Blog: Public Good

Christine Alfery

Posted on June 10 2021

Blog: Public Good

Featured image: Carnival

What is the rational premise of this statement? “It is for the public good.” Is it the good of the many over the good of the few or the good of the ones that will be served by this public good? What about the ones that are not served?

To answer these questions the story of Abraham and Isaac in the Old Testament of the Bible pops into my head regarding the sacrificial lamb. Are the ones that are not served the sacrificial lambs? Do the ones that are not served become the slaves to the ones who are?

Would you be able to make the choice to sacrifice your only son, your beloved son whom you believed would be the father of all nations because God told you so? Would you? Several years ago, I heard this question asked when attending church with my daughter one Sunday morning. My answer was no, I could not. I knew why. It was because I believed in life and that it was precious and should be treasured. But, as I pondered this question and my answer, I wondered if I was being true to my belief in God?

After thinking about this question and my answer to it, this what I came up with and it applies to my initial question about what is public good. In the end Abraham did not sacrifice Isaac. The concept of free will does exist in the Bible as we see it in the story of Adam and Eve. And the idea of public good exists in the Bible.
Public good implies that we question the role of how one should be governed, how we interpret this concept and how we think about it. Again, is it the good of the many over the good of the one or few?

So I return to how I want to think about the statement, “It is for the public good.”
Why did Abraham change his mind? I believe it is because God gave him free will. ( God, or philosophy or whatever you believe the foundation of free will is.) The concept of free will exists and has existed for a long time. The concept of free will has been debated by many groups. This is not a review of these debates, I believe in free will.

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