Showing posts with label Goodness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Goodness. Show all posts

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Inbox: Was Christ Actually ‘Good’?

I’m going to share with you a short exchange I had with a couple of philosophers, because it was interesting to me, and helped me think through a few things more carefully. The issue it raises might be something you’ve thought about as well.

A short aside: for the most part, I have reproduced my partners’ conversation mostly verbatim. I’ve only altered a couple of punctuation glitches, and made a couple of small line changes in my response. I’ve also inserted a few lines after-the-fact to help you track and to make it work as an article. But the substance is pretty much exactly as it really happened.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Politeness vs. Goodness, and Other Observations

A few unasked-for observations triggered by watching Christians attempt to edify one another on social media:

Observation 1: The frequency with which the words “That’s not very Christ-like” are employed is inversely proportional to the speaker’s grasp of what being like Christ actually involves.

Hey, I’m all for the occasional stern rebuke, having benefited from quite a few of them over the years, but for a word of correction to carry real moral authority, it kinda has to, well ... ring true. Lies, misrepresentations and insults don’t prick the conscience; the Holy Spirit does.

If you have never read the Gospels or have only managed to commit to memory the well-known bits about love and forgiveness, drawing an unfavorable comparison to Someone you don’t actually know very much about is probably not your best go-to line.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Goodness or Godhood

The following post is an edited version of a flyer created in 2016 for the author’s neighbors. He went to be with his Lord and Savior January 20, 2020, which is “far better”.

“Good” is a word often carelessly used in conversation.

Three examples: “People who work for the government earn a good wage”, or “The weather should be good tomorrow”, or you ask a friend, “How are you?” and he replies, “I’m good.”

That last one is too much for anyone to say of themselves. We have “all sinned and come short of the glory of God”. At best we are not absolutely good, though we may have done some relatively good things that we hope our neighbors appreciate.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Anonymous Asks (166)

“Are people born good?”

Aristotle argued that men are born amoral and morality is learned, while Rousseau insisted men would be gentle and pure without the greed and inequality promoted by the class system. The philosophical debate has gone on for centuries, and “science” has contributed little to finding an answer.

So then, expert opinion on the question averages out to something like “We’re not really sure.”

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Inbox: Was Christ Actually ‘Good’?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Anonymous Asks (45)

“Do I have to be nice to everyone?”

It very much depends on what you mean by “nice”. Christians often confuse being nice with being good. But the word “nice” is never used in our English Bibles.*

There are solid reasons for this. “Nice” is an awkward word, very much open to being misinterpreted. I can understand why Bible translators would make an effort to avoid its potential ambiguities. Its original meaning (now obsolete) was “wanton” or “dissolute”. Later, it came to mean “fastidious” or “exacting”. (For example, to make a “nice” distinction was to make a distinction so subtle that a lot of people would fail to grasp it.) All these historic ways of using “nice” are various degrees of negative.

Today, “nice” has come to mean “pleasing”, “agreeable” or “polite”. That is probably the way you are using it. Let’s go with that.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Politeness vs. Goodness, and Other Observations

The most recent version of this post is available here.