Self sacrifice is praised for it is seeing that good is so good that even if you torture yourself to do the right thing then that is praiseworthy and good.

Jesuit philosopher F Copleston argued against Immanuel Kant’s view that the more you do not want to do good the more good it is if you do it.

Copleston wrote in his volume on Kant which was a part of his History of Philosophy that Kant believed that “the moral value of an action performed for the sake of duty is increased in proportion to a decrease in inclination to perform the action” (page 109).

He rejects Kant’s view because, “This point of view is contrary to the common conviction that the integrated personality, in whom inclination and duty coincide, has achieved a higher level of moral development than the man in whom inclination and desire are at war with his sense of duty” (page 109).

I think Kant meant the person who could not want to do good but did it while Copelston is thinking of the person who could. To do good while deliberately making yourself not want to do it would be a sign of a twisted and bad person. The inclination against doing good does not mean that you are on a low level of morality because it is not caused by your will.

It is significant and not surprising that Copleston said that Kant’s attitude “may be incorrect” not is “incorrect” (page 109).

But if you make yourself reluctant to learn to be self-disinterestedly good that cannot be wrong. You wilfully disincline yourself to do good so you have the mighty will-power to do good.

If there is a God he certainly disinclines people. He puts urges in you that make it hard for you to be good. The Church believes that temptation is not a sin and God lets Satan tempt us to make us stronger and better people. For the Christian, hating the thought of being good is a gift if the hate is inbuilt. It would be a sin to be happy about liking being good!

The religious person who rejects the notion that the more you hate good involuntarily then the more good you are if you do it is really a case of mere lip-service. It is about trying to attract the gullible to the faith and not put them off with the fear of hard work.

The religionist is talking as if the rejection is right because most people think so. It is bad philosophy to put what people think before reason. The person knows fine well that one who overcomes crippling weakness to do good is better than the one who finds it easy if the religious view that suffering is for growing in goodness of your free will is true. The first person is most likely to be doing the thing because it is right while the latter is doing it because it is easy and not just because it is right.

Sometimes the religious person is a Catholic priest and needs to say something to "justify" priests having the comforts they are accustomed to.

What is the link between actions and thoughts and vice versa? Bad actions lead to bad thoughts and bad thoughts lead to bad feelings. Bad feelings are good if used to generate and maximise sacrifice if altruism is true. Painful actions can lead to painful thoughts which make it painful to be good.

The hypocrisy of praising the person who dies in saving strangers or enemies and not praising the silent hero who fights evil instincts intensely not knowing perhaps where they are coming from is hypocrisy.

We conclude that if somebody is in the lowest pit of evil and fights with all their might to do a good work even as they hate it that person is a hero. How could you condemn that if the intention is to recognise how good good is that it is worth resisting huge internal hate for it? That is not the same as somebody working up hate for goodness so that they will struggle to do it and probably fail.


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