Thursday, October 15, 2015

Religious motives for doing good

What are the religious motivations for good behavior? Is it all reward and punishment, or is it motivating for people to believe that their good actions are actions that fulfill the intended purpose of their existence? 


B. Prokop said...

The "religious motive" for doing good is to partake personally in the life of the Holy Trinity. God is in His essence a loving community of three Persons. The
Doctrine of the Trinity is the rock-bottom, essential, supremely important truth of Christianity, and all else flows from it. Love is the fundamental reality behind creation itself, and therefore why we even exist. To "do good" is part and parcel of our very natures (being made in the Image of God). To do otherwise is ultimately to deny ourselves.

Love's opposite is sin (i.e., "doing evil"). To definitively reject Love is the definition of Hell.

Reward and punishment are simply ways of describing the inevitable results of either accepting or denying reality.

Jezu ufam tobie!

brownmamba said...

The idea that God is the "love" between the three persons of the trinity is very interesting, but I don't think it survives scrutiny.

First, I would like to ask how this love is instantiated. Are the three persons deeply staring into each others' eyes for all eternity? Moreover, how can love be instantiated outside space-time? (This must be possible since God is supposed to have created space-time).

Second, if God is the "community" then each of the three persons wouldn't be identical to God. They would be "members" or "parts" of God, but not God themselves. Moreover, God couldn't accurately be described as being all-knowing or omnipotent because these are properties of individuals.

It sounds very nice to say that "love is the fundamental reality behind creation itself", but I don't think its on firm ground conceptually.

B. Prokop said...

Doesn't survive scrutiny?

Well, heck. It survived the scrutiny of Athanasius, Jerome, Augustine, Pope Gregory the Great, Thomas Aquinas, St. Francis, St. Dominic, St. Ignatius Loyola, Dame Julian of Norwich, Dante Alighieri, St. Teresa of Avila, Chaucer, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Maxmilian Kolbe, St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, Dorothy Day, and... well, let's just say 2000 years and counting of the finest minds of Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestantism.

But hey, it hasn't withstood brownmamba's scrutiny? I guess that evens the score.

Jezu ufam tobie!