Saw this on social media, posted by an atheist, presumably to take a stab at us Christians:

If you’re good because you fear hell, you’re not good.

To which I reply, “What is meant by ‘good’?”

This is the fundamental problem with attacking morality and then claiming there is nothing fixed from which morality derives.

You cannot claim to be “good” or “bad” if you do not fix morality in an immutable absolute.

So, after a little back and forth with the person, including some others chiming in to tell me to shut up and inform me how ignorant I am, it came down to this, I think: the intent of the post was the difference between “doing good” and “being good”.

Now that I find intriguing, because it begs a means of evaluating motive.  I have to give this some thought ….

Others said “good” depends on what evolution makes a social species do to support its survival, or maximize happiness while minimizing suffering.   But they didn’t all say it very nicely.  They certainly were not being “good” in my opinion.

But there is something deeper that gets at the heart of the matter.  Temptation is not something we can always, on our own, resist.  A healthy fear of consequences is often the extra anchor we need to remain firm in virtue.  Venerable Louis of Granada:

Without the fear of God the soul is like a ship without ballast; the winds of human or divine favor may sweep it to destruction.  Even if she is richly laden with virtue, she is in continual danger of being wrecked on the rocks of temptation, if she is not steadied by this ballast of the fear of God.



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