Edmund Burke, an Irish born classical political thinker of the late Seventeen and early Eighteen hundreds, coined the oft-quoted phrase: “the only thing needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
I am an Orthodox Christian. The Good is objective reality. It is not subjective. In fact, it is better to simply state: “God is the Good.” “No one is good but God alone” (cf. Mark 10:18). The good of humanity is inextricably tied to God. Evil is an active movement away from the Good that is God. As God is eternal and unchanging, so is the Good. God has revealed Himself, in as much as mankind can bear it. He clearly revealed the way of the Good. Humanity may freely choose the Good or just as freely reject it.
In the relatively recent past, some purportedly “enlightened” folks ventured the thought: the good is subject to mankind. It is only an idea of men created by the confines of culture and history. Thus, men can alter the good. Men are the masters of the good. The good is only what men say it is. So they assert, the good is mutable. What was once “bad” may be redefined as “good,” and vice versa. There is nothing higher than humanity.
Humanity is neither the source nor the master of the good. The good is not an abstract idea that can be bent and molded by people according to their desires and times. It transcends time and limited human experience. Why? Because God is the Good. Virtues and morals, which are bound to the Good, are also everlasting and unchanging principles. The Good is timelessly potent, whether a multitude or a single person adheres to it. Simply because some people (even a “majority”) choose to promote evil as good does not make it so. Renaming black as white does not change the actual color reality. But today many would have us believe that black is white, and white is black.
I am a man attempting to act and think in accordance with the Good. Good is higher than humanity. Humanity is subject to the Good and is good in as much as it pursues, guards, and adheres to the Good. Only in the Good is there life. The anti-good (evil) has only one end: death. God has revealed the Good so that we, His creation, might have life. Life most abundantly (cf. Jn. 10:10).
My writing credentials do not come from the fact that I am a “good” man, in and of myself. Such a thing does not exist. My credentials remain in the fact that I am striving to base my thoughts and way of life upon the Good that is God. Again, this is very objective. Humanity has not been left without standards. God revealed Himself by becoming man. He left us the Church, His Body, as the “pillar and ground of truth” (cf. 1 Tim. 3:15). We have the testimony of Jesus Christ and the Apostles – the Scriptures. We have a two thousand year experience of Christian living and teaching (tradition). These are all very concrete and empirical.
Good conscience has its source only in God. The Incarnate revelation of the Good is the guiding star of good conscience. Ultimately, evil cannot triumph. It may seem to overwhelmingly win some battles, but triumph it cannot. It is doomed to death. It is doomed to lose. Sadly, it seeks to destroy as many persons as possible before its inevitable defeat. Sadly, many people willingly join the technicolor, fan-fare, glitter parade on the broad path to the abyss. Sadly, these people want to forcefully drag others down with them. Evil knows it is doomed, thus it seeks to “triumph” by destroying as many souls as possible.
Truly, this “triumph” must be fought by all persons of good conscience.