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What makes you a good person? 7

All humans have some good qualities that make them good people in their own ways. Over the years of growing up in a moderately Christian household, I often wondered why we did the things we did. Did we do them to be good people? Does going to church every Sunday because you feel you will live in a utopia after you die make you a better person? I often wondered what I was getting out of church, but I could never figure it out. Over the years of wandering threads of thought, I came to the realization and opinion that going to church is largely a social thing, and doing things for the purpose of eternal life is somewhat selfish when you don’t really understand the reason you’re doing the things you do.

I now consider myself an atheist and I like to read about different religions to see the good aspects of each religion. I think being a good person means taking the time and energy to do something for somebody else. People are essentially what make other people happy. Selfishness and spoiling of one’s self can bring a degree of happiness, but it can also bring on a form of emptiness. Without unselfishness and gratuity toward others, I don’t think a person can ever have complete happiness.

While growing up, I believed that going to church makes you a good person. I now realize that the unselfish things my Mother did for me to make growing up easier, and the unselfish things my father did for me to bring some fun into my life were far superior in making them good people than going to church. Although I think I should do more, I’m done school and I don’t have a wife or kids to worry about, so I’m going to participate in various programs that I believe in. Everyone has their own way of giving back, in little ways and in big ways. I believe you have to enjoy and believe in something to be successful at it, and if you’re doing something for someone else, it will only make you happier about yourself and others.

7 thoughts on “What makes you a good person?

  1. Anonymous Jan 25,2005 5:15 am

    Hey, this is MJ. You moved to blogspot! Why?!?!

  2. Jim Jan 25,2005 5:19 am

    MJ – Blogspot offers a superior hosting service to that offered by Tblog, along with the fact that the blog entries are archived better by using the HTML method, as opposed to the PHP dynamic web application method. Google likes the static HTML method much better 😉

  3. Anonymous Jan 25,2005 5:24 am

    This is me again, MJ. OK, now I am confused..I don’t know much about computer stuff, oh well, it’s ok. Nevermind. Hope you are doing good. 🙂

  4. Anonymous Jan 25,2005 1:13 pm

    From Barry,
    Going to church does not make you a better person.Going to church is to worship the person who created this life and to thank Him for giving you what you have.People who go to church to impress themselves are going nowhere.Believe it or not,you are far from being an atheist.Wanting to give back to others is exactly what the bible preaches,and you,(subconsciously)are motivated by the holy spirit.

  5. Jim Jan 25,2005 4:11 pm

    Barry – I have always believed in the principles that make up many religions, and I do believe the the philisophical stories of religious literature can be entertaining and inspiring, but I’m not convinced that the good things we do is for a higher power, but more for each other.

  6. Anonymous Jan 25,2005 5:05 pm

    mumble mumble.. so i gotta come all the way here to comment from blog land.. mumble mumble… now i have to read the whole thing..



  7. Anonymous Jan 25,2005 10:21 pm

    I’m a little reluctant to comment on this issue because it may not be such a good idea – I don’t want to regret this later…but I’d like to say that I agree partially with both Jim and Barry, but I also partially disagree.

    I disagree that there is anyone good. I do perceive though, that we are designed with something called a ‘conscience’ and that the Designer as we say in western society ‘God’, put it there. I say this because I observe that there are universal principles of goodness that we as human beings hold to, so conclude that these have been programmed into each of our consciences. I believe that when we choose to follow them, we are ‘doing good’. Why I wouldn’t call anyone good (including myself) is because we as individuals are constantly at war with the selfishness we have inside. Selfishness is what causes us to neglect, use, abuse, and tear one another down on a daily basis. No other animals on this planet destroy each other as much as we do. I agree with Jim that selflessness (combating and winning out over basic selfishness/self-absorption) is the key to real satisfaction.

    Eternal life?
    Strangely enough, I agree with Jim that if someone is doing good only to enter utopia, may be missing the point. One should do good because it’s right to do and benefits everyone. We live on one planet so it’s our duty to be concerned about others sharing this space. I think though that wanting eternal life is completely natural. That is why people instinctually either fear death and/or mourn death. Something inside of all of us tells us that we want to go on forever. Only suicidal people want to end their lives, and there’s a reason why doctors diagnose such individuals as ‘unhealthy’.

    I agree with Barry that church does (or is meant to) provide a support network for people who share beliefs and also to say thanks communally to the Designer of life. However, I do not believe that to say thanks to God for having a good life, one needs to go to a church building. One can really say thanks by appreciating one’s family, spreading the love, being socially responsible, and by just saying ‘thanks’.
    I also agree with Jim that going to church doesn’t make one a good person and that oftentimes, people substitute religious activity (i.e. going to church, performing rituals) for ‘doing good’ and inner transformation.

    I disagree with Jim that he is an atheist (sorry Jim!). I agree with Barry that Jim’s source of inspiration is far from atheism but that inside he still clings to some core values from Christianity in a more subconscious manner. I say that he is not a true atheist because if he was to investigate truly atheistic society models and/or values (i.e. Stalinist Russia, Ho Chi Minh’s Vietnam, Mao Tse-Tung’s China) he would consider these models and ideas very foreign to some of the ideals that he holds. A great non-fictional book that highlights what core values we in western society take for granted that are of uniquely Judeo-Christian origin is written by a famous author named Thomas Cahill entitled ‘Desire of the Everlasting Hills’. Jim should not be surprised to find some of his core values there.


    paraphrased quotes from the good book (relating to Jim’s spiel):

    “it’s better to give than to receive” – acts 20:35

    “pure and true religion is this: to visit widows and the fatherless in their distress and to keep oneself unspoiled from society’s ways” james 1:27

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