Here we engage with thousands or maybe even millions of thoughtful people from around the world. What is good? How do we decide what is good? Even if objective truth is real and some things are good while others are bad, how do we choose which ones belong in each category?
To start this discussion, unfortunately on a Friday, let me suggest that that which is good first needs to be that which promotes life. I am admittedly slipping in another assumption here, but I think that we probably could all agree that if we want to build a society made up of people, then the people need to be alive in order to be members in that society. If we built a society that did not value life whatsoever (kind of like I would argue the direction our society is moving in right now), it would not be any surprise to see multiple attacks on human dignity. After all, if life in and of itself is not valuable for any other reason than the fact that life is better than not being alive, there is no reason to prohibit murder, assault, battery, abuse or any other attack on another person.
If the promotion and protection of life is not a priority of any society, it will not be a society for very long. Look at the Lord of the Flies for a fictional portrayal of the consequences.
Second, that which is good needs to promote freedom. A little while ago, we had a long discussion about freedom, and I suggested, as a way to springboard this entire discussion we find ourselves in right now, freedom to do what is right is a wonderful thing. We want a society where people do that which is right because it is right. If they are doing what is right for any other reason, such as compulsion, they are liable to violate the rules anyway. If they believe the right things, then they are going to freely choose to do that which is right. That is the ideal we’re shooting for here. Freedom is an inherent part of that because humanity is truly free as we have talked about before.
People are free to make choices evidently, and as a result, any society needs to promote that which is consistent with reality. Remember, that is one of our prior criteria. Beliefs need to correspond with reality, and human freedom is consistent with reality. People were created free, and that which is allowed to be consistent with that tendency. It is a far better thing to have a free people who choose to do the right thing than captive people who are forced to do the right thing.
We’re going to continue on this topic more next week as we continue our explore the topic further, but it seems to be clear at this point that promoting life is necessary for a society as well as the promotion of freedom which is consistent with the way that humans are wired and created.