Live a good life. If there are Gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are Gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no Gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

Marcus Aurelius

  • HippocampusGear (0) May 5, 2012

    I hear this quote all the time but I feel it ignores that main question which most religions disagree on to one extent or another. What is a ‘good’ life? What is moral and what is immoral. This varies widely from culture to culture. So is a ‘good’ life merely following all of your culture’s values or is there some universal standard for morality?

    • SumtinProphetic (4,925) May 22, 2012

      A ‘good’ life? – Treat others the way you would like to be treated

    • Eric (1,819)M May 23, 2013

      Good and bad are both subjective. Your good could be my bad. Therefore, anything can be considered “good”.

  • The Good Life cannot help but be a reflection of the conditions which the people live under from whom the culture/religion arises.

    Some religions have food laws that are based on the climate and conditions of the region in which the religion was founded.
    Others have a sense of the great after life rewards go to those who would bravely die in battle. This later morality may be based on the harsh conditions and scarcity of resources.Over all though, a value of ‘good’ cannot be sustained indefinitely if the environmental conditions to not either sustain it or have a null effect on it.

    Yesterdays sins may be tomorrow’s virtues and vise verse

  • However, what Marcus Aurelius seems to be saying is “To thine own self be true.”
    From this perspective the greatest virtue of all is to set your own code of standard and live by it regardless of punishment or reward on this life or some unknowable afterlife.

    It is doubtful that there is a genuine Universal Morality.

    Even within the confines of the human species here on earth there are some values that are shared and some that are not. As the world grows ever smaller we ignore these value and morality differences at our own peril.

  • bill (0) May 9, 2012

    What is good? Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever put yourself in front of someone else? Have you ever said something hurtful to someone just because you were annoyed at them? Have you ever lusted after someone who isn’t yours? Have you ever desired to have something that isn’t yours? Have you ever wished misfortune on someone else? If you have never done anything wrong, then God will let you into heaven. But I guarantee no one is perfect. So a JUST God will make the right decision whether you think it is right or not. What gives you the right to say who is good and who is not? Where is the line? Only Jesus can pay for your spot in heaven…

    • neil (1) August 7, 2012

      I don’t think you quite grasped the meaning of this quote.

  • SumtinProphetic (4,925) May 22, 2012

    Treat others the way you would like to be treated