Is It Possible To Be “Good Without God”?

Weeks ago, I made the choice to not write about Movieguide on this blog anymore. The reason why is because I felt like devoting so much time and energy to pointing out the flaws of that organization was doing me more harm than good. And that was tainting the mood of my blog. I want this blog to be a place of peace and empathy, and that was being ruined by me writing many, many posts where I basically just said “___ is wrong. ___ is wrong. ___ is wrong.”

And I’m thankful for the blogger TheOriginalPhoenix. Thankful for how she has helped me and pushed me to keep trying to be the best person I can be. Her words are much-appreciated:

I did actually notice the shifting tone of your blog posts but I didn’t think it was significant enough to mention. I’m proud of you for choosing to move on from all the negativity! There’s enough of it to drown the world but there’s also enough positivity to lift up the world. It just depends on which direction you want to go.

I say this because:

I will be talking about Movieguide one more time, for this reason:

While driving, for some reason I thought of the ferry boat scene in The Dark Knight (2008). And then I remembered something Ted Baehr, Movieguide’s founder, had said.

Years ago, writing about the Harry Potter series, Ted Baehr made the claim that it is not possible to be good without God. His exact words are:

Dumbledore sits Harry down and tells him, “You are not a bad person. Every person has light and darkness. You have a choice.”

Contrary to Dumbledore’s idiotic aphorisms, there are bad people.

Contrary to the message of the “Harry Potter” books and movies, without God you cannot choose the good.
~ Potter’s kids: Narcissistic, spoiled brats

The reason these words bother me is because I have seen many, many people “choose the good” without God — many, many examples of people who weren’t Christians who did the right thing, even when it was hard.

I won’t be talking about those real-life examples.

What I will be doing, is asking a rhetorical question:

Because a person has not said “Jesus Christ is lord!” does that mean they are incapable of putting the detonator back in the box and returning to their seat?

The Bible makes it clear that God dwells within every person’s heart — regardless of whether or not they’ve accepted Jesus as their savior:

He has put eternity in the human heart.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:11

As movie critic Steven D. Greydanus put it:

So deeply does The Dark Knight delve into the darkness that lurks in the hearts of men that it comes almost as a shock, bordering on euphoria, to find that it maintains a tenacious grip onto hope in the human potential for good.

And my Catholic faith backs up Ecclesiastes 3:11 and Steven D. Greydanus, too:

The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for…
~ Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), Section 27

Man is by nature and vocation a religious being. Coming from God, going toward God, man lives a fully human life only if he freely lives by his bond with God.
~ CCC, Section 44

When he listens to the message of creation and to the voice of conscience, man can arrive at certainty about the existence of God, the cause and the end of everything.
~ CCC, Section 46

My point is:

Contrary to what Ted Baehr says, it is possible for a person to “choose the good” without God.

I wrote this blog post because I felt like I had to.

I don’t think the tone of this post is negative.

My intent with this post is to say:

This is why I believe that a person doesn’t have to accept Jesus in order to do the right thing. Whatever “the right thing” is.

As my faith’s catechism says:

We are inherently religious beings — we all inherently feel a pull towards something greater than ourselves.

I see evidence of that all around me…

Image result for religion my neighbor totoro
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
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6 thoughts on “Is It Possible To Be “Good Without God”?

  1. 😟 I liked that quote by Dumbledore! But the message of this post is right-on, virtue and goodness just have to come from inside. Maybe it’s because God made us that way I don’t know, but it’s definitely something that all human beings are capable of. Thanks for mentioning me in this post, I didn’t realize I impacted you so much! 🙂

    1. Thank you for reading, and sharing your thoughts on, my post. 🙂

      I like that quote by Dumbledore, too. It’s one of my favorite quotes in the series.

      You’re welcome for me mentioning you in the post. I’m at a good place in my life right now, and I wouldn’t be there without you. You’ve impacted me for the better in ways I am continuing to discover. 🙂

      1. I’m glad to know I’m of help, that was my goal when starting this blog to improve people’s lives. All but recently, I wasn’t sure if I was succeeding, but in the past few weeks I’ve seen my readership starting to mention me more and more. I’m just so honored to have this opportunity! 😊

      2. Thank you for starting your blog. 🙂

        You’ve helped me, and I believe that you will help many, many more, too.

        For over a year, I too wondered if anything I was saying was having any impact on anyone.

        One thing I’ve learned since I’ve started blogging is:

        It can take a long time, and you might not ever hear about it, but your words will have a positive effect on someone.

        One YouTube video that has inspired me and encouraged me is this one:

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