The Problem of What Is Good

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Truth, Goodness, and God

Christ faded 2B copyAll other teachers have pointed beyond themselves to truth. Jesus pointed to Himself and said: “I am the truth.” And somehow or other we believe it; for if we could sit down and try to imagine a perfect illustration of abstract truth translated into life and action, we could not think for the life of us of a better illustration than Jesus of Nazareth.

A man lived two thousand years ago; and now when I think of truth, I do not add truth to truth to get Truth—I think of Jesus. When I say Truth, I think of Jesus. When I say Goodness, I think of Jesus. And when I say God, I think of Jesus. If I don’t, I miss Truth; I miss Goodness; I miss God.

–E. Stanley Jones,
Mastery

The “Problem” of Goodness and Beauty

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We have spent centuries of philosophy trying to solve “the problem of evil,” yet I believe the much more confounding and astounding issue is the “problem of good.” How do we account for so much gratuitous and sheer goodness in this world?

―Richard Rohr

Emerging from the dungeon

cave[The theology of divine love] frees us from the dusty, dirty, smelly little dungeon of a universe that “Enlightenment” thought gave us: a universe in which love and beauty and praise and value are mere subjective fictions invented by the human mind, a universe in which the only things that are objectively real are blind bits of energy randomly bumping into each other.
           –Peter Kreeft

Beauty, Goodness and Science

icon-1372664I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.

–Erwin Schrödinger, 
Austrian physicist,
One of the founders of quantum theory,
Nobel Prize winner for Physics

The Three Absolutes

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[W]e have the true, the good, and the beautiful as the three absolutes. The three things every human being wants infinitely, and is not satisfied with only a little bit of. We’re satisfied with a little bit of food; we’re satisfied with a little bit of power; we’re satisfied with a little bit of sex; but not a little bit of truth. “I’ll be ignorant about fifty percent of truth and knowledgeable about fifty percent” — nobody says that. I’ve got a couple of things that are good for me, but I want some things that are not good for me — nobody says that. I like to enjoy beauty on Monday, but ugliness is okay on Tuesday — nobody says that. And therefore these are the three things that don’t get boring and therefore they are the three foretastes of heaven, because they are three attributes of Almighty God himself.

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But without God, there really is no truth, because there’s no being. God, being, and truth are a kind of progression. Truth means truth about what is real, and if there’s no ultimate being, no ultimate reality, then reality is just what we call it. It falls apart, ultimately. Deep down, everything is empty. So if there’s no truth, there’s nothing for either reason or faith to grab onto, so you’re a sceptic. And that’s certainly one of the deep distresses of modern society — scepticism. Second, without truth there’s no goodness. Nothing’s truly good. Goodness too is kind of a fake, or purely subjective. So another aspect of the diagnosis of our society is amoralism. And without goodness, there’s really no beauty. Gothic cathedrals were not made by moral sceptics; they were made by saints.

–Peter Kreeft,
http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/philosophy/the-church-and-secularism-part-2.html

Truth, Beauty, Goodness

Truth-Goodness-BeautyThe scientist who lives laborious days in the disinterested pursuit of truth, the artist who will starve in a garret if only he may express the beauty he has seen, the martyr who will obey God in the scorn of consequence, are all religious men or, at least, are men who illustrate that principle which lies behind religion. Truth, Beauty, Goodness–these are sacred, the object of man’s true love and reverence. He to whom nothing is sacred, all questions are open, and the distinction between right and wrong is blurred, is an enslaved, not an emancipated, spirit.

–Nathaniel Micklem,
The Theology of Politics