This is something that I have pondered on for a while now. Of course, it is the unanswerable question - but still. To be 'good' is to be what exactly? Kind? Selfless? Sacrificial?
At what point does 'good' evolve into a kind of martyrdom? ... Sometimes, it is easier to attempt a question by turning it on its head. At what point does 'bad' cross into the terrible quality of self-serving evil?
I know I have been bad before. I've been nasty to people. Talked behind their back. Been needlessly cruel, and in the moment, enjoyed it. I've taken pleasure in someone I dislike failing at something. I've lied and stolen. Been envious and jealous. I've sinned each of the great seven vices.
By any religious accounts, I am surely damned. And that is a little scary - Even for an atheist. There are those who are pious - But why? Pious for the prize of heaven, or for the goodness of this mortal realm?
On top of that, there is no end of those who preach virtue who are guilty of some of the worst crimes. And a lot of atheists seem to enjoy that. I don't. But then, writing this I am smug that I don't. And that is a bad thing.
Of course, for all the bad things that I have done I feel regret. I am terrible at grudge holding, even if I ought to. If you ever need forgiveness, seek me out. (see, smugness again) But I never seem to forgive myself. Over and over I'll chastise myself.
(and that, was a fine example of self-pitying, which is generally seen as a bad quality) I do good things too; Give to charity, comfort people, help the elderly find buses... I don't know why I do any of these things, It just feels nice.
But then, like the false preacher doing good only to access paradise, am I only doing good things for the personal pleasure I feel? Would I go out of my way to help if it offered me nothing in return? Even further, would I be good at the cost to myself? Could I sacrifice myself?
I don't know. Maybe. I like to think I would, But perhaps I only say that to comfort myself in the darkest nights. It is quite possible that I would not help, nor risk my own skin. It would be entirely human.
I could cite human nature here and say that selfishness is the key to survival, But I think there is something wrong with pinning everything to science. In a way, like religion, that limits my free will. It is the Original Sin all over again.
If I am a bad person, I wish to be so on my own terms. Without free will, no one could be intrinsically bad. And therefore, no one would be good. I am not saying that I demand to be considered good - But it would make me very sad if no one was considered good.
There would not be very much point to anything. But no matter, no matter. I suppose one must go on, No doubt I have this all back to front and this has all been a pointless waste of your time. Forgive me. And if you are kind enough,
Indulge me. I am no philosopher - I am no great mind. I hide behind a false image and foolish words. They don't really mean anything, But permit me a little longer to pretend that they do. ---
I do not think I am a bad person, I cannot promise I am a good person. But still, I shall endeavour to be one. That is all that I will swear to. Sy.