Both altruism and puritanism attempt to achieve goodness, but the outcomes are wildly different. One leads to wide-ranging restrictions. The other sparks an internal flame that burns for goodness. Does the end justify the means? Do we need both? Why are they so different?
Puritanism = Restrictions
Puritanism attempts to rein in our animal nature. All the world’s wisdom traditions include some form of restrictions. Even secular nations have restrictive laws. Religious scholar, Huston Smith, explained it this way:
“Jealousies, hatreds, and revenge can lead to violence that, unless checked, rips communities to pieces. Murder instigates blood feuds that drag on indefinitely. Sex, if it violates certain restraints, can rouse passions so intense as to destroy entire communities. Similarly with theft and prevarication. We can imagine societies in which people do exactly as they please on these counts, but none have been found and anthropologists have now covered the globe. Apparently, if total permissiveness has ever been tried, its inventors have not survived for anthropologists to study.”