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Reflection 22 (p11 - cont)
Why Do Right? A Secularist's Answer

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Darwin, in his 'Decent of Man,' gives potent reasons why we should live good lives. He points out that the possession of moral qualities is a great aid in the struggle for existence; that people with strong moral feelings are more likely to win in the race of life than persons who are destitute of such feelings. Goodness has in itself its own recommendation, inasmuch as it secures for its recipients peace of mind, temperance in their habits, and a sense of justice in their dealings with others. Men of honor, whose lives are regulated by the principle of integrity, furnish the best of all reasons for being good. They are happy in the consciousness of the nobility of their own nature, and they derive consolation from the knowledge that they render valuable service to others by the dignified example they set. and the exalted lives they live. Those who can see the worth of virtue and of truth in human character are imbued with a spirit of emulation; they desire to be associated with a superior order of society. Such members of the community can readily see that without "confidence and trust" the commercial world would collapse. The same principle applies to the whole of human life, for it is not simply that "honesty is the best policy," but that it is the only policy which will secure a tranquil state of existence. Rectitude is the source of self-reliance in life and at death. Men who are able to distinguish the good from the bad are attracted by honor and refinement. They shun malignity and vulgarity, and are repelled by whit is vicious and demoralizing, Men should be good because goodness qualifies them or friendship, and wins for them the esteem of the best of their kind. Further, it awakens within them a sense of what is most fitted to enable them to adopt an elevated mode of living. They become practical believers in that which is just and useful, and they are thereby inspired to strive to realize their ideal born of newer and higher perceptions of truth. Let the lover of goodness once be admitted into the presence of the intellectually gifted and morally heroic and life will present to him a mew aspect. When we read of Plutarch's heroes; of Greece with her art and her literature; of Rome with her Cicero and her Antoninus; and of the muster-roll of men and women whose memories are surrounded with a halo of intellectual brilliancy and ethical glory, we no longer regard the world as the habitation only of moral invalids and of mental imbeciles. On the contrary, a higher faith in the potency and grandeur of human goodness is evoked, exalted thoughts are inspired within us, and we are induced to believe that goodness will be more than ever appreciated for its own sake, and that virtue will be honored and revered for its intrinsic merits.

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