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Under goodness (of good , mhd. Güete, OHG. Guoti, goodness ', formerly kindness ) is defined as a friendly, benevolent and lenient attitude towards others. Elements of kindness are doing good , exercising grace , benevolence, and mercy . The opposite of goodness or kindness of heart is seen as strict or intransigent. In Christianity, goodness is one of the main qualities of God (see also love of God ), as well as the fruit of the Holy Spirit .

Goodness in the doctrine of virtues

In individual considerations of virtue , goodness is specifically mentioned. The allegorical poem Der Meide Kranz (around 1355) by Heinrich von Mügeln shows twelve virtues, including goodness. The German philosopher Johann Friedrich Herbart names cardinal virtues : bravery , freedom , goodness and justice .

Requirements for goodness

According to the New Testament, goodness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit . It is worked in people through this and is not limited to a certain level, but can increase and grow. Paul's letter to the Galatians explains: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness" ( Gal 5:22  EU )

Albert Schweitzer explains in his book The Teaching of Reverence for Life that those who have the courage to judge and judge themselves, to struggle to become truly peaceful, advance in goodness:

“Right thinking lets the heart have a say. Continuous kindness can do a lot. As the sun melts the ice, it makes misunderstandings, distrust, and hostility disappear. What kindness a person gives out into the world works on people's hearts and minds. "

Arthur Schopenhauer attributes the goodness of the heart to the predominance of knowledge over will :

“Because that [goodness] arises ultimately from the fact that the merely recognized suffering of others determines our actions more than our own will and its immediate satisfaction. ... Generosity , clementia, forgiveness , replying to evil with good, compel us with unmeasured praise and admiration, because he who practices it recognizes his own essence also in him who misunderstood his own: and at the same time brings him back from his error on the path which is the gentlest and at the same time the only sure one: because this is compelled to say to himself (in the innermost feeling): 'The being that I hurt was myself, because it treats me like oneself.' - How little, on the other hand, can the uncertain path of reproaches. "


Web links

Wiktionary: Goodness  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ e.g. ( Röm 2,4  EU ), ( Röm 11,22  EU ), ( Tit 3,4  EU )
  2. Galatians 5:22 : "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness" ( Gal 5:22  EU )
  3. Cardinal Virtues . In: Meyers Konversations-Lexikon . 4th edition. Volume 9, Verlag des Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1885–1892, p. 507.
  4. Albert Schweitzer: The Doctrine of Reverence for Life , p. 49.
  5. Arthur Schopenhauer: About Güte und Großmut , Vol. 4 of the complete edition ( "The handwritten estate in five volumes." , Ed. By Arthur Hübscher), quoted from Ulrich Wickert, Das Buch der Tugenden , p. 449