Sunday, October 09, 2016

This week's lesson (October 8-14): does Job fear God for naught?

"How can you tell if someone is good?"

"Why . . . if they do good things, of course!"

"But maybe they're not good -- maybe they're just afraid to be bad. If you do bad things, after all, then you are punished."

"Certainly."

"And if you do good things, then you are rewarded."

"Also true."

"That means some people do good things, not because they're good, but only because it pays them to be good."

"True again."

"But you it paid them to be bad, then they'd do bad things."

"Just because you do good things, in other words, doesn't necessarily mean you're a good person."

"No, you may just be sneaky!"

"So how can you tell is someone is truly good?"

"Well, if a bad person is good only when it pays to be good . . ."

"Then a good person would be good, even if it didn't pay off."

"How could you make sure of this?"

"Obvious: see to it they're punished for being good! Yes, let them be accused, tried, beaten, and killed through no fault of their own."

"And if they continue to be good, even then?"

"Then we'll know they are good all the time -- and not just when it's convenient."

Adapted from the dialogue 
between Glaucon and Socrates in Plato's Republic.

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