Are You a Good Person?

I don’t know anyone who thinks s/he is a bad person. We all want to do good things, and we want to be liked and respected. Wanting to do good things is arguably not a very high standard to aspire to.

Are we really good? We all slip up and make mistakes from time to time. We sometimes allow ourselves to do things we know are wrong, or at least later realize were wrong. We may forgive or persecute ourselves depending, perhaps, not so much on what we did, but often based more on our self view and feeling of true accountability under the particular circumstances.

A recent post explored the relationship between intentions and accountability: wanting to be/do good versus actions that actually are good. How do we define actions that are good? Huge topic there (well beyond the scope of this), but one indicator is to look at the outcomes, the results. So can we can say that actions which produce good outcomes are inherently good? That’s tantamount to saying that the end justifies the means.

Religion, as noted in the other post (and an upcoming post), can provide clarity or contribute to confusion. It forbids us from taking certain actions, regardless of the outcome, and even imposes a set of rules to be followed that can disconnect us from some of those outcomes.

What do you think makes you a good person? Is it that your intentions are generally good? Or do you follow your religious beliefs to the letter? If not to the letter then how do you decide what parts to follow? Aren’t you back to intentions at that point? Or is it something else?

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