In a winter term class on theology and film, I offered my students a concluding challenge. I asked them to define “goodness” without falling into two traps.
One, they were not allowed to define goodness as the absence of evil. I didn’t want them to decide what goodness isn’t, but what goodness is.
The second stipulation that I set down was that my students were to avoid sentimentality in defining goodness. Goodness is not something captured in a greeting card sentiment; it cannot be confused with cuddliness or cuteness.