good?
In an earlier email, I think you wrote that your purpose was to try and make the world a better place. Now you write that you derive your ethics from self interest. From googling, I can tell that “self interest” doesn’t play very well to the general populace from an ethical or purpose-in-life perspective. But of course, “making the world a better place” is very popular. Is this consistency?
It may be true that people tend to do what they want to do (and use their philosophy to justify it later), but this is not a desirable situation. I certainly don’t do many things I’d like to do because my desires conflict with my philosophy.
Now, about my consistency. I say that my purpose is to make the world a better place and that I derive my ethics from self interest. These two statements do not contradict themselves, in that the first is a personal goal and the second is a statement of philosophy. Even so, it is in my best interest to make the world a better place, so the two go together well.