The Gross National Debt

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Some questions that will be totally ignored

Help me out here.

Take this statement:

If the only reason you do good things is because you are afraid of going to hell, you are not really a good person.

I can accept that. If the only reason you do anything good is to avoid being punished, well yeah, you are not good person. You are a bad person held in check by threats of violence against your person.

Take a slightly different look at that axiom.

If the only reason you do good things is because someone is holding a gun to your head, then you are not a good person.

Pretty much identical, yes?

No.

The first axiom sort of supposes a supernatural being who will pass judgment on humans when we exit this life.

The second posits Person B forces Person A to do good things. A very real threat. If Person A does not do good things, Person B is going to deliver Person A to the afterlife.

If you hold a gun to someone's head to make them do good things, you are not a good person.

Well, maybe you are a good person by your definition. May your definition of good and moral behavior means forcing people to do something against their will.

Does it make a difference if two people are holding guns? Three? A dozen? 10,000? A million?

Where is the breaking point?

I am truly confused. I have close friends who have no problem slinging the first axiom around like it is a scythe. But bring up axiom No. 2 with real life examples and they are not so eager to start a harvest. After the examples, bring up Point 3 and all hell breaks loose with tangents exploding faster than a ton of Tannerite on a redneck 4th of July.

Let's make this personal. If you hold a gun to my head to make me do good things, what does that say about you?

I am genuinely curious.

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