Books on nature of goodness

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Nature of a Man
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Books on nature of goodness

Post by Nature of a Man » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:26 pm

I'm interested in hearing of any books that describe the fundamental nature or essence of 'goodness' from a theological or philosophical perspective - or what it means to be and do good sincerely.

I would say that a problem i see in society in general is that "goodness" is often reduced merely to doing "good works" such as donating to charities, being a "hard worker", volunteering in one's spare time, etc and often of a prideful or Pharisaical nature, where the motive is merely to "look good" to the public for self-serving reasons, rather than a respect for the underlying principles of goodness.

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Re: Books on nature of goodness

Post by durangopipe » Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:13 am

Nature of a Man wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:26 pm
I'm interested in hearing of any books that describe the fundamental nature or essence of 'goodness' from a theological or philosophical perspective - or what it means to be and do good sincerely.

I would say that a problem i see in society in general is that "goodness" is often reduced merely to doing "good works" such as donating to charities, being a "hard worker", volunteering in one's spare time, etc and often of a prideful or Pharisaical nature, where the motive is merely to "look good" to the public for self-serving reasons, rather than a respect for the underlying principles of goodness.
Not a lot of help regarding a good book, but this quote from T.S. Elliot’s Murder in the Cathedral, about the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, beautifully expresse the problem you describe in verse:

The last temptation is the greatest treason
To do the right thing for the wrong reason
. . . be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)

The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.. J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Books on nature of goodness

Post by tuttle » Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:54 am

While I can't off hand think of a book with that exact topic at the center, I'd recommend reading lots and lots of C.S. Lewis.
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Re: Books on nature of goodness

Post by UncleBob » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:30 am

I believe that most of the more recent theological work on "goodness" (or the Form of Goodness) is in conjunction with the problem of evil. You might research:
  • Theology and the Problem of Evil By Kenneth Surin
  • The Problem of Evil: A Reader by Mark Larrimore
I do remember reading this book: Being and goodness: The concept of the good in metaphysics and philosophical theology edited by Scott MacDonald. It is another reader articles by various scholars. I enjoyed it but I don't remember it being particularly earth-shattering. Balthasar looked at it, from a Catholic view, as "theodramatics" which I always thought was interesting. Kierkegaard has some fascinating views on it in Fear and Trembling. But most of what I have seen is in conjunction with systematic theology readers.

Good luck.
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Re: Books on nature of goodness

Post by Cleon » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:11 am

Jonathan Edwards...that crusty Puritan, believe it or not, has some good stuff on the nature of goodness. It's been a while since I've read Edwards. I can't think of the titles...maybe "The Nature of True Virtue". Anyway, the man loved to contemplate the goodness of God and His creation. He spent a lot of time making observations and marveling at the goodness of creation, keeping journals and drawings.
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Re: Books on nature of goodness

Post by Goose55 » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:48 am

tuttle wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:54 am
While I can't off hand think of a book with that exact topic at the center, I'd recommend reading lots and lots of C.S. Lewis.
I have a great daily reader, A Year With C.S. Lewis that is excellent and he often touches on this topic. Somewhere in it he says (and I am paraphrasing) "if we do let Christ in, we can expect that everything He does is with the aim to make us perfect."
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Re: Books on nature of goodness

Post by Thoth » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:43 am

I'm confused or rather find the original question a little vague. Are you looking for a biblical anthropology, so to speak? Or are you looking for a moral/social justice type treatise?

Or maybe in my own religious context misunderstanding what you mean by goodness. From an Orthodox standpoint, we are not called to be good. Christianity is not concerned with morals per se. Rather we are called to be holy to conform to image of Christ, goodness is a fruit or consequence of that.

That way instead of recommending a variety of texts that won't necessarily answer your question, I could recommend something more of what you are looking for.
"Go and reconcile with him who has trespassed against you before he comes and apologises to you and steals your crown" - H.H. Pope Cyril VI<br><br>"O Lord I was not aware of the treasure within me that is You" - H.H. Pope Shenouda III

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Re: Books on nature of goodness

Post by UncleBob » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:38 pm

Thoth wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:43 am
I'm confused or rather find the original question a little vague. Are you looking for a biblical anthropology, so to speak? Or are you looking for a moral/social justice type treatise?

Or maybe in my own religious context misunderstanding what you mean by goodness. From an Orthodox standpoint, we are not called to be good. Christianity is not concerned with morals per se. Rather we are called to be holy to conform to image of Christ, goodness is a fruit or consequence of that.

That way instead of recommending a variety of texts that won't necessarily answer your question, I could recommend something more of what you are looking for.
I believe that it is an artifact from the idea of "Good" in Platonic Forms.
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Re: Books on nature of goodness

Post by Hovannes » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:58 pm

Volume 1, Question 5 Of Goodness in General and Question 6 The Goodness of God and in Volume 2 Questions 18 Of the Good and Evil of Human Acts Question 19 Of the Goodness and Malice of the Interior Act of the Will Question 20 Of Goodness and Malice in External Human Actions Question 21 Of the Consequences of Human Action by Reason of Their Good and Malice and Question 24 Of Good and Evil in the Passions of the Soul in St Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica would be a good start.
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Re: Books on nature of goodness

Post by Nature of a Man » Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:39 pm

Thank you gentlemen for the advice, I'm continuing my reading plans, and I'll be happy to share with you all my insights. In the past, I felt that my conception of "goodness" ways myopic, or solely a conception of "good works" devoid of any underlying principle, but lately I've felt I understand how to incorporate the essential concept of "goodness" into everyday life and interactions with others.

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Re: Books on nature of goodness

Post by wosbald » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:54 pm

+JMJ+
Nature of a Man wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:39 pm
… I'll be happy to share with you all my insights. …
Uhh, yeah. About that …

ImageImage

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Re: Books on nature of goodness

Post by Nature of a Man » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:11 pm

wosbald wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:54 pm
+JMJ+
Nature of a Man wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:39 pm
… I'll be happy to share with you all my insights. …
Uhh, yeah. About that …
What about that?

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Re: Books on nature of goodness

Post by hugodrax » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:28 pm

Nature of a Man wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:11 pm
wosbald wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:54 pm
+JMJ+
Nature of a Man wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:39 pm
… I'll be happy to share with you all my insights. …
Uhh, yeah. About that …
What about that?
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Re: Books on nature of goodness

Post by CodeMonkey » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:51 pm

Image
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Re: Books on nature of goodness

Post by sweetandsour » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:56 pm

CodeMonkey wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:51 pm
Image
+1
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